VILLASANA FEARLESS IN FIRST AJGA EVENT, SHOOTS 1-UNDER-PAR 71 TO MAINTAIN TWO-SHOT LEAD
Navarro finds herself in all-too-familiar position - the lead - and expects to win Thursday at Southern Oaks Golf Club
FORT WORTH, Texas — Alejandro Villasana of Hacienda Las Misiones, Mexico, proving Wednesday that his opening-round 6-under-par 66 was no fluke, continuing the impressive pace he set in the first round with a second-round 1-under-par 71 and solidifying his two-shot lead heading into the final round of the Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic. Marijosse Navarro of San Antonio, Texas, played steady throughout the second round, bogeying only one hole on the day, to secure a two-shot lead at 2-under-par 142 when second-round play concluded.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic is a 54-hole stroke play event with a 36-hole cut held at Southern Oaks Golf Club. The tournament field features 143 boys and girls, ages 12-18, from 13 states, Mexico, Canada and New Zealand. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 7,154 yards, while the Girls Division is playing it at 6,084 yards.
Villasana, a 15-year-old who is playing in his first AJGA event, got right back to where he left off in the first round, playing his first nine to the tune of 2-under-par 34. Villasana's mistake-free round came to a halt with bogeys on two par-3s on his second nine. However, he responded with a birdie on the par-5 No. 9 to end the day with the same two-stroke lead he held at the start of his day.
“I started off really well. I was bogey free on my front nine,” Villasana said. “I struck the ball really well all day, but I couldn't make any putts today.”
Andrew Presley of Fort Worth, Texas, who won the Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship in April and ranks in the top-40 in the Polo Junior Golf Rankings, sits just two shots back of Villasana in second after an impressive 4-under-par 68 that has him at 5-under-par 139 for the tournament. Blake Waller of West Des Moines, Iowa, and Nathan Anderson of Burleson, Texas, sit in a tie for third at 3-under-par 141. Scott McAlpine of Auckland, New Zealand, sits to fifth on the leaderboard heading into the final round on Thursday.
Navarro, who won the Junior All-Star at Aspen two weeks ago, is only twelve years old, but played wise beyond her years on Wednesday, making only one mistake on the day, a bogey on the par-3 No. 6. She birdied Nos. 8, 11, and 17 to counteract that lone bogey. Although, her fellow competitors age her by up to six years, Navarro said she is unafraid as she heads into Thursday's final round with the lead and hopes to make more putts in the final round to take home her second AJGA Waterford Crystal trophy of the month.
“I played very good, even though it was very hot,” Navarro said. “I chipped and putted well, and I'm pleased with the way I played.”
Lauren Kim battled back from an opening-hole triple-bogey to shoot an even-par 72, good for second in the Girls Division at even-par 144. Chaney Uhles of Fort Worth, Texas, Marguerite Swearingen of Livermore, Calif., and Kaira Martin of Paradise Valley, Ariz., round out the top- three in a tie for third at 1-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 AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual 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 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 350 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 Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic will run from 7 — 8:48 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees Thursday, June 25, at Southern Oaks Golf Club. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Julie Kickbusch at (770) 617-3050.