Bateman Uses Birdie Binge to Claim Second-Round Lead at Puerto Rico Junior Open
Sealy remains atop Girls Division after Sunday's second-round 71
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico — Wilson Bateman of Spruce Grove, Alberta, solidified his spot atop the boys' leaderboard by carding five straight birdies on his back nine, giving him a second-round 71 and a 5-under-par total through 36 holes at the Puerto Rico Junior Open. Monifa Sealy of Trinidad & Tobago took a one-shot lead in the Girls Division by shooting a second-round 71, which put her at even-par heading into Monday's final round.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Trump International Golf Club — Championship Course, the Puerto Rico Junior Open is a 54-hole stroke play competition. The field features 78 juniors from 17 countries and 15 U.S. states, as well as 10 players from Puerto Rico. The par-72 Championship Course plays to 7,198 yards for the boys and 6,087 yards for the girls.
Starting his second round on No. 10, Bateman didn't record a birdie until his 11th hole of the day, but the flood gates opened with his tap-in birdie on the par-4 second hole. Four more birdies followed, and despite bogeys on Nos. 7 and 9, a back-nine 33 moved him back atop the leaderboard.
“I was thinking 29 to be honest,” Bateman said of his mindset after making his 25-foot birdie putt on No. 6. “I feel great; you don't make five birdies and not feel good. Making those two bogeys coming in were mental mistakes, but it's all right, I'll learn from them.”
Bateman, who has signed a National Letter of Intent with San Diego State, led Alberta to a second-place finish at the 2010 Junior America's Cup in Albuquerque, N.M. His best AJGA finish is a seventh-place showing at the 2010 Las Vegas Junior Open presented by The Pacemaker.
Jason Roets of South Africa sits three shots back at 2-under-par (72-70 — 142), while James Yoon of Paraguay is third at even-par (69-75 — 144). Jack Maguire of St. Petersburg, Fla., and first-round co-leader Eloy Gonzalez of Laredo, Texas, are tied for fourth at 3-over-par 145.
In the Girls Division, Sealy followed her opening-round 73 with a 1-under-par 71 that included four birdies. Her second round started slowly, as bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15 put her 2-over-par through her first six holes. A 9-iron from 144 yards changed her fortune on No. 16, as a tap-in birdie jump-started the rest of her round.
“I thought to myself, ‘If I can't make long putts, just hit it closer,'” said Sealy, who had 29 putts Sunday, five fewer than she had in her opening round.
Short birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 9 capped off Sealy's second-round 71.
“Tomorrow I want to keep hitting the ball on the green. If you're on the green, you have better opportunities than if you're chipping and there's less pressure on your short game,” said Sealy, who has signed a National Letter of Intent with the University of Central Florida.
Giovana Maymon of Huixquilucan, Mexico, sits one shot back at 1-over-par (73-72 — 145), while Nicole Quinn of Windermere, Fla., is third at 3-over-par (74-73 — 147), and Patricia Garcia of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, is fourth at 4-over-par (73-75 — 148).
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 AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Final-round tee times run from 8 — 9:48 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Trump International Golf Club — Championship Course. For more information regarding the Puerto Rico Junior Open, contact the Tournament Headquarters at (678) 617-2424.