Ortiz, Jelley lead the Boys Division at the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship
Schmelzel captures lead after first round at Rivercut Golf Course
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Alvaro Ortiz of Zapopan, Mexico and Brendon Jelley of Tulsa, Okla., both fired a 5-under-par-67 to open the first round of the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship. Sarah Schmelzel of Phoenix, Ariz., leads the Girls Division after shooting a 3-under-par 69.
Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, Mo. The tournament field includes 72 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18 from 19 states, China, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, and South Korea. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,875 yards and the Girls Division is playing the course at 6,001 yards. Ortiz recorded two top-five finishes this year in the AJGA events he has played in. The Mexico native carded a bogey-free first round, even through scorching temperatures. Ortiz's short game helped him shoot a low score on Tuesday.
“I got up and down from hard spots, and made my putts. My putts were key for scoring low,” Ortiz said.
Similar to Ortiz, Jelley has also finished in the top-five in two events. The class of 2013 grad recorded six birdies on the round. Jelley's gameplan worked out well for him in the first round of this tournament.
“I was looking to make as many pars as I could, and not really have any slip-ups,” Jelley said.
Both Jelley and Ortiz will play in the same group in the second round.
Tripp Roy of Leawood, Kan., and Wyatt Larkin of Morganton, Ga., tied for third place at 3-under-par 69. Rounding out the top five was Jacob Choi of Collierville, Tenn., and Eli Armstrong of Edmond, Okla., at 2-under-par 70.
In the Girls Division, Schmelzel has placed well at this event before, with last year's second place finish. Schmelzel's current polo golf ranking is No. 105. The Phoenix, Ariz., native carded four birdies in the opening round. Schmelzel was aided by her up-and-down abilities from short range.
“I was hitting good wedge shots when I had a wedge in my hand. I would put the ball within 5 feet and get easy birdies,” Schmelzel said.
Jordan Chael of Overland Park, Kan., sits alone in second place at 2-under-par 70. Rounding out the top three is Grace Choi of Dallas, Texas at 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 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, 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.
Second-round tee times for the Bass Pro Shops/ Payne Stewart Junior Championship will run from 7:30 a.m. — 9:31 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Rivercut Golf Course. For more information about the Bass Pro Shops/ Payne Stewart Junior Championship contact Tournament Director Courtney Jones at (678) 617-9406.