GREEN SHOOTS OPENING-ROUND 68 TO TAKE THE LEAD AT DODGE/BOB ESTES ABILENE JUNIOR
Morris fires 67 to hold a four-stroke lead after first round
ABILENE, Texas — Andrew Green of Edmond, Okla., shot a 4-under-par 68 to take the lead after the opening round of the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior on Wednesday. In the Girls Division, Rachel Morris of Carlsbad, Calif., tied the AJGA women's course record set by Kelli Kuehne (1993) and Lauren Espinosa (2003) after shooting a 5-under-par 67 to take a four-shot lead after the first round.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior is being held at Fairway Oaks Country Club. The tournament is celebrating its 26th anniversary, and is being held at Fairway Oaks for the 16th year. The par-72 course was set up at 7,005 yards for the Boys Division and 6,042 yards for the Girls Division. The tournament field consists of 90 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, from 16 states, Ecuador and Indonesia. The field includes 77 Texas residents, six of which reside in Abilene.
Green recorded a birdie on the first hole of the tournament, but bogeyed the eighth hole to shoot an even-par 36 on the front nine. Green's game improved on the back side, adding birdies on hole Nos. 10 and 14. He capped his round with an eagle on the par-5 18th hole. Green, who is playing in his first ever AJGA Open event, credited his low score on the back nine to his accuracy.
“I didn't hit many fairways on the front nine, but I was able to hit every fairway on the back side, which allowed me to make some birdies,” Green said.
Jeff Campbell of Conway, Ark., and Ty Spinella of Aledo, Texas, shot 3-under-par 69 and are tied for second place after the first round. Ross Mizell of The Woodlands, Texas, Benjamin Gonzalez of Edmond, Okla., Austin Quinten of Sand Springs, Okla., and Guy Goodspeed of Del Rio, Texas, each fired 2-under-par 70 and are tied for third, two shots off the pace.
In the Girls Division, Morris recorded four birdies, along with a bogey, on the front nine for a 3-under-par score of 33. Morris continued her solid play on the back side, recording birdies on hole Nos. 13 and 14, and finished with a first-round score of 5-under-par 67. For round two, Morris hopes to continue to put herself in position for low scores.
“I need to practice my putting, and continue hitting good drives to have a chance to make more birdies,” Morris said.
Chandra Alexander of Snyder, Texas, fired a 1-under-par 71 to finish the first round in second place, four shots behind the leader. Stephanie Hwang of Heath, Texas, shot a 1-over-par 73 to finish in third place, six shots off the pace.
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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA 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, which enters its third decade of support, 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, Candie Kung, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.
Second-round tee times will run from 7 a.m. — 12:51 p.m.off the No. 1 tee at Fairway Oaks Country Club on Thursday. For more information on the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior, please call AJGA tournament headquarters at (325) 698-4971, ext. 218, or visit ajga.org.