San Antonio, TX - Aphrodite Deng of (Canada) Short Hills, New Jersey, and Nicholas Gross of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, lead the 46th annual Rolex Tournament of Champions hosted at TPC San Antonio with scores of 4-under-par 68.
This year's Rolex Tournament of Champions features 80 players competing over four-days for the coveted year-end title. The field includes 45 players committed to play college golf, 67 past AJGA champions and 65 Rolex Junior All-Americans.
Deng's first round 4-under-par 68 currently has her in the lead by one-stroke over Lisa Herman of Jenks, Oklahoma. Deng started her day on the back-nine where her only bogey came on No. 14. Deng caught fire as she turned to the front-nine carding birdies on hole Nos. one through five. She finished her final 9-holes at 5-under-par 31.
Deng is one of the youngest competitors in the Girls Division field. This week marks the 2028 graduates first appearance in the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Deng is currently No. 34 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and was named a Rolex Junior All-American this fall.
Vanessa Zhang of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is currently in solo third at 2-under-par 70. Followed behind in a three-way tie for fourth are Megan Meng of Pennington, New Jersey, Ryleigh Knaub of Debary, Florida, and Jasmine Koo of Cerritos, California, all at 1-under-par 71.
Gross took the first-round Boys Division lead after putting up a bogey-free first round. The current senior opened his day on No. 1 with a birdie and continued the red numbers on Nos. 7, 12 and 13. Gross has a two-stroke lead over Ieuan Jones of (United Kingdom) Ann Arbor, Michigan, who is currently at 2-under-par 70.
Gross is no stranger to AJGA invitationals. The University of Alabama commit took home his first invitational win earlier this year at the AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods. Gross is a three-time Rolex Junior All-American and making his fourth Rolex Tournament of Champions appearance.
Three-boys round out the top-five all tied at 1-under-par 71; Hamilton Coleman of Augusta, Georgia, Michael Riebe of Encinitas, California, and Jake Albert of Blacksburg, Virginia.
Play continues tomorrow with the second-round starting off Nos. 1 and 10 from 8 to 10:10 am.
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Rolex is an integrated and independent Swiss watch manufacture. Headquartered in Geneva, the brand is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products – symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. The movements of its Oyster Perpetual and Perpetual watches are certified by COSC, then tested in-house for their precision, performance and reliability. The Superlative Chronometer certification, symbolized by the green seal, confirms that each watch has successfully undergone tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria. These are periodically validated by an independent external organization.
The word ‘Perpetual’ is inscribed on every Rolex Oyster watch. But more than just a word on a dial, it is a philosophy that embodies the company’s vision and values. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of the company, instilled a notion of perpetual excellence that would drive the company forward. This led Rolex to pioneer the development of the wristwatch and numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism, invented in 1931. In the course of its history, Rolex has registered over 600 patents. At its four sites in Switzerland, the brand designs, develops and produces the majority of its watch components, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Furthermore, the brand is actively involved in supporting the arts and culture, sport and exploration, as well as those who are devising solutions to preserve the planet.