The `14th annual Junior PLAYERS Championship leaderboard shuffled and re-shuffled during the tournament's first round from Ponte Vedra Beach ending with Austin's Evan Vo in the lead. Evan, and brother Keaton, are two of the six total Austin-area golfers in this year's field.
The others are similarly in the top 100 of the Rolex AJGA Rankings and all teammates at powerhouse Westlake High School:
- No. 21 Sean-Karl Dobson
- No. 45 J. Holland Humphries
- No. 74 Jacob Sosa
- No. 82 Zach Kingsland.
The Chaparral have won five state championships since 2010, including the last three seasons. They traveled to Florida to do some damage ... so far so good.
Kingsland - one of 17 in the field playing in his first AJGA Invitational - is tied for third at 2-under-par 70. Two others hover near the top 10 and all three are committed to college (Stanford, SMU and Texas, respectively).
The quartet wore coordinated Westlake gear during the practice round and plan to put their photo from TPC Sawgrass on the team collage at the end of the golf season to remember the moment. In 2019, through 30 high school rounds, 2/10 of a shot separated the four boys.
It's honestly pretty special to have four guys at the same caliber playing at such a special event. It's pretty cool, probably something we're always going to remember and talk about for the rest of our lives.
"These four guys I play with every day, qualify against every week," Dobson said. "We spend a lot of hours together. To compete in one of the best junior tournaments in the world is an honor and a lot of fun. We've stayed in our circle and not much changes week-to-week but to be out here - it's a cool experience."
Class of 2013 Junior PLAYERS Championship competitor, AJGA alum and 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa competed in THE PLAYERS Championship - just seven years after his debut and top-five finish as a junior.
As with every year, that field was stout. Morikawa finished one shot ahead of Rolex Junior Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler and shot 5-under-par-67 to contend. Both are competing at this week's TOUR Championship at East Lake.
The 23-year-old, alongside Junior PLAYERS alumni and fellow fresh-faced, now-pro compatriots Matthew Wolff (2015, 2016) and Viktor Hovland (2015), also debuted as professionals at TPC Sawgrass in 2020.
For the low round at The Junior PLAYERS Championship, Morikawa earned an AJGA alum's signature item: a Dustin Johnson driver.
"I'm not a person to ask for many autographs, but it was cool back then. Now, he's just a guy I can go up to on the range and talk to about anything," said Morikawa in an interview with Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner.
This week, with the spirit of the partnership between the PGA TOUR, AJGA and its partners on full display, Morikawa's signature appears on special prizes which will go home with Jean-Philippe Parr of St-Celestin, Quebec, and William Love of Atlanta, for a practice round closest to the hole on No. 17 (three feet, and five feet, three inches respectively).
One for the books: Bryan Lee of Fairfax, Virginia, recorded the first hole-in-one on No. 17 in AJGA TPC Sawgrass history. He might have a favor to ask the course staff after the event.
"It's my first hole-in-one ever," Lee said. "TPC Sawgrass is a nice place to have it. This is the hole I would've chosen. My reaction was more disbelief to begin with - I knew it was a good shot, but I didn't see it go in. I heard it hit the flag and my playing partners went crazy. I've always said, if there was ever water on my first hole-in-one, I'd jump in ... but it wasn't appropriate today."