GRAVES, SMITH-STETSON SHARE MEDALIST HONORS
Thead shoots 1-over-par 72 to take Girls Division
ABILENE, Texas — True Graves of Odessa, Texas, and Chandler Smith-Stetson of Albuquerque, N.M., both shot 3-under-par 68s Sunday to share medalist honors at the Srixon Qualifier for the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior. Julia Thead of Poway, Calif., shot a 1-over-par 72 to take the Girls Division.
Conducted by the AJGA, the Srixon Qualifier for the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior was an 18-hole stroke play, shotgun start event held at Diamondback Golf Club in Abilene, Texas. The 80-player field featured players from nine states. The Girls Division played the event at 5,873 yards, while the Boys Division played at 6,777 yards.
Graves, who will play in this week's event, had four birdies on the day and spoke of the consistency that he has developed over the last few tournaments.
“I just played solid golf and had fun out there today,” Graves said. “It's a good feeling when it all comes together after working so hard.”
Smith-Stetson, who has opted-out of this week's event, said he missed a lot of shots early, but his mindset changed as the round continued.
“After a tough beginning, I hit a shot that landed right next to the hole,” Smith-Stetson said. “That helped me build my confidence. It helps to know you can take your round low.”
In addition to Graves, Ian Armstrong of Richmond, Texas, Tim Mitchell of Austin, Texas, Taylor Koser of Rice Lake, Wis., Cameron Scitern of Rockdale, Texas, Jeffrey Juillerat of Tyler, Texas, Thomas Birdsey of The Woodlands, Texas, Ross Rotwein of El Paso, Texas, Lane Hulse of Fordyce, Ark., and Hayden Witte of Denton, Texas, all qualified and will play in this week's Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior.
Along with Smith-Stetson, Garett Fisher of Keller, Texas, Zack Smith of Carthage, Texas, Sarosh Adi of Frisco, Texas, Taylor Mihok of Aledo, Texas, and Joey Rippel of Sugar Land, Texas all qualified but opted to take one AJGA Tournament Exemption in lieu of playing in this week's event.
In the Girls Division, Thead, who started on the No. 1, went 2-under-par on the front nine and was happy with how she played.
“I hit a lot of good shots today,” she said. “During the qualifier, you only have one day to play well. You go in with a different mindset and today I played safe and solid.”
Thead will be joined in the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior this week by fellow qualifiers Susannah Grunden of Krum, Texas, Paige Gibson of Carrollton, Texas, and Stephanie Scholer of Dallas.
Emily Collins of Colleyville, Texas, Alexandra Hopson of Laredo, Texas, and Jacy Benites of Austin, Texas also qualified but opted to take one AJGA Tournament Exemption in lieu of playing in this week's event.
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 approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 25 foreign countries.
SRIXON Sports USA, Inc., based in Lawrenceville, Ga., has been distributing premium golf balls and equipment in the U.S. since 1997 and is a subsidiary of SRI Sports Limited. SRI Sports Limited is the number one golf club manufacturer in the world's second largest market, Japan, and is one of the world's leading patent holders in golf ball technology. SRIXON golf balls earned 26 tournament victories on multiple professional tours around the world in 2006.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
First-round tee times for the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior will run from
7 a.m. - 12:51 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 off the No. 1 tee. For more information about the Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (325) 695-1800 ext.229.