Cuervo Pushes Through Windy Conditions to Claim Lead at White Hawk Country Club
McDougall sits alone atop Girls Division leaderboard at Preseason Junior at White Hawk presented by South Shore Sports
CROWN POINT, Ind. — Austin Cuervo of Westerville, Ohio, shot a 2-over-par 74 during the first round of action at the Preseason Junior at White Hawk presented by South Shore Sports, giving him a three-stroke lead over the rest of the competition. Meghan McDougall of Markham, Ontario, fired a 7-over-par 79 to lead the Girls Division headed into the final round of action.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Preseason Junior at White Hawk Sponsored by South Shore Sports is a 36-hole stroke play event at White Hawk Country Club on the Red and Silver courses. The Boys Division is playing the course at 6,629 yards while the Girls Division is playing at 5,573 yards. The 92-player field features players from 10 states and Canada.
Playing in his first preseason event, Cuervo was excited to see how his game faired during an AJGA competition. While high wind speeds tested the juniors all day, Cuervo was able to stay low throughout his round, notching two birdies on the day and making par after par.
“AJGA events are a great opportunity and I really wanted to make the most of this opportunity,” Cuervo said. “I felt confident about my game coming into the tournament. I've been playing really solid golf. The conditions weren't ideal but you just have to pretend like the wind's not there. Our state tournament in Ohio is held in the fall at The Ohio State University Golf Club's Scarlet Course and the conditions are always like this, so I am used to playing through the wind. I knew I would have to limit errors and make most of my putts, which luckily I did.”
Cuervo's only hiccup on the day came towards the end of his round when he double-bogeyed the par-4 No. 17. However, he recovered quickly, making his thirteenth par putt of the day on No. 18 to finish the round at two-over.
“I got a little sloppy on No. 17,” Cuervo said. “Once I got to the tee I saw the wide fairway and the hole didn't look intimidating so I just went for it. Unfortunately I hooked it and then the wind carried it even farther left. I ended up having to take an unplayable and doubled the hole. I finished strong on No. 18, though. I hit my drive pretty far down wind and hit my approach to about six feet from the hole. I got a little too eager and excited with the chance to birdie the hole and actually pushed my putt too hard. I cannot complain about a par, though. It was a solid way to end my round headed into tomorrow.”
Tied for second place are Ryan Utter of New Lenox, Ill., and Chad Ransom of Blacklick, Ohio, with scores of 5-over-par 77. After posting scores of 7-over-par 79, Nick Hardy of Northbrook, Ill., and Alex Quenan of Libertyville, Ill., sit in a tie for fourth place to round out the Boys Division.
Leading the Girls Division by 2-strokes, McDougall hit a rough patch were she tallied three bogeys in a row. Instead of giving up, though, McDougall put her head down and was determined to end her round on a high note. Heading into the final round, McDougall is looking to instill that same mentality into her final round.
“No. 16 is a really memorable hole for me,” McDougall said. “I had a rough stretch of three bogeys before that and just told myself that I needed to grind out these last three holes and finish strong. I hit a good tee shot and was able to tap in for the birdie. I saved par on the next two holes to end my round. Tomorrow I just plan on playing the golf course ‘old man par' style. I'll just have to adjust the clubs I hit by the conditions and stay smart.”
After a five month hiatus from tournament play, the Canada native is enjoying the level of competition that has been absent from her life.
“This is just my second tournament back,” McDougall said. “I'm really just focusing on getting back into the game. It was a long five months away and I didn't play too much golf. Instead I focused on my cardio, as well as school. It feels great to be out swinging a club and playing for something.”
Sitting in second place is Megan Tenhundfeld of Loveland, Ohio, with a score of 9-over-par 81. Rounding out the Girls Division in third place is Katie Ellis of Western Springs, Ill., after shooting an 11-over-par 83.
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.
The final round of the Preseason Junior at White Hawk Sponsored by South Shore Sports will be an 8:30 am shotgun at White Hawk Country Club. For more information contact tournament headquarters at (770) 861-0519.