QUALIFIER ADDS 18 ENTRIES TO PING HARVEY
Two competitors tie for winning honors in Boys and Girls Divisions
AUSTIN, TEXAS - Stephen Ensley, of Austin, Texas,
and Raul Lemus, of Mission, Texas, fired an even-par 72 to
triumph in the Boys Division of the PING Harvey Penick Junior
Qualifier on Sunday.
The Girls Division also featured two players ending the day deadlocked at the top of the leaderboard. After shooting a 6-over-par 77, Alejandra Llaneza, of Mexico City, and Stephanie Waters, of Austin, Texas, earned top spot in the qualifier and entry to the tournament, which will be played Tuesday through Thursday.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Harvey Penick Junior Qualifier consisted of 99 players from four states and Mexico. The qualifier was contested at The Hills Country Club, Flintrock Falls Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus. Fourteen boys earned spots in the tournament field, and four girls received a berth into the event.
Ensley began a roller-coaster round with bogeys on two of his first three holes; however, he responded with six birdies, including one on his finishing hole, the 160-yard 15th. In addition to the six birdies, Ensley had six bogeys and six pars.
"I haven't been putting well lately, and (Sunday) I finally made some putts," Ensley said.
Lemus played the front nine in 2-under-par 34, but costly bogeys at Nos. 17 and 18 raised his back nine score to 2-over-par 38. Despite playing over par on the back nine, Lemus said he was confident about entering the tournament.
"I played (calmly)," Lemus said. "I hit the ball well. (There are) tough greens out here, tough to get up and down. I thought I played pretty well."
Scot Schroeder, of Pflugerville, Texas, and Garrett Merrell, of Dallas, fired 73, which tied them for third place. Chance Pipitone, of Corpus Christi, Texas, Drew Zadow, of Plano, Texas, and Ty Needels, of San Antonio, Texas, rounded out the top-five as they each carded 74.
Four competitors, Michael Jones, of Norman, Okla., Andrew Carroll, of Little Rock, Ark., Hunter Buwick, of Norman, Okla., and Brandon Eaton, of Houston, Texas, finished the day tied in 14th place. After two holes of a sudden-death playoff, Carroll earned the final Boys Division qualifier spot with a par.
Llaneza came out of the gate slowly as she stumbled to a
double bogey on her first hole, the 18th. She responded, though,
with a birdie on the next hole. She added another birdie on
her final hole of the day, the par-5 17th, but she said she
was excited for the tournament to begin but preached caution
around the greens.
"I like this course," Llaneza said. "I think it's a course that you have to be very careful with placing the ball correctly on each hole. Don't try to make birdie on every hole."
Despite only one birdie, Waters did not make many big mistakes.
Her score of 38 on the back nine, which played tougher than
the front nine on Sunday, was the best in the Girls Division.
Andrea Zwartynski, Allen, Texas recorded an 83, good enough for third place, and Amanda Deatherage, of Bryan, Texas, placed fourth with an 85.
Tournament play will begin at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Tee times will continue until 1 p.m. For more information on the PING Harvey Penick Junior, contact AJGA tournament headquarters at (512) 263-6090.