JUSTIN LEONARD/DELOITTE JUNIOR TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Dallas, Texas • June 27 - 30
KITTLESON AND SPENCER SHOOT 63 TO EXTEND LEAD AT NORTHWOOD CLUB
DALLAS — Moving day at the Northwood Club ended with the first-round leading teams retaining their leads in each division. Drew Kittleson, 16, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Brett Spencer, 16, of Plano, Texas, shot an 8-under-par 63 to widen their lead from three to four strokes, posting a two-round total of 15-under-par 127. Defending champions Lila Barton, 15, of Dallas, and Sydney Burlison, 15, of Salinas, Calif., posted their second consecutive 68 to lead the Girls Division by eight strokes at 6-under-par 136.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Justin Leonard/Deloitte Junior Team Championship is being held at Northwood Club in Dallas, the site of the 1952 U.S. Open. The 54-hole event features 72 players from 12 states, including 50 players from Texas.
The players competed in a four-ball format, under which each player plays his/her own ball throughout the hole. Upon completion of the hole, the team then takes the best ball of the two scores.
Kittleson and Spencer attributed their low scores this week to staying in play despite playing aggressively.
“We just haven't really hit any terrible shots to get us into trouble,” Spencer said.
The team had a close-call on the par-4 No. 8, when an unplayable lie penalty for Kittleson left the team's only chance at par in the hands of Spencer, who got up-and-down from a bunker to keep the team's card bogey-free.
“Tomorrow we'll play more conservative with our lead,” Kittleson said. “Somebody is going to have to go pretty low to catch us.”
Going low was exactly what the team of Cody Gribble of Dallas, and Patrick Reed of Baton Rouge, La., did as they shot a 9-under-par 62. The score set a tournament record, and left the team with a tournament total of 6-under 136.
Chasing the leaders will be the team of Jeffrey Edelman of Southlake, Texas, and Sang Yi of Carrollton, Texas, after shooting a 6-under-par 65 gave them a tournament total of 131. Five strokes off the lead at 132 are Mark Jones of Odessa, Texas, and Brandon Lakatta of Mansfield, Texas, and the all-Houston team of Eric Durbin and Collin Mayer. Alone in fifth are Dallas natives Scott Barton and Paul Haley, with a tournament total of 9-under-par 133.
While their 136 total after two rounds is a stroke better than the two-day score that led them to a victory last year, Barton and Burlison said they felt their lead could be even larger.
The team plans to play conservatively, and take nothing for granted during tomorrow's final round.
“Par is a good score in alternate shot,” Barton said. “You never know when somebody could get hot and go low.”
The closest pursuers are the sister act of Andrea and Sarah Zwartynski, of Allen, Texas, with a two-round total of 144. Alone in third are Ginny Brown of Austin, Texas, and Tia Gannon of Hilton Head Island, S.C., with a tournament total of 5-over-par 147.
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, the largest Association of its kind, has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
The final round of the Justin Leonard/Deloitte Junior Team Championship will begin at 9 a.m., Thursday off Northwood Club's No. 1 tee. For more information about the Justin Leonard/Deloitte Junior Team Championship call the Northwood Club at (972) 934-0544.