THORSETH ONE STROKE AHEAD OF FIELD AT DODGE/BOB ESTES ABILENE JUNIOR
Montoya holds first career tournament lead in the Girls Division
ABILENE, Texas â€” Benjamin Thorseth of Richmond, Texas, carded a 3-under-par 69 Tuesday for the Boys Division first-round lead at the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior at Abilene Country Club â€” Fairway Course. Posting her first under-par performance at an American Junior Golf Association event, Sinae Montoya of Lubbock, Texas, shot a 2-under-par 70 as the Girls Division leader.
Conducted by the AJGA, the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at the Abilene Country Club â€” Fairway Course. The 120-player field features players from 15 states and Mexico. The course is being played at 7,007 yards for the Boys Division and 6,012 yards for the Girls Division.
After shooting even-par on the front nine, Thorseth took his round up a notch on the back nine. Following birdies on Nos. 10 and 11, Thorseth bogeyed No. 12, but was able to surge past the minor bump with birdies on Nos. 13 and 14.
â€śEven after I three-putted No. 12, I knew there were still six holes left to play,â€ť Thorseth said.
Talor Gooch of Midwest City, Okla., sits two strokes behind Thorseth with a 2-under-par 70. Texans, Brock Wilson of Beaumont and Justin Lavine of Sugar Land, both posted 1-under-par 71s to share the third spot. One stroke behind, Blake Johnson of Brownwood, Texas, Brian Dwyer of Southlake, Texas, and Taylor Meadows of Boerne, Texas, sit at fifth going into Wednesday's second round.
In the Girls Division, Montoya hit only six greens in regulation, but overshadowed those statistics by carding only 20 putts during the round.
â€śMy short game was amazing for me,â€ť Montoya said. â€śHopefully I can hit the ball a little straighter tomorrow and hang on to my short game from today for an even better round.â€ť
At even-par 72, Srixon Qualifier medalist Julia Thead of Poway, Calif., sits in second, two strokes behind Montoya. Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division, Noelle Zavaleta of Lakewood, Calif., and Callie Kemmer of Wichita, Kan., both shot 2-over-par 74s.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 25 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 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. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
Second-round tee times will be from 7 a.m. â€” 12:51 p.m. Wednesday off the No. 1 tee. For more information about the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (325) 695-1800 ext. 229.