Thomas Finds Himself atop the Leaderboard in Las Vegas Junior Open Presented by The Pacemaker
Aubert Gaps the Field after the First Round in the Girls Division at Anthem Country Club
Las Vegas, Nev. — Zane Thomas of Las Vegas, jumped out to an early lead after carding a 4-under-par 68 in the first round of the Las Vegas Junior Open presented by The Pacemaker. Shannon Aubert of Orlando, Fla., leads the Girls Division after she also finished the first round with a score of 4-under-par 68.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Las Vegas Junior Open presented by The Pacemaker is a 54-hole stroke play event held at Anthem Country Club. The 78-player field features players from 14 states, Switzerland, Canada and Mexico. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 7,356 yards while the Girls Division is playing at 6,244 yards.
Thomas is aiming to keep his AJGA record perfect as he won the only other AJGA tournament he has entered - The Preseason Junior at Oak Valley.
Thomas said that he was able to control his tee shots very well in the first round and that he was putting pretty well, but it is that experience from The Preseason Junior at Oak Valley that may just be the most important factor in Thomas's first round performance.
“It just really helped knowing that I could deal with the pressure,” said Thomas.
Just one stroke back from the leader sits Thomas Lim of Moorpark, Calif., after finishing with a 3-under-par 69. In third place after round one is J.J. Holen of Castaic, Calif., with a 2-under-par 70. Rounding out the top finishers in the Boys Division are Tad Darland of Henderson, Nev., David Oraee of Greeley, Colo., Richard Sunghee Jeong of Arcadia, Calif., Taylor Montgomery of Henderson, Nev., Jason Semthiti of Los Angeles, Jonathan Sanders of Chatsworth, Calif., and Ben Heisey of Orange, Calif., who all sit tied in fourth after finishing with scores of 1-under-par 71.
In the Girls Division, Aubert racked up five birdies on her way to gaining a 4-stroke lead on her nearest competitor. Aubert already has two top-10 finishes in 2010, including a tie for second in the Aspen Golf Classic presented by Jim McLean. Aubert's first-round performance is all the more impressive considering that last year in this tournament no girl finished under par.
Aubert contributed her success on this very difficult course to her ability to hit greens in regulation.
“I have been working on my irons lately, and it really paid off,” said Aubert. “I was able to hit more greens today.”
Dana Finkelstein of Chandler, Ariz., shot an even-par 72 to grab the second-place spot in the Girls Division while Jenny Hahn of Henderson, Nev., and Lilia Vu of Fountain Valley, Calif., sit in a tie for third after carding scores of 1-over-par 73.
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 Las Vegas Junior Open presented by The Pacemaker will run from 7:30 to 9:18 a.m. Wednesday, June 15 off tee Nos. 1 and 10 at Anthem Country Club. For more information on the Vegas Junior Open presented by The Pacemaker, contact tournament headquarters at 678-327-6982.