HOLLY HOLDS HOTLY CONTESTED LEAD AFTER FIRST ROUND AT RIVERCUT GOLF COURSE
Three tied for lead in Girls Division at even-par at Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Reid Holly of Madison, Miss., became the fourth player to have a shared or sole lead in the Boys Division Tuesday when he left the scoring tent after signing for a first-round 5-under-par 67. Devon Brown of Rancho Sante Fe., Calif., Gabriella Then of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Patricia Lee of Highlands Ranch, Colo., each ended the day with rounds of even-par 72 for a three-way tie for first in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, Mo. The tournament field consists of 75 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 20 states and Canada. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 Rivercut Golf Course at 6,962 yards, and the Girls Division is playing at 6,010 yards.
Holly had five birdies and an eagle Tuesday to go with two bogeys. He was on fire on Nos. 4-8, as he was 4-under-par for that stretch with three birdies and an eagle.
Holly got off to a less-than-ideal start on No. 5 before he wound up eagling the hole.
“I hit my drive down the right rough,” Holly said. “So I just hit my three-wood as far as I could and I had about a 25-to-30-yard chip-and-run with my pitching wedge. I couldn't believe it went in; I kind of hit it too hard, but it hit the pin.”
Holly doesn't have much space at the top of the leaderboard, as Harry Higgs of Overland Park, Kan., Joe Doramus of Little Rock, Ark., and Drew Wright of Norman, Okla., are all tied for second after each carded a 4-under-par 68. Ian Vandersee of West Des Moines, Iowa, Matthew Mabrey of Little Rock, Ark., Ryan Ennis of Benton, Ark., Hunter Kraus of Germantown, Tenn., and Kyle Weldon of St. Louis, Mo., are tied for fifth; each shot a 3-under-par 69.
After making the turn at 1-under-par, Brown saw her round begin to disintegrate on the back nine. However, she got it together and charged back with three consecutive birdies to close out her round.
“I know on the backside I didn't start off the way I wanted (with a double), and then I got a couple bogeys in there,” Brown said. “I knew that after shooting so well on the front I didn't want to finish the way I was going. I went off to the side and got a little breather, then got my putting down and made three good putts.”
Lee had a roller-coaster ride for her opening round, matching three birdies and three bogeys on the front nine and one of each on the back for a slightly less traditional even-par round.
“Well, my irons weren't going very well, so I just knew that my short game had to be fairly good,” Lee said. “After I got bogeys I just put it aside and decided that the next hole is the next hole and said, ‘You can make it up by getting a birdie.'”
Gabriella Then's aim was deadly accurate both off the tee and with her approach game, which paid off with her recording 14 fairways hit and 16 greens in regulation. Afterwards, she lamented some of her lost birdie opportunities after recording 34 putts.
“I just focused on hitting a lot of greens, but not all of my putts went in,” Then said. “I had a lot of birdie chances; I could have made a lot out there.”
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 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 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. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA tours and have compiled more than 350 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
Second-round tee times for the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship will run from 7 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. off the No. 1 tee Wednesday, July 29, at Rivercut Golf Course. For more information, please call Tournament Headquarters at (678) 617-9406.