SMITH AND MARTIN GARNER LEAD BY TWO STROKES HEADING INTO FINAL ROUND AT OSSO
Tway holds steady at 1-over-par 141, to lead Boys Division by three
EDMOND, Okla. — Following the second round of action at the OSSO Junior at Oak Tree, Kristie Smith of Perth, Australia, and Paige Martin of Ardmore, Okla., shot a combined two-day score of 151 to take the lead in the Girls Division by two strokes on Wednesday. Local resident of Edmond, Kevin Tway, carded a 3-over-par 73 to earn the top position in the Boys Division with a two-day total of 141.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the OSSO Junior at Oak Tree is being held at Oak Tree Country Club. The par-70 East Course is set up at 7,034 yards for the Boys Division and 5,735 yards for the Girls Division. The tournament field consists of 111 boys and 33 girls, ages 12-18, from 16 states and Australia, and includes 62 Oklahoma residents.
Martin, 17, learned to golf in the seventh grade. Since then, golf has become more than a hobby, as she plays in high school and hopes to someday play in the Big 12 Conference. As for her second-day performance, Martin hit her driver well, and even with the wind being an issue, Martin was unfazed by the conditions, shooting a 79.
“It (the wind) didn't bother me that much just because I'm used to playing in it,” said Martin. “I tried to minimize as much damage in scoring as possible by hitting the fairways and greens.”
Smith, also 17, learned the game of golf seven years ago from her father, a retired professional. The Australian golfer, who won the girls' 16-18 division at the Callaway Golf PGA Junior Series at the Duke University Golf Club June 13-15, is spending her summer traveling the United States to play competitive golf in order to gain international experience.
“It is nice to come over and gain experience against other competitive girls,” said Smith who is committed to play golf at Oklahoma State University. “I am enjoying the experience, especially since there are not many junior Australian girls who play.”
As for her second day on the East Course of Oak Tree, Smith, who shot a 7-over-par 77, says she knew the scores would be especially high because the wind was playing a big role for everyone. For the final round, Smith simply wants to play solid.
“I want to build my round,” she said. “If the putts go in, it would be great because they haven't been going in for me.”
Two Texas natives, Stephanie Hwang of Heath, and Amy Ruengmateekhun of Garland, shot two-day totals of 153 to round out the top three finishers in the Girls Division.
In the Boys Division, Tway had a birdie on No. 4 and shot par on seven holes on the front side to card a 35. On the back he finished at 3-over-par 38, to shoot 73 for the day. With the wind speed increasing as the afternoon rolled on, like Martin, he was unaffected.
“This is my home course,” he said. “I play in it all the time, so it doesn't really bother me.”
The key to playing consistent for Tway was keeping the ball in play and not shooting big numbers. For the final round, his goal is to continue playing his game.
“My goal is to just hit the ball and not think about my score,” Tway said. “And to just hit each shot the best I can.”
Rounding out the top five leaders in the Boys Division, in second place with a 3-over-par 73 and a two-day score of 144, is Jonathan Fly of Memphis, Tenn. Tied for third are Geoff Shaw of Edmond, and Mark Johnson of Tulsa, Okla., who shot 72 and 74, respectively, for a two-day total of 145. Standing in fifth is Steve Ziegler of Broomfield, Colo., who shot 75 for the day and 146 after two rounds.
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.
Final-round tee times will run from 7:30 — 9:09 a.m. and from Noon — 1:39 p.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Oak Tree Country Club on Thursday. For more information on the OSSO Junior at Oak Tree, please call AJGA tournament headquarters at (405) 340-1010, or visit ajga.org.