Stars Align as Nolen's Lead Grows on Home Course of Grey Rock Golf Club
Jones leads tight Girls Division headed into the final round of the Stars of Texas Junior All-Star
Austin, Texas — Stratton Nolen of Austin, Texas, finds himself atop of the leaderboard for the second consecutive day at the Stars of Texas Junior All-Star with a tournament total 5-under-par 139. Kayla Jones of Alpharetta, Ga., broke away from the pack in the Girls Division with a tournament total 9-over-par 153.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Stars of Texas Junior All-Star is a 54-hole stroke play event, held at Grey Rock Golf Club in Austin, Texas. The 77-player field features 63 boys and 14 girls from 14 states, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and China. The boys are playing the par-72 course at 6,606 yards, and the girls are playing the course at 5,859 yards.
The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series is a collection of 10 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15 and presents opportunities for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into Open tournaments. The series concludes with the Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
Most juniors would be more than happy with a 1-under-par 71 round. Not Stratton Nolen. While Nolen did card four birdies on the day, he did have three bogeys, including back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15. While he finished his final nine holes at 1-under, Nolen was clearly frustrated as he walked off the No. 9 green.
“I didn't do anything well today,” Nolen said. “I missed a couple of short ones today. I felt like I was either on top of the flag or way off. There was just no consistency today. I'm frustrated about it, but I'll take it.”
Nolen admitted to feeling a little added pressure due to his place atop of the leaderboard, as well as the fact that he is playing on his home course, but plans to turn today's round into added motivation for the final round.
“There is a little added pressure, but I am in a good position headed into the final round,” Nolen said. “I know the greens really well out there which is going to help the most. I just want to shoot really low tomorrow. I want to win by a lot. That is my number one goal.”
Landon Hearnes of Mayflower, Ark., and Maxwell Miller of College Station, Texas, currently sit tied for second place with tournament totals of 3-under-par 141. Rounding out the Boys Division leaderboard in a four-way tie for fourth place with tournament totals of 1-under-par 143 are Julian Lerda of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bernardo Curbelo of Bradenton, Fla., John Rafael of Corpus Christi, Texas, and William Martinez of Austin, Texas.
For the second day in a row, Jones sits atop of the Girls Division leaderboard. However, her round did not go as smoothly as planned. While she did card two birdies, Jones racked up nine bogeys.
“I didn't play that great today,” Jones said. “My putting was really off. That is something I really want to focus on improving headed into tomorrow's round.”
Even after a less than stellar performance in the second round, Jones is still confident in her ability to play well at Grey Rock Golf Club.
“I know I can shoot a good score on this course,” Jones said. “Hopefully I can come out and do that in the final round. The greens aren't too bad here so I can really fire at the flag on just about every hole, which definitely helps my level of play.”
Brooke McDougald of The Woodlands, Texas, jumped to second place after shooting a 6-over-par 78, bringing her tournament total to 10-over-par 154. Taylor Coleman of San Antonio rebounded after a 10-over-par performance in her first round to shoot a Girls Division second-round low 1-over-par 73, putting her in third place. Tiyani Wang of Beijing, China, is also tied with Coleman in third place with a tournament total 11-over-par 155.
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.
Final-round tee times for the Stars of Texas Junior All-Star will run from 7:30 — 9:18 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Grey Rock Golf Club. For more information about the Stars of Texas Junior All-Star, please contact Tournament Director AJ Donaldson at (678) 386-1487.