Benitez Outdoes the Texas Heat With a 4-Under-Par 68 in the AJGA Houston Junior
Ferguson and Wu share lead in Girls Division at Sweetwater Country Club - Pecan Course
SUGAR LAND, Texas — Despite temperatures in the 100’s, Juan Benitez of Puebla, Mexico had seven birdies en route to a 4-under-par 68 in the AJGA Houston Junior. Courtney Ferguson of Houston and Bethany Wu of Diamond Bar, Calif., both fired a 2-over-par 74 to sit atop the Girls Division at Sweetwater Country Club – Pecan Course.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Houston Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event, held at the Sweetwater Country Club — Pecan Course in Sugar Land, Texas. The 98-player field features 75 boys and 23 girls from 11 states and Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Guatemala, Colombia, China and Australia. The boys are playing the course at 7,052 yards, and the girls are playing the course at 6,233 yards.
After a front nine even-par 36 that included three birdies, Benitez rallied off four birdies and no bogeys on the back nine for a 4-under-par 32.
“I started out with a birdie on No. 1, and it helped me play confident throughout the round,” Benitez said. “My putting was excellent, making three birdie putts over 15 feet.”
Jeff Wibawa of Encino, Calif., sits two shots behind Benitez at 2-under-par 70. Adam Colwell of The Woodlands, Texas, Peter Thorseth of Richmond, Texas, and Edward Figueroa of Naples, Fla., are all tied for third with a 1-under-par 71.
Despite only hitting 6 fairways and nine greens, Ferguson, winner of the Elbit Systems of America Junior Championship this past June, stayed focused and grinded each and every hole.
“My ball striking was atrocious, but I scrambled really well,” Ferguson said. “I saved pars that could have easily been double bogeys or triple bogeys. I putted really well, and if I sharpen up my game tomorrow, I should be fine.”
After a front nine even-par 36, Wu struggled a bit down the stretch, but managed to shoot a 2-over-par 38 on the back nine with one birdie.
“This Texas heat really got to me and I got tired towards the end,” Wu said. “I just tried to stay cool.”
Two shots behind Ferguson and Wu, the Abe sisters, Tezira and Lakaraber of Angleton, Texas, and Samantha Marks of Maitland, Fla. sit at 4-over-par 76.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Second-round tee times for the AJGA Houston Junior will run from 7:20 - 9:20 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at the Sweetwater Country Club — Pecan Course. For more information about the AJGA Houston Junior, please contact Tournament Director Jeremy Freyman at (678) 617-9917