GRAND ISLAND, N.Y.- After one round of the New Era Junior Championship at River Oaks Golf Club in Grand Island, N.Y., two area golfers sit atop the standings.
Ben Reichert of East Amherst, N.Y. tied for the top spot with Michael VanDerLaan of Connecticut in the Boys Division with a 3-under-par 69, while Sara Riso of Hamburg, N.Y. is in sole lead of the Girls Division with a 1-under-par 71.
After coming off a ninth place finish at the Ravenwood Junior Championship, Reichert shot two birdies and an eagle. Reichert started his American Junior Golf Association career by finishing his first two tournaments in the top-10.
"I went into today just wanting to make some good swings," he told New Era. "You can't control what score goes up on the board. At the end of the day you can only control what kind of shots you hit. Going into tomorrow I have pretty much the same mindset; just try to make some good swings and see what happens."
Riso, who will be a high school senior in the fall, gained momentum making her first-ever hole-in-one on the eighth hole to take control of the Girls Division.
"Going into today I was really nervous, and after I started playing well on the first few holes I started to become even more nervous because the pressure to continue playing well grew," Riso said. "This season hasn't been the best for me. Today I kind of broke through and it was amazing. I never expected to be here and I feel so lucky to have played that well."
Birdies on three other holes helped to offset four bogies for Riso, who sits in the lead by three strokes. Maren Cipolla of Lewiston, N.Y. and Chelsea Dantonio are four strokes back from the lead.
Reichert, on the other hand, shot an eagle on the third hole to start his pursuit of the lead. He acknowledged the advantage of playing close to home.
"I know the course well and I hit the ball well today," Reichert said. "I may have left a few putts out there, but I won't complain after 69. I made a lot of pars. The greens were nice, rolling at an appropriate speed."
"We've never had this big a tournament besides the Junior Masters this close to home."
Second-round tee-times will run Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. For more information, please contact Tournament Headquarters at 770-371-3217 or visit ajga.org.