HENSON POSTS 70 EN ROUTE TO GARNERING BOYS DIVISION TOP SPOT
Arena, Thead claim medalist honors in Girls Division Srixon Qualifier
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -Matthew Henson of Austin, Texas, fired a 2-under-par 70 in the Boys Division of the American Junior Golf Association's PING Junior at The Woodlands Srixon Qualifier Wednesday to claim medalist honors. In the Girls Division, Victoria Arena of Lansdale, Pa., and Julia Thead of Poway, Calif., fired matching rounds of 76 to earn the medalist spot.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Junior at The Woodlands Srixon Qualifier was held on the Panther Trail Course at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in The Woodlands, Texas. The tournament field consisted of 79 boys and 19 girls from 13 states, Canada and Chile, all vying for a chance to play in the PING Junior at The Woodlands that takes place April 14-16.
Henson, who played in his first AJGA event Wednesday, earned one of 11 available spots in the Boys Division after carding a 34-36 — 70 for the event. His round included four birdies and two bogeys.
“Things really came together for me when I birdied the fourth and fifth hole,” said Henson. “Then I just played even par the rest of the way.”
Other qualifiers in the Boys Division included Warren Hood, Jr. of Wesson, Miss., at 71; Jack Johnson of Kingwood, Texas, at 72; Matthew Stephens of Mont Belvieu, Texas, at 73; Austin Berkovsky of Aledo, Texas, and Cory Tucker of Bossier City, La., at 74; Garrett Velarde of Houston, Paul Park of Wayne, N.J., and Bennett Klaus of Edmond, Okla., at 75; and Jeffrey Juillerat of Tyler, Texas and Justin Lavine of Sugarland, Texas, at 76.
Ty Spinella of Aledo, Texas (73), Michael Smith of Cedar Park, Texas (73), Robert Mills of Houston (74), and Bryan Olshock of Lakewood, Colo. (75), all qualified but opted to take an AJGA Tournament Exemption rather than play in this week's event.
In the Girls Division, Thead, who shot 37-39—76, also opted to take an AJGA Tournament Exemption rather than play in this weekend's event. The other girls medalist, Arena, who shot 39-37— 76, like Henson, will also play in her first AJGA event this weekend.
After a shotgun start, Arena began her round on No.17, parring Nos. 4-7 en route to a front-nine 39. She ended her day strong, shooting even-par through Nos. 10-16 to keep her at the top of the leaderboard.
“On hole No. 12, I made a 30-foot putt for birdie and that turned everything around,” said Arena.
Other qualifiers in the Girls Division include Paige Martin of Ardmore, Okla. at 77, and Mary-Michael Burns of Baton Rouge, La. and Samantha Arena of Lansdale, Pa., who won a sudden death playoff at 82.
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The American Junior Golf Association is a 501c(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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA 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, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 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.
Tournament tee times will run from 7:30 — 9:18 a.m. and 12 — 1:30 p.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at the Panther Trail Course on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, please call tournament headquarters at (678) 571-7994, or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.
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