SIZZLING STAGGS GOES LOW FOR LEAD AT SCISSORTAIL JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Thomas and Valerio share lead in Girls Division at Golf Club of Oklahoma
BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Colton Staggs of Tulsa, Okla., started hot Wednesday and never looked back on his way to a 6-under-par 66 and a four-stroke lead in the Boys Division heading into Thursday's final round. For the second straight day, there is a two-way tie for the lead in the Girls Division, as Chessey Thomas of Spokane, Wash., and Veronica Valerio of Temecula, Calif., each signed for a tournament total of 5-over-par 149.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Scissortail Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Golf Club of Oklahoma in Broken Arrow, Okla. The tournament field consists of 75 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 14 states. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 Golf Club of Oklahoma at 6,919 yards, and the Girls Division is playing at 6,071 yards.
Staggs unleashed a round-long barrage on the Golf Club of Oklahoma layout, as he sandwiched birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 and Nos. 8 and 9 around five pars to make the turn at 4-under-par for the day. On the back, he continued his run with five more birdies, as well as a bogey and a double-bogey, to finish his round with a two-day total of 4-under-par 140.
“I went in the hay once today and made birdie,” Staggs said of his round. “On No. 8, my second shot went into the hay and I whacked it to about 40 feet and made my putt.”
Johannes Veerman of Sugar Land, Texas, is in second place at even-par 144, while Wyatt Robson of Ada, Okla., and Sean Romero of Texarkana, Ark., are tied for third at 2-over-par 146. Jett Johnson of Norman, Okla., is in fifth at 4-over-par 148.
In the Girls Division, Thomas entered the day one stroke back and fell further behind with a 4-over-par 40 on the front nine. She quickly rebounded with a 2-under-par 34 on the back, which included an eagle on No. 16 and a birdie on No. 17.
“I hit a good tee shot. I decided to hit a three-wood and have a full wedge in,” Thomas said of her eagle. “I knew the pin was up; I hit it right at the hole. The club slipped out of my hand a little bit, so I was actually nervous it wasn't going to get there. It hit a few feet from the front, kind of took a hop and went in. I don't really plan on eagling too many par fours, but it's certainly nice when you do.”
Valerio had a more consistent round, recording splits of 37 and 38 to finish with a 3-over-par 75.
“I had a lot of one-putts,” Valerio said. “I missed a few, but overall the putting was pretty good. I hit some pretty good shots which made it easier to one-putt.”
Elizabeth Doty of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., is in third place in the Girls Division with a tournament total of 7-over-par 151.
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 50 states and more than 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 200 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 Scissortail Junior Championship will run from 7:30 a.m. — 12:50 p.m. off the No. 1 tee Thursday, August 6, at Golf Club of Oklahoma. For more information, please call Tournament Headquarters at (770) 861-0519.