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VOA Classic Partnership Offers LPGA Exemption for Texas Juniors

The Legends Junior Tour, in collaboration with the Northern Texas PGA Junior Tour, is again partnering with the Volunteers of America Classic – the only LPGA Tour event in the state of Texas – to offer young female golfers the opportunity to earn an exemption into the LPGA Tour event annually conducted at Golf Clubs at The Tribute in The Colony, TX.

Through a series of tournaments conducted by the Legends Junior Tour, the Northern Texas PGA Junior Tour, and the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour, girls throughout the state of Texas will have the opportunity to qualify for the Volunteers of America Classic Girls Championship on June 21-23 at Golf Clubs at The Tribute. This 54-hole individual stroke play championship will feature a starting field of 144 female junior golfers, and will be cut to the top 30 and ties after 36-holes. The first and second round will be contested on the Tribute Golf Links, and the Final Round will be contested at Old American Golf Club – the same site as the annual LPGA Tour stop. The winner of this year’s Volunteers America Classic Girls Championship will have secured her spot to tee it up alongside LPGA Tour stars at the Volunteers of America Classic on July 1-4.

The Legends Tour will have 35 qualifying spots into the Volunteer of America Classic Girls Championship. Qualifying spots will be awarded based on performance in Legends Junior Tour championships and Player of the Year Standings.

“It’s been such an honor to watch our junior tour alumni succeed on the LPGA Tour over the years, and it’s tremendously exciting to be a part of giving our players an opportunity to compete with the world’s best,” said Stacy Dennis, Executive Director of the Texas Golf Association.

For the team at the Volunteers of America Classic, the opportunity to help inspire the next generation of LPGA Tour players and expand its community outreach was something that fit right into the tournament’s mission.

“A focus of the Volunteers of America Classic is to grow the game and inspire the next generation of golfers in Texas,” said Tournament Director, Emily Podzielinski. “This partnership allows us to achieve our goals and create champions right here in our backyard.”

For more information about the VOA Classic, click here.

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Kahanek birdies two of closing three holes Sunday to capture 2021 Texas Cup Invitational

WACO – San Antonio’s Patrick Kahanek birdied two of the last three holes Sunday at Ridgewood Country Club to capture the 2021 Texas Cup Invitational, the first major of the Legends Junior Tour’s season.

The Antonian High School senior, who will play golf at UTSA this fall, fired a final round 68-211 54-hole total. He recorded a one-shot win over Hunter Drotts, final round 72, and Awesome Burnett, who shot a closing 64.

Byungho Lee, Garrett Endicott and Julio Alfredo Rios Brache all tied for fourth at 213 with scores of 69, 68 and 68, respectively.

“On the back nine, my caddy was looking at the scores and he said a couple of birdies could really help me, so that’s what I tried do,” Kahanek said.

Indeed it could as he rolled in a 15-footer on the par 3 16th for a birdie which moved him into a share of the lead, after early third round leader Drotts made double bogey on the same hole one group later.

Both Kahanek and Drotts pared the 17th hole, a par four, only to set up the drama on the closing challenge, the par 4 18th at Ridgewood on the shores of Lake Waco.

Kahanek had 83 yards to the green after his drive and hit a 58-degree wedge to within five feet of the hole for the closing birdie.

“The club felt really good in my hand and the yardage was right for me. I just got it up in the air, rode the (jet) stream and it was money.”

After Drotts failed to make a birdie of his own on 18, Kahanek owned the biggest victory of his LJT junior golf career.

“This is what we work for, to birdie 18 and take home the win. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my putting and it’s really paid off today.”

Drotts, who didn’t get into the tournament until the last minute, held a three-shot lead on much of the back nine, but the par 3 16th proved to be his undoing.

“I just plugged my tee shot in the back bunker and from there, where the pin was, there wasn’t much I could do. I pitched it out, but it rolled all the way to the front of the green and the overhanging trees blocked my approach.

“I gave it a good run today and almost got it done. For getting in the tournament at the last minute, I’m pleased with what I was able to accomplish. I’ve got a lot of good things to take away from this”

So does Burnett, who tied his personal tournament low, with a six-under-par 64 final round, three shots off the competitive course record at Ridgewood.

The freshman from Flower Mound got his round off to a great start by holing out from the second fairway from 68 yards for an eagle two. On the fifth hole, he made a 20-foot birdie putt from off the green en route to a front nine 30. He only added one birdie on the back side, but said it was thrilled with his round.

“I played great today. The eagle at number two really got my round going and I was able to keep it going with a bunch of putts on the front nine.

“I love this course at Ridgewood, I’ve won a couple of Starburst (junior) tournaments here and it always feels good to be back.”

While he may not return as a junior golfer, Kahanek said he felt the same about the site of his greatest junior golf win to date.

“I’ve been doing a lot of work and had some good finishes, but this is my first win in a long time. This feels like a real breakthrough for me.”

The LJT will head to Brownwood next for the Bluebonnet Championship in early May. For final scores at the Texas Cup Invitational, click here

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Webb Shoots Low Score at Texas Cup Invitational, leads Second Round by One

WACO – Holden Webb shot the low round of the 2021 Texas Cup Invitational, a second round 66 Saturday, to take a slim one-shot lead over late-arriving Hunter Drotts after 36 holes of the first major of the Legends Junior Tour Season.

Webb, a Shreveport, Louisiana native, whose dad Craig briefly played on the PGA Tour, had six birdies at Ridgewood Country Club, including a 30-foot birdie putt on 17, with only two bogeys. It gave him a two-day total of 140 and a chance to get a prestigious win in his first individual tournament of the year.

Webb finished second with a two-day total of 139. Drotts shot a second round 68-140. Ryan Shellberg from Prosper was alone in third place with a second round even-par 70-141 total. Spring’s Andrew Spaulding was solo fourth at 70-142.

The second round leader used some local course knowledge after he played Ridgewood 4 years ago in the Starburst Junior Tournament and said it began to come back to him after a practice round this week. He is also a product of the prestigious David Toms 265 Golf Academy, which has already produced professional golfers Sam Burns and Phillip Barberee.

“That motivates me out here because I’ve seen what they have done on the Tour and I came from the same place.”

In his tournament low round, Webb got off to a fast start with a birdie on number one and seven, then got on a role with birdies on 9-10-11 before his birdie bomb on 17th.

“I was just trying to keep the ball in front of me and makes some putts when I got the chance. I hit a lot of club today on a lot of holes because the wind came from everywhere. I did a lot of work in the off season and it’s good to seeing it’s paying off.”

Drotts’ only motivation was a late Thursday afternoon phone call informing the League City resident he was in the tournament and needed to get to Waco and Ridgewood ASAP.

“I had applied and didn’t get in. So I sent them (LJT) an email saying I was still available and they told him I was the fifth alternate. One guy dropped out and I guess the other three couldn’t make it, so I got the call,” Drotts said.

He dropped everything he was doing at home, to get ready to make the 4-plus hour trip, going through College Station to pick up his buddy Cole Stock who is serving as his caddy this week.

They arrived in Waco late Thursday night, too late for a practice round, and without a place to stay because they were below the minimum age to rent a hotel room on their own. They were able to find another friend in town to crash in his room and then made it to the course early Friday morning.

Without ever seeing the course, he fired an opening 73, then turned in his two-under 68 on a windy Saturday on the shores of Lake Waco, to get within a shot of the lead.

The senior Cameron University commit had birdies on holes 2-7-9-10 and 15, the last coming with a 20-foot putt which caught the edge of the cup and tumbled in. He missed a two-foot par putt on 18, but said he was overall pleased with his round.

“I made so many putts, I’m not going to complain about the one I didn’t make. My caddy and I were talking coming up there, this could be our chance. It didn’t work out for them (other alternates) to get into the tournament, but it worked out for me and I’m going to take advantage of it.”

The final round of the Texas Cup Invitational will begin Sunday morning at 8:15 AM. For final round pairings, click here.

For more information on the Texas Cup Invitational, click here.