JOHNSON LEADS BY 11 AT FIDELITY INVESTMENTS STARS OF TEXAS JUNIOR
13 within five strokes of lead in Boys Division
AUSTIN, Texas — Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., carded a 2-under-par 69 Thursday to extend her lead in the Girls Division at the Fidelity Investments Stars of Texas Junior. Dillon Rust of Edmond, Okla., shot an even-par 71 to take the lead in the Boys Division at 1-over-par 143.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Fidelity Investments Stars of Texas Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at The University of Texas Golf Club. The tournament field consists of 120 players, 90 boys and 30 girls, from 12 states and Mexico. The Boys Division is playing the course at 7,170 yards, while the Girls Division is playing at 6,113 yards.
Johnson recorded her second consecutive round of 2-under-par 69, putting her 11 strokes ahead of her nearest competitor heading into Friday's final round. Johnson again posted the only under-par round of the day, and it could have been even better were it not for back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18.
“My putting was not as good today. I left a lot of putts short,” Johnson said. “I just have to read the speed a little better tomorrow.”
Johnson, winner of this year's Mission Hills Desert Junior, opened her round with a birdie on No. 1, just as she did Wednesday, and rolled in another on No. 4. to go out in 2-under-par 33. Birdies on Nos. 10 and 13 put her at 4-under-par through sixteen holes, before her two lone bogeys of the day. Despite the finish, Johnson is excited entering the final round, looking to secure her fifth AJGA victory.
“It's fun to play in the lead,” she said. “I just can't get ahead of myself out there, and need to play smart.”
Tied for second at 7-over-par 149 are Julie Yang of Phoenix, and Nikki Koller of Lewisburg, Ky., who both shot rounds of 2-over-par 73 Thursday.
In the Boys Division, Rust followed up his opening round of 1-over-par 72 with another stellar day, crediting his ability to find the fairway off of the tee.
“I hit my driver about as well as I ever have, both days,” Rust noted.
That accuracy also led to some easier approach shots, helping Rust hit 15 greens on the day. He finished his front nine with birdies on Nos. 7 and 9, but pointed to a par save on No. 11 as the most important part of his round.
“I was plugged in the lip of the bunker and got up and down from there,” Rust said. “It was almost like a birdie for me.”
Rust's two-day total of 1-over-par 143 will put him in the leader group for the first time. While proud of the achievement, he is again looking to improve on his score Friday.
“I'm going to try to play the same,” Rust said. “Par's a good score, but I definitely think better scores are out there.”
Robert Mayo and Matthew Henson, both of Austin, Texas, are tied for second at 2-over-par 144. One stroke behind them are John Darden of Frisco, Texas and Devin Miertschin of El Paso, Texas, tied for fourth at 3-over-par 145.
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 more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 countries.
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.
Final-round tee times will begin at 7:15 a.m. Friday off the No. 1 tee at The University of Texas Golf Club. For more information about the Fidelity Investments Stars of Texas Junior please contact tournament headquarters at (512) 266-0053.