LOPEZ AND RUSSELL TIED FOR THE LEAD AT 1-UNDER IN AUSTIN
McCloskey leads the Girls Division at 2-over-par
AUSTIN, Texas — Defending champion Lance Lopez, 17, of Missouri City, Texas, and Tyler Russell, 18, of Cypress, Texas, are tied for the lead after firing scores of 1-under-par 70 during the first round of the Stars of Texas Junior in Austin, Texas. Lisa McCloskey, 13, of Montgomery, Texas, started play at The University of Texas Golf Club on a high note, coming in at 1-over-par 73 to earn her spot at the top of the leader board in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Stars of Texas Junior is held at The University of Texas Golf Club. The 54-hole event features 99 of the nation's premier junior golfers from 10 states, including 77 Texans. The University of Texas Golf Club, which opened in 2003, played host to the 2005 Big XII Women's Golf Championship.
Lopez, who has committed to the University of Texas, carded five birdies on the course that he will soon call home. After recording a 1-under-par on the back nine, Lopez said his short game helped him to his low score.
“I feel like I played pretty good,” Lopez said. “But I still left a lot of shots out there.”
Russell, who has yet to finish in the top-20 at an AJGA event, played a very different round than Lopez, firing 17 pars and one birdie. Russell said he was not phased about being tied with the defending champ.
“I'm just glad I'm right around par,” Russell said. “That was my goal this morning.”
Cody Gribble of Dallas, and Christopher Pezoulas of Plano, Texas, came in one stroke behind Lopez and Russell at even-par 71. Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division, Jay Calvo, of Baird, Texas, Aaron Bradshaw of Allen, Texas, Dustin Morris, of Crosby, Texas, and Christopher Brown of Garland, Texas, all tied at 1-over-par 72 for Wednesday's first round.
McCloskey shot an even-par 35 on the front nine and followed with a 2-over-par 38 to earn her spot at the top of the Girls Division. Carding one birdie on the round, McCloskey credited accurate tee shots and solid putting for her low score. McCloskey's previous best finish in an AJGA event was a tie for fifth at the Fidelity Investments Junior Championship in Humble, Texas, earlier this summer.
“I just have to go out and play two more solid rounds,” McCloskey said. “Tomorrow I might be a little more aggressive, go for the pins more.”
One stroke behind McCloskey, Meghan Gockel of Dallas carded a three-over-par 74 during Wednesday's first round. A three-way tie emerged for the third place spot on the leader board after the first round. Jenny Lee, of La Canada, Calif., Paige Martin, of Ardmore, Okla., and Rosalyn Kim of Belton, Texas, all shot 5-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, the largest Association of its kind, has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
The second round of the Stars of Texas Junior will begin at 7:30 a.m., Thursday off The University of Texas Golf Club's No. 1 tee. For more information about the Stars of Texas Junior call tournament headquarters at (512) 266-6464.