ABILENE REPORTER-NEWS/LAWRENCE HALL ABILENE JUNIOR
Fairway Oaks Country Club
July 19-22, 2004
LAKATTA SOARS TO TOP WITH TWO EAGLES ON BACK NINE
McMahan leapfrogs Tomerlin to snag Girls Division lead
ABILENE, TEXAS â€“ After getting off to a slow start in Wednesdayâ€™s second round of the Abilene Reporter-News/Lawrence Hall Abilene Junior, Brandon Lakatta of Mansfield, Texas, caught fire on the back nine en-route to shooting a 3-under-par 69 and grasping a three-shot lead.
In the Girls Division, Meredith McMahan of San Antonio continued her consistent play, firing a 2-over-par 74 and claiming a two-shot advantage heading into Thursdayâ€™s final round.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Abilene Reporter-News/Lawrence Hall Abilene Junior is being held at Fairway Oaks Country Club. One hundred and nineteen junior golfers from 12 states and Mexico are competing in this 54-hole event. Ninety-six players from the Lone Star state are entered in the field.
Lakatta, who began the day two shots out of the lead, was 2-over-par after three holes and struggling with his game. However, that trend changed beginning on the 526-yard par-5 14th.
An eagle on No. 14 was the beginning of a spectacular finish in which Lakatta played the last five holes at Fairway Oaks in 5-under-par. The stretch included another eagle at the 440-yard par-4 17th, where he holed out his second shot from the fairway.
â€śI didnâ€™t hit a good tee shot until No. 14, then everything came together,â€ť Lakatta said.
When it was all said and done, Lakatta fired a 32 on the back nine, leaving him three shots ahead going into the final round. â€ś(Wednesday) was good for my confidence,â€ť Lakatta said. â€śI expect to go out and play another solid round and just hope to do well and see where that puts me.â€ť
Cole Moreland of Austin, Texas, and Cole Howard of Burleson, Texas, are locked in a tie for second place at 2-under-par 142. K.T. Livingston of Midland, Texas, played with Lakatta and was able to match his 3-under-par 69, leaving him alone in fourth place, four shots behind. Texas natives Colton Williams of Jacksboro and Jay Calvo of Baird are tied for fifth at even-par 144.
After a round that consisted of 14 pars, McMahan credited consistent play as the reason why she is sitting alone at the top of the leaderboard.
â€śI hit a lot of greens and my putting was on again,â€ť McMahan said. â€śEverything was pretty solid (Wednesday).â€ť McMahan, whose previous best AJGA finishes included two ties for third place at Nike Junior All-Star events, is ready to make a run at her first tournament title.
â€śIâ€™m going to take it easy tonight and be ready for tomorrow,â€ť McMahan said. â€śIt feels good to be sitting in the top spot.â€ť
First-round leader Brittany Tomerlin of San Angelo, Texas carded a 77 and trails McMahan by two shots. Henna Cho of Buena Park, Calif., shot the low round of the day in the Girls Division. Her 1-over-par 73 was enough to earn a tie for second place.
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 has a membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGAâ€™s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Associationâ€™s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
Final-round tee times will begin Wednesday at 7 a.m. and conclude at 12:51 p.m. at Fairway Oaks Country Club. For more information on the Abilene Reporter-News/Lawrence Hall Abilene Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (325) 698-4971, ext. 218.