PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – Evan Vo of Austin, Texas, leads The Junior PLAYERS Championship after a bogey-free first round 5-under-par 67.
The 14th annual event showcases the best of the next generation of future college and professional stars. To date, 34 past players have graduated to play in the PGA TOUR's PLAYERS Championship. Representatives from eight foreign countries and 21 U.S. states (seven from Florida) are competing in one of the AJGA’s annual top boys fields, featuring eight of the top 10 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
The 2020 Junior PLAYERS Championship field is highlighted by 22 Rolex Junior All-Americans and 49 AJGA champions, including 18 players with 2020 wins. Of the 78 boys competing, 45 players are signed or verbally committed to play college golf. Twenty-five players have previous Junior PLAYERS Championship experience.
Vo, in the field at TPC Sawgrass for the first time in 2020, made the turn 3-under-par 33. The 17-year-old made all his putts inside eight feet and avoided three-putting during the first 18 holes. The Auburn verbal commit said No. 10's fourth birdie was a turning point. He pushed his tee shot right, shortsided himself into the greenside bunker and planned to chip on within six feet for par. Instead, his shot bounced, and dropped in for birdie.
After that hole, the round felt pretty special. There's still a lot of golf left - this course is tricky and you need to be sharp off every tee. I'm going to stick to my plan and trust myself but all of us are here for a reason and earned our way into this event.
Vo, who won the 2020 AJGA Junior at Vista Valley in January and has two career wins, is No. 31 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Luke Clanton of Miami Lakes, Florida, finished 3-under-par 69. The Florida State verbal commit and ACE Grant recipient made six birdies - three on each side and had two looks at eagle. He won his second AJGA tournament in July at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Junior honoring Jim Bell and has been in contention twice this summer.
"I've been in this situation a few times in the past," Clanton said. "I've been playing really well the past few months and I played a great round today, which was awesome. Tonight I'm going to eat dinner, get to bed early, and try not to think about it too much."
Kiko Francisco Coelho of (Portugal) Lake Mary, Florida; Zach Kingsland of Austin, Texas; Preston Summerhays of Scottsdale, Arizona; and Caleb Surratt of Indian Trail, North Carolina, share a tie for third at 2-under-par 70. Summerhays competed in the 2019 Junior Presidents Cup and made his debut at TPC Sawgrass in the same season. Coelho and Surratt are competing for the first time alongside Kingsland who made his AJGA Invitational debut.
Bryan Lee of Fairfax, Virginia, made a hole-in-one on TPC Sawgrass' famous No. 17 - the first in the AJGA tournament's history on the hole.
The 16-year-old shot from 137 yards with a pitching wedge made one bounce, hit the middle of the flagstick and dropped in. Lee won the 2020 Justin Thomas Junior Championship in early August and receives the AJGA’s ACE Grant – a financial assistance program endowed by a number of AJGA alumni including Thomas himself.
"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."