Baxter and Heinen tied through one round at Brookhaven Country Club
Freman jumps out to early lead in Girls Division
DALLAS — After a windy day on The Masters Course, Benjamin Baxter of Flower Mound, Texas, and Nick Heinen of Edmond, Okla., persevered to shoot 2-over-par 74 to lead all competitors through the first round of play. In the Girls Division, Anne Freman of Las Vegas posted a 5-over-par 78 to creep one shot ahead of the rest of the competition.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Preseason Junior at Brookhaven is a 36-hole stroke play competition held at Brookhaven Country Club's Masters Course. The course plays to 6,633 yards for the Boys Division at par-72 and 5,950 yards for the Girls Division at par-73. The 94-player field features players from 19 states and four foreign countries.
Playing in his first AJGA event, Baxter started off his round with a bang.
“My first hole was really memorable,” Baxter said. “It was my first AJGA hole and I birdied it. I hit a 5-wood to about the 100-yard marker and hit up to about eight feet of the hole. From there I hit a solid putt for the birdie.”
Baxter struggled on his next hole, triple bogeying No. 2, but recovered quickly with a birdie on the next hole. Another birdie on No. 7 highlighted Baxter's round. The gusty Texas winds will play a factor into how Baxter approaches the final round of play.
“I was lucky to get an early tee time today and the wind was only a factor on the last few holes,” Baxter said. “Tomorrow I'll have to just try to play with the wind. If the wind is a big factor the plan is to just shoot for par and play consistent. If it is good conditions for scoring, though, I'm going to try to shoot low and be a little bit more aggressive.”
Like Baxter, Heinen is playing in his first AJGA event. The similarities do not end there, though, as Heinen also birdied the first hole of the day. Strong iron play aided Heinen throughout the first round of action.
“I hit my irons well today,” Heinen said. “My iron play complimented my putting which helped me out on the course today.”
Tallying five birdies on the day, Heinen's play on No. 12 highlighted his consistent play.
“I hit my driver well over the corner off the tee,” Heinen said. “I then hit my 4-iron to about 30 feet and then two putted for the birdie.”
David Stewart of Scottsboro, Ala., sits in third place with a score of 3-over-par 75. In fourth place with a score of 4-over-par 76 is Scott Tredo of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas. After posting scores of 5-over-par 77, Joe Harvie of Orting, Wash., Garrett Fey of Mesquite, Texas, Mitchell Mather of Lebanon, Mo., and Brian Belz of Hot Springs, Ark., round out the Boys Division in a four-way tie for fifth place.
While most players had to battle through the winds, Freman felt right at home amongst the 25 mile per hour winds, even though it was her first time in the state of Texas. The trees, on the other hand, were more of a distraction.
“I am used to playing in the wind being from Las Vegas,” Freman said. “I felt comfortable hitting through the big gusts of wind since I typically hit a low ball. The trees were tough, though. We don't have too many of those out in Las Vegas.”
After experiencing The Masters Course for the first time this week, Freman has enjoyed her time at Brookhaven Country Club.
“Brookhaven is a great course,” Freman said. “I can read the greens here well, especially No. 10. During the practice round I actually hit the water, so I blind eyed it today. I actually ended up hitting the sand but recovered well and sunk a long putt to birdie the hole.”
Sitting in second place with a score of 6-over-par 79 is Eji Kwon of Dallas. Rounding out the Girls Division in a tie for third place was Kelsi McKee of Sugarcreek, Ohio, and Vanessa Ha of Plano, Texas, after tallying scores of 7-over-par 80.
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 more than 40 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 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.
Final-round tee times for the Preseason Junior at Brookhaven will run from 8 — 10:01 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees of The Masters Course at Brookhaven Country Club. For more information about the Preseason Junior at Brookhaven, contact Tournament Headquarters at (678) 617-9406.