BURLISON GRABS LEAD AT MAYAKOBA JUNIOR GOLF CLASSIC
Lewis leads Girls Division heading into Friday's final round
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Quintana Roo, Mexico — Jay Burlison of Salinas, Calif., carded an even-par 70 Thursday for a 74-70 — 144 tournament total and a one-shot lead at the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic. Amelia Lewis of Jacksonville, Fla., leads the Girls Division at 71-73 — 144 and will start Friday's final round with a two-shot lead.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at El Camaleón Golf Club and is the AJGA's only event held in Mexico. The field consists of 76 players, of which 27 are from Mexico. The rest come from eight U.S. states. El Camaleón Golf Club, home to the PGA TOUR's Mayakoba Golf Classic, is being played as a 6,940 yard par-70 in the Boys Division and a 6,003 yard par-71 in the Girls Division.
After an opening-round 74, Burlison started Thursday 3-under-par through 10. Three bogeys on his closing eight holes derailed his round, but Burlison said he's still pleased with his day and his 144 total.
“Overall, I feel good about my round,” Burlison said. “I got a little too hyped up after I started 3-under-par, but hopefully I'll be able to keep it under control tomorrow.”
A 2013 graduate, Burlison's best previous AJGA tournament was a tie for sixth at the Sta-Green® Junior All-Star Championship in June. He's playing in his first AJGA Open event and today's even-par 70 tied his best career AJGA round.
“I haven't hit it into any hazards yet this week, and that's been key,” Burlison said. “Today, I hit my iron shots close and that gave me more chances to make some putts.”
Seiji Liu of Bradenton, Fla., is one shot behind and sits alone in second at 72-73 — 145. Austin Roberts of Carmichael, Calif., and Marshall Talkington of Jackson, Tenn., are tied for third at 146, while Juan Benitez of Puebla, Mexico, is in fifth at 75-72 — 147.
In the Girls Division, Lewis teed off on No. 10 and had her score in red numbers before a triple bogey on No. 5. However, she quickly rebounded by making a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 6 and was able to close her round at 2-over-par 73.
“That birdie was important because I was really mad,” Lewis said. “I wanted to shoot under par, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. It showed me that I can be under par and I just need to be patient and not get frustrated.”
Lewis is playing in her 10th and final national junior golf tournament of the summer before she returns to school next week. Though exhausted, she said the biggest thing she's learned this summer is how to rebound.
“If something is wrong, I need to stop doing it and move on,” said Lewis, whose best career AJGA finish is second place at the Stanford Financial Junior Championship hosted by David Gossett. “I've learned to accept a bogey and just move on.”
First-round co-leader Katelyn Sepmoree of Tyler, Texas, sits in second at 71-75 — 146, while Portland Rosen of Sugar Land, Texas, is in third at 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 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 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 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. 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 for the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic will run from 7:30 — 9:30 a.m Friday, Aug. 22 off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at El Camaleón Golf Club. For more information about the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic please contact Tournament Headquarters at 678-425-1772.