28 Dec 2017 American Junior Golf Tournament Round 1 Recap
In conditions that were more like Scotland in December than Florida, it was the girls who had the upper hand after Round 1 of the eighth annual American Junior golf tournament at the Slammer & Squire course at World Golf Village.
With temperatures barely reaching the mid-50s and winds gusting up to 25 mph, Spain’s Valentina Albertazzi shot a 1-under 71 and leads Denmark’s Cecillle Nielsen and Valeria Mendizabal of Guatamala by one stroke. Albertazzi scattered six birdies over the first 14 holes of her round and then closed with four pars to get into the clubhouse with the only sub-par score recorded in either the girls or boys division. “It was a really hard day and the conditions weren’t good but I started well and then just got into my game. I really didn’t think about the weather too much. I was dressed for it and where I’m from in Spain, I’m used to playing in wind. I’m happy about the round for sure,” said Albertazzi.
In the boy’s division, despite playing his final three holes in three-over par, Mexico’s Alejandro Gutierrez carded a 3-over 75 and forged a one-stroke lead over five other players including Hein Sithu of Myanmar, the runner-up at this event last year. Like Albertazzi, Gutierrez managed to make six birdies during the day but they were offset by three costly double-bogeys.
“I really didn’t play that badly until the last hole. My second shot on the par-4 found the water and left me with a tough finish.” Sithu said afterward. “I still feel good about my position and am looking forward to tomorrow.”
This year’s tournament, featuring may of the top juniors in the world (34 boys and 14 girls between the ages of 12 – 19) collectively features players from 20 different countries, including five from Myanmar. In addition to Sithu, Min Than Lwin Aung, Kaung Myat Kyaw, Hein Sithu, Phyo Zan and Phu Pwint Yati Khine are also in the event.
The 2017 American Junior is open to the public and second-round play will start at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. To attend, visit the Slammer and Squire Course golf course in World Golf Village.