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Texas Junior Golf Alliance Set to Host LPGA Qualifier

Texas Junior Golf Alliance Set to Host LPGA Qualifier

DALLAS – The Texas Junior Golf Alliance partnered with the Volunteers of America Classic to give female junior golfers a chance to qualify for an LPGA tournament. Scheduled for Sept. 4-6, the 16-player match play qualifier will be played at the site of the LPGA tournament, Old American Golf Club in The Colony.

“One of our goals as an event is to impact the community in a meaningful way,” Octagon Senior Sales Director Brooke Lee said. “By allowing junior golfers from all over the region an opportunity to compete and win a spot into our tournament will continue to promote women’s golf in a positive light.”

The Volunteers of America Classic Girls’ Match Play Championship is for elite players that have distinguished themselves throughout Texas Junior Golf Alliance events in 2020. The qualifier will feature 16 female junior golfers graduating high school no earlier than 2021: seven from the Legends Junior Tour, four from the Northern Texas PGA’s All-American Tour, four from the Southern Texas PGA’s Prestige Tour and one from the Houston Golf Association’s Performance Series.

The LJT exemptions include the champions of the Texas Girl’s Invitational (Ashley Yen), Lanny Wadkins Junior Championship on June 29-30, Texas Junior Amateur on July 27-29, George Hannon Junior Invitational on August 10-11 and the top three players not already exempt on the Player of the Year Standings.

The NTPGA exemptions include the champions of The Challenge at The Tribute on June 8-9, #WHOSNEXT Championship on June 15-16, Fort Worth Junior Open on June 29-30 and Azalea Trail Junior Classic on July 20-21.

“As a junior golfer, to have an opportunity to qualify and compete in an LPGA event in your home state is a bucket list item,” NTPGA Executive Director Mark Harrison said. “Every young lady who plays junior golf in Texas on the All-American Tour, Prestige Tour or Legends Junior Tour should aspire to try and qualify to compete in the Volunteers of America Classic Girls’ Match Play Championship.”

The STPGA exemptions include the champions of the Girls Junior PGA Championship Qualifier on June 8-9, Mid-Summer Showcase on June 22-23, Aggieland Classic on July 12-14 and Shootout in the Hills on July 20-21.

“We are always focused on providing our junior golf members a roadmap but more importantly unique opportunities to play at the next level,” STPGA Executive Director Thomas Hutton said. “An exemption like this will clearly motivate young ladies to work on their game and gain valuable experience within our programs.”

The HGA exemption will be the champion of the Eddie Burke Sr. Young Houstonian on June 23-25 at Cypresswood Golf Club in Spring.

The single-elimination bracket will be formed by a random drawing conducted at the player’s dinner on Thursday, Sept. 3. The seven LJT qualifiers and HGA qualifier will be selected to fill one side of the 16-player bracket, while the four NTPGA and four STPGA qualifiers will fill out the other side of the bracket.

The first two rounds of the VOA Classic Girls’ Match Play Championship will be played on Friday, Sept. 4. The semifinal matches will take place on Saturday, Sept. 5, and the championship match will determine the LPGA exemption on Sunday, Sept. 6.

“The VOA Classic Girls’ Match Play Championship delivers on our vision of providing Texans with opportunities for world-class competition in their home state,” TGA Executive Director Stacy Dennis said. “Providing our juniors with an opportunity to experience an LPGA event is a unique opportunity to help inspire our players.”

Over the years, the Texas Junior Golf Alliance has produced many professional female golfers. Last year’s Volunteers of America Classic Champion, Cheyenne Knight of Aledo, played on the NTPGA All-American Tour and was a two-time LJT champion. Other Texas Junior Golf Alliance alumna include two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, Kristen Gillman of Austin, and 12-time LPGA winner Stacy Lewis of The Woodlands.

The Texas Junior Golf Alliance extends its sincere appreciation to the Volunteers of America Classic for partnering to give these female junior golfers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The Texas Junior Golf Alliance prides itself on growing the game and promoting women’s golf.

“The Volunteers of America Classic is excited to reward a young female athlete with the opportunity to play in a professional LPGA event and watch them learn from their experiences at our event,” Lee said. “We hope this will leave an everlasting impact on this young player and help them stay focused on their professional goals.”

The Volunteers of America Classic will be played one month after the qualifier at Old American Golf Club on Oct. 1-4. For more information on the VOA Classic Girls’ Match Play Championship, click here.

ABOUT THE TEXAS JUNIOR GOLF ALLIACNE: In 2012, the four most prominent junior golf tours in the state joined forces to create the Texas Junior Golf Alliance. The partnership between the Legends Junior Tour, Northern Texas PGA, Southern Texas PGA and Houston Golf Association strives to promote the game and give junior golfers greater access to top-tier statewide competition.

ABOUT THE VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA CLASSIC: The 2020 Volunteers of America Classic will return to Old American Golf Club in The Colony for the third consecutive year. The official LPGA tournament will feature 144 of the world’s best female golfers in a four-day stroke-play event vying for $1.3 million purse. The 2020 VOA Classic is scheduled for Oct. 1-4.

ABOUT OCTAGON: At Octagon, we inspire brands, talent, and our people to see the world for all its potential. Then, we help our clients pick the right opportunity to make the next right move. We are a passionate team of 800 savvy veterans and bold upstarts, relentlessly committed to helping our clients and our teammates push forward. What’s Your Move? See more at Octagon.com and join us @Octagon.

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Gilbert, Slaughter and Mierl Win Spring Preview

20 Spring Preview Winners - Boys 15-18

Lake Jackson, Texas – Jack Gilbert of Houston wins the Spring Preview at The Wilderness Golf Club in playoff fashion with a birdie on the par-4 18th. Zoe Slaughter of Houston fired a 3-under 69 to win the Girls 12-18 Division by two strokes, while Trenton Mierl of Austin posts consecutive rounds under par to win the Boys 14 & Under Division.

Leaderboard:

Boys 15-18 Division

1. Jack Gilbert 138*
2. Drew Wagner 138
3. Jacob Salazar 141
4. Tyler Gardner 142
5. Jacob Borow 143

*Won on first playoff hole with birdie

Girls 12-18 Division

1. Zoe Slaughter 139
T2. Jacqueline Nguyen 141
T2. Eubin Shim 141

Boys 14 & Under Division

1. Trenton Mierl 140
2. Daniel Zou 143
3. Austin Hofferkamp 146

Full Leaderboard

Leaders: The Boys 15-18 Division went to a sudden death playoff that ended on the first playoff hole, the par-4 18th, when Gilbert made birdie to claim his first LJT Boys 15-18 Division win. He made five birdies with one lone bogey on Sunday bringing his total up to eight birdies and two bogeys over 36 holes. After leading the Girls 12-18 Division by one stroke, Slaughter found herself down one stroke with three holes to play. As she did all weekend, she remained calm and steady shooting 1-under during her final three holes to win. With a 1-under 71 in the final round, Mierl posted consecutive rounds under par to win the Boys 14 & Under Division by 3 strokes and his win of the 2020 season. He carded four birdies during his final round, three of which came on his second nine.

In Contention: In the Boys 15-18 Division, Austin’s Drew Wagner came up one putt short when he made par on the first playoff hole. Wagner posted consecutive rounds of 3-under 69 for the championship finishing at 6-under overall. League City’s Jacob Salazar finished in solo third after shooting even-par 72 on Sunday and finishing at 3-under-par. Houston’s Tyler Gardner finished fourth, while Lake Jackson’s own Jacob Borow finished fifth. Shreveport’s Burke Alford and Richardson’s Luke Eckholm tied for sixth and Kingwood’s Brooks Pawlak finished solo eighth.
In the Girls 12-18 Division, Jacqueline Nguyen of Houston and Eubin Shim of Waco finished tied for second at 3-under-par 141. Reagan Gray of Missouri City finished fourth at even-par total, while Amelia Guo rounded out the top-5 at 3-over-par.
In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Daniel Zou of The Woodlands carded rounds of 73-70 to finish second and three shots back of Mierl at 1-under-par 143. The Woodlands’ Austin Hofferkamp finished third, while San Antonio’s Levi Keith finished fourth. Rhett O’Rear of Plano and Bowen Ballis of Shenandoah finished tied for fifth.

Course: This year’s Spring Preview is the first time The Wilderness Golf Club is hosting the Legends Junior Tour. Roughly 60 miles south of Houston, the course was designed by Jeffrey Brauer bringing golf and nature together. The course features a naturally rolling terrain nestled in the wetlands of Lake Jackson.

Weather: Sunday’s final round started of overcast with light rain and temperatures in the low 70s. The sun got up in the skies for a beautiful afternoon with temperatures in the low 80s and wind gusts up to 12 mph.

About the LJT: The Legends Junior Tour is part of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance, which is a joint venture between the Texas Golf Association, Northern and Southern PGA and Houston Golf Association. The tour operates as part of the Texas Golf Association and its foundation. Since its inception in 2005, the tour has provided funds to promote junior golf initiatives while conducting some of the state’s top junior championships including the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship, Texas Junior Amateur and the Texas Girls’ Invitational as well as the Texas Cup Invitational.

What’s Next: The Bluebonnet Championship is the next stop for the Legends Junior Tour in Brownwood. Brownwood Country Club has hosted the Bluebonnet Championship since the tour took it over in 2006. The championship will be conducted May 2-3.
For more information on the Spring Preview, visit the tournament homepage by clicking here.

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Salazar and Wagner Fire 69 and Lead Spring Preview

Lake Jackson, Texas – Jacob Salazar and Drew Wagner posted a 3-under par 69 in the first round of the Spring Preview and lead the Boys 15-18 Division at The Wilderness Golf Club. Trenton Mierl leads the Boys 14 & Under Division, while Zoe Slaughter is atop the Girls 12-18 Division.

Leaderboard:
Boys 15-18 Division

T1. Jacob Salazar 69
T1. Drew Wagner 69
3. Jack Gilbert 70
4. Rex Hargrove 71
T5. Brian Comegys 72
T5. Advait Chutke 72
T5. Colt Tenpenny 72

Girls 12-18 Division

1. Zoe Slaughter 70
T2. Eubin Shim 71
T2. Reagan Smith 71
4. Jacqueline Nguyen 72
5. Kendall Jackson 73

Boys 14 & Under Division

1. Trenton Mierl 69
2. Daniel Zou 73
T3. Levi Kieth 74
T3. Austin Hofferkamp 74
5. Bowen Ballis 75

Full Leaderboard

Leaders: League City’s Salazar and Austin’s Wagner both posted scores of 3-under during the first round of the Spring Preview. Salazar, who started on the par-5 tenth, got off to a strong start with six pars and three birdies on 12, 14 and 17. After making the turn Salazar found trouble early when he made double bogey on the par-5 second. He quickly bounced back with three birdies in his next five holes before making bogey on the par-3 eight, getting him back to even for the side, and 3-under for the round. Wagner also started his round on the par-5 tenth and birdied his first three holes. He had one more birdie before the turn on the par-5 fifteenth to make the turn at 4-under. Wanger’s second nine got interesting when he started bogey, eagle, bogey. His eagle came on the par-5 second. He finished the round with a birdie on 7 and a double bogey on 8 to get him to 1-over on the side, 3-under for the round. Both are tied atop the leaderboard in the Boys 15-18 Division. In the Girls 12-18 Division, Zoe Slaughter leads by one after an opening round 2-under 70. The highlight of her round came when she made eagle on the par-5 second, and birdie on the par-4 fifth. After making the turn at 3-under, Zoe gave one back on the par-5 fifteenth when she made bogey. She finished the nine at 1-over and round at 2-under. In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Mierl again finds himself in the lead after posting the only under-par round in the division. He got momentum going early when he made an eagle on the par-5 second before making a bogey on the par-4 third. Mierl regained his momentum before making the turn when he birdied the par-4 ninth to turn at 2-under. The momentum was carried into his second nine with birdies on 11, 12 and 14. He closed his round with a double bogey on the par-4 eighteenth to finish with a 3-under 69.

In Contention: In the Boys 15-18 Division, Houston’s Jack Gilbert sits alone in third at 2-under 70, while Houston’s Rex Hargrove is in solo fourth at 1-under 71. Three players are tied in fifth at even-par 72. In the Girls 12-18, Waco’s Eubin Shim and Missouri City’s Reagan Gray are tied for second and one stroke back at 1-under 71. Jacqueline Nguyen is in solo fourth at even-par 72, two strokes back of the leader. In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Daniel Zou of The Woodlands is four shots back in solo second at 1-over 73. San Antonio’s Levi Keith and The Woodlands’ Austin Hofferkamp are tied for third at 2-over 74.

Course: This year’s Spring Preview is the first time The Wilderness Golf Club is hosting the Legends Junior Tour. Roughly 60 miles south of Houston, the course was designed by Jeffrey Brauer bringing golf and nature together. The course features a naturally rolling terrain nestled in the wetlands of Lake Jackson.

Weather: Saturday’s first round consisted of cloudy skies for a majority of the day with temperatures in the mid to high 70s. The sun shinned periodically in the afternoon with winds up to 13 mph.

About the LJT: The Legends Junior Tour is part of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance, which is a joint venture between the Texas Golf Association, Northern and Southern PGA and Houston Golf Association. The tour operates as part of the Texas Golf Association and its foundation. Since its inception in 2005, the tour has provided funds to promote junior golf initiatives while conducting some of the state’s top junior championships including the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship, Texas Junior Amateur and the Texas Girls’ Invitational as well as the Texas Cup Invitational.

What’s Next: The Final Round of the Spring Preview is scheduled for Sunday, March 15th with tee times going off the No. 1 and 10 tees. To see pairings for the final round, click here. For more information on the Spring Preview, visit the tournament homepage by clicking here.