LOPEZ TAKES FOUR-SHOT LEAD AFTER 69 IN AUSTIN
McCloskey leads the Girls Division by two strokes
AUSTIN, Texasâ€” Defending champion Lance Lopez, 17, of Missouri City, Texas, came a step closer to winning back-to-back Stars of Texas Junior crowns after his second-round 69 put him four shots clear of the field. Lisa McCloskey, 13, of Montgomery, Texas, maintained her first-round lead after a 77 gave her a tournament total of 8-over-par 150.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Stars of Texas Junior is held at The University of Texas Golf Club. The 54-hole event features 99 of the nation's premier junior golfers from 10 states, including 77 Texans. The University of Texas Golf Club, which opened in 2003, played host to the 2005 Big XII Women's Golf Championship.
Lopez, who has verbally committed to play golf for the University of Texas after high school, continued to have success on the course he will one day call home. Lopez, who was tied for the lead after a 70 in round one, got off to a hot start by birding his first three holes of the day.
â€śThat was a big confidence booster,â€ť Lopez said. â€śI just went from there.â€ť
Lopez, who led by seven after two rounds last year before claiming victory in a sudden-death playoff, said he will improve on last year's final round score of 80.
â€śI'll make a few changes this year, trust me,â€ť Lopez said.
Looking to come from behind Friday will be Aaron Bradshaw of Allen, Texas, after an even-par 71 put him alone in second and within four of Lopez. Rounding out the final group will be Geoff Howard of San Antonio, Texas, who shot an even-par 71 in the second round for a tournament total of 144. Tied for fourth at 3-over-par 145 are Cody Gribble of Dallas and Christopher Brown of Garland, Texas.
McCloskey, who fired a 2-over-par 73 in the first round, shot even-par 35 on the front nine of her second round before a 6-over-par 42 brought her back to the field.
â€śI was still hitting the greens on the back nine but I had some three-putts,â€ť McCloskey said.
Close behind the leader is Jenny Lee of La Canada, Calif., who is at 10-over-par 152 after back-to-back 76s. Also playing in the final group will be Kelsey Vines of Austin, Texas, who is four strokes off the lead with a tournament total of 154.
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, the largest Association of its kind, 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, 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, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
The final round of the Stars of Texas Junior will begin at 7:30 a.m., Friday off The University of Texas Golf Club's No. 1 tee. For more information about the Stars of Texas Junior call tournament headquarters at (512) 703-5214.