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Hidden Creek Golf Course
Fort Worth, Texas • June 22 - 25

Girls remain close with Abe leading at Southern Oaks Golf Club

FORT WORTH, Texas — Alejandro Villasana of Hacienda Las Misiones, Mexico, took the early lead after firing a 6-under-par 66 in the first round of the Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic. Lakareber Abe of Angleton, Texas, currently holds a one-shot lead in the Girls Division with a 1-under-par 71 at Southern Oaks Golf Club.

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, being held at Southern Oaks Golf Club. The tournament field features 143 boys and girls, ages 12-18, from thirteen states, Mexico, New Zealand and Canada. 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 had a dream start by carding birdies on three of his first five holes, including consecutive birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. He felt good as he made the turn at 3-under-par 33 and had a defining moment with an eagle on the par-5 No. 15. Villasana was told he could not reach the green in two but found a way and made the 8 foot putt for eagle. The 15-year-old remained cool throughout the day in the Texas heat to bring in the two-shot lead.

“I feel really comfortable on this course,” Villasana said. “My favorite weather to play in is sunny and hot. I thrive in this.”

Daniel Northington of Austin, Texas, sits in second with a 4-under-par 68. In third is Blake Waller of West Des Moines, Iowa, with a 3-under-par 69. Eli Mattioli of Fayetteville, Ark., Ford Fischer of Dallas, Luke Carpenter of Little Rock, Ark., and Sam DeStefano of Bryan, Texas, are all tied for fourth after each shooting 2-under-par 70s.

In the Girls Division, Abe started her round with a birdie on No. 1 that helped her stay calm throughout the day. The 13-year-old is excited to be leading after the first round and credits her six bridies on the day, including consecutive ones on Nos. 17 and 18 at the end of her round, to her putting and her momentum changing birdie on No. 6.

“I hit my tee shot far right and towards the trees,” Abe said. “It hit the trees and bounced out. Then I managed to chip it into the hole. It really got me going especially since I was coming off a double bogey on the previous hole.”

Also atop the Girls leaderboard in a four-way tie for second are Christina Cantu of Houston, Melanie White of Colleyville, Texas, Marijosse Navarro of San Antonio, and Lauren Kim of Los Altos, Calif., each with an even-par 72.

Elbit Systems of America is a leading provider of high performance products and system solutions focusing on the commercial aviation, defense, homeland security, and medical instrumentation markets. With facilities throughout the United States, Elbit Systems of America is dedicated to supporting those who contribute daily to the safety and security of the United States. Elbit Systems of America, LLC is wholly owned by Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ESLT), a global electronics company engaged in a wide range of programs for innovative defense and commercial applications. This is the third year that Elbit Systems of America has supported this DFW-area tournament.

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.

Second-round tee times for the Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic will run from 7 — 8:39 a.m. and Noon — 1:39 p.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees Wednesday, June 24, at Southern Oaks Golf Club. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Julie Kickbusch at (770) 617-3050.