Niblett's Final-Round 72 Secures Texas Girls' Invitational Victory
LUFKIN, Texas – Makenzie Niblett’s final round of even-par 72 vaulted her up the leaderboard to capture the eighth annual Texas Girls’ Invitational Sunday afternoon at Crown Colony Country Club. This was the first Legends Junior Tour victory of her young career.
Without one score under par for the tournament, Crown Colony proved to be a very difficult challenge for 50 of the top girls in the state. A score of 1-over 73 led the championship after the first round, and two even-par 72’s were carded in the final round, one of which was Niblett’s, the other belonged to Richardson’s Libby Winans.
Crown Colony, once heralded as the top golf course in the state of Texas, is nestled in the tall pine trees of east Texas. The course’s tight fairways, elevated greens and numerous hazards proved a challenge for all players.
Playing in the third to last group, Niblett had no idea where she stood. After an even-par 36 opening nine, she had moved from tied for sixth place up to second place, only behind her playing partner and high school teammate, Kaylee Vesely.
“I didn’t know where I stood,” Niblett said. “I just wanted to keep playing one shot at a time and stay calm and focused.”
She stayed focused except for one blip on her scorecard, a double-bogey on the 352-yard, par-4 11th hole. Following that double bogey, she got back to what she was doing well before that.
“I kept it calm and steady, making putts and hitting a lot of fairways. That allowed me to stay focused throughout the round all the way through.”
Following her round, Vesely’s dad, and caddie, told Niblett she deserved to win this tournament more than anyone.
“I thought he was just telling me that because I played well and my attitude was good all day, but then I realized I was actually in the lead once we finished and just had to hang on.”
She survived those final two groups behind her and was able to claim the ‘Nez Muhleman Trophy. She won by the slimmest of margins over Winans, who played in the group in front of her. Winans’ final round 72 vaulted her from a tie for ninth to start the day all the way to second place Sunday afternoon.
Vesely, who was leading after making the turn, struggled down the stretch, but was able to finish in third place, only two shots back of Niblett. Boerne’s Delaney Martin finished in fourth place, carding a final-round 74 that included a back-nine 4-under 32. Hailey Jones and Zoe Slaughter, who sit first and second, respectively, on the LJT Girls Player of the Year Points List, finished in a tie for fifth place, four shots back of Niblett.
The Legends Junior Tour created the Texas Girls’ Invitational in 2010. The inaugural event had 12 girls. The championship was at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club for the previous five years before moving to Crown Colony in 2017. All girls played 5,968 yards.
The Tour would like to thank Crown Colony’s staff and membership for making this event a memorable one for the players, families and guests.
For more information on the Texas Girls’ Invitational or the Legends Junior Tour, please visit www.TXGA.org.
For final results, click here.