WHITSETT FIRES 69, LEADS ALL SCORES AT NIKE GOLF JUNIOR AT LAS CRUCES
Morris leads girls division with a first round 75
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Houston native Cory Whitsett shot a first round 3-under-par 69 to take a one shot lead in the Boys Division at the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces. Rachel Morris of Carlsbad, Calif., set the standard for the Girls Division by shooting a 3-over-par 75. This is the first American Junior Golf Association tournament for both 13-year-olds.
The Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces, conducted by the AJGA, features 66 boys and 18 girls — ages 12-15 — from 16 states and three foreign countries. The event is being staged on the par-72, 6,717-yard Sonoma Ranch Golf Course (Girls Division played at 5,858 yards).
Whitsett made par on his first four holes, then went on to birdie three of his last five on the front nine getting off to a hot start. Whitsett leads Louis Amira of Valencia, Calif., at 70 and Patrick Barrett of Pinehurst, N.C., and Devin Miertschin of El Paso, Texas, at 71.
“On the fifth hole, I hit a close approach and birdied the hole,” stated Whitsett. “That really jump-started my round and gave me some confidence.
“I'm not focused on winning. I'm focused on playing well,” Whitsett went on to say. “Winning is a byproduct of playing well. My only goal was to finish top six.”
Morris started the round with a bang by sinking a 60-foot putt on the first hole to save par. Morris continued to roll, and now rests two strokes ahead of Jenny Shin of Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif., at 77 and four others at 78.
“It feels different to have the lead,” Morris said. “But it gives me confidence to know I played the best today.”
Morris thought the course was difficult but thinks that playing hard can lead to good scores. “I'm just hoping I can shoot better than 75 tomorrow and stay in the 150's,” Morris added.
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, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
Second-round tee times will begin Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Sonoma Ranch Golf Course.
For more information about the Nike Junior Golf at Las Cruces, contact tournament headquarters at (505) 521-1818.