By Abby Liebenthal, AJGA Communications
HENDERSON, Nev. – The West Team repeated history in Day One of the Winn Junior Cup Challenge, commanding the lead with the same first-day score as the third-annual tournament in January at 10-5.
The Winn Junior Cup Challenge pairs the top two boys and girls from East of the Mississippi versus their counterparts from West of the Mississippi. The two-day championship is decided by the number of accrued points. Butch Harmon (East) and Natalie Gulbis (West) are team captains and compete in some of the competitions, as well as provide commentary.
Morning scramble matches started the day with the West and East teams joined by their captains Harmon and Gulbis. Ben Griffin of Chapel Hill, N.C., joined by Jorge Garcia of Miami, jumpstarted the East’s campaign after sticking his approach to one foot and tapping in for birdie on No. 1. The East’s Abbey Carlson of Lake Mary, Fla., and Megan Khang of Rockland, Mass., settled for par, while the West Team notched birdies on the girls’ and boys’ side to start the day at 2-under-par.
“It’s a really fun experience, Butch (Harmon) knows a lot about the game so he was teaching us a lot on the front nine,” Garcia said. “It was awesome to have the opportunity to have such a good teacher on the course with us.”
After Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif., knocked in a birdie putt on No. 1, Amy Lee of Brea, Calif., sunk consecutive birdies on No. 2-4. The duo collected one more birdie on No. 9 to finish at 5-under-par 67. The pair won the morning scramble points against the East Team girls, who finished at 1-under-par 71.
“It’s a whole new experience playing with a LPGA professional,” Amy Lee said. “Seeing how they manage their game was really cool.”
The West Team finished the five-point sweep with Brad Dalke of Hobart, Okla., and Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas, posting a 6-under-par 66. The East and West Team boys were tied at 1-under-par through No. 3, but the West’s birdie on No. 4 triggered the momentum. After Connelly stuck his approach shot on No. 5 to eight feet, Dalke finished the birdie bid and brought the West Team to 3-under-par. Additional birdies on Nos. 6-8 and a par on No. 9 brought their total to 6-under-par 66 against the East Team’s 2-under-par 70.
With the afternoon format switched to Four-Ball, the East Team sought points to make a comeback. The East’s Garcia and Griffin faced the West’s Connelly and Dalke, winning the first points for the East, 1-up. Meanwhile, Amy Lee and Andrea Lee remain undefeated heading into Sunday’s singles matches after defeating Carlson and Khang, 1-up.
The 2013 Winn Junior Cup Challenge continues Sunday, Nov. 17. Matches begin at 8:30 a.m., off the No. 1 tee at Rio Secco Golf Club.
Henderson, Nev. – Day one results from the Winn Junior Cup Challenge conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Rio Secco Golf Club.
Day One – Morning Scramble: West 5, East 0
Amy Lee, Brea, Calif. (2015) & Andrea Lee, Hermosa Beach, Calif. (2016) WEST won with a 5-under-par 72 over Abbey Carlson, Lake Mary, Fla. (2016) & Megan Khang, Rockland, Mass. (2015) EAST
Austin Connelly, Irving, Texas (2015) & Brad Dalke, Hobart, Okla. (2016) WEST won with a 6-under-par 72 over Jorge Garcia, Miami (2015) & Benjamin Griffin, Chapel Hill, N.C. (2014) EAST
Day One – Afternoon Four-Ball Matches: West 5, East 5
Amy Lee, Brea, Calif. (2015) & Andrea Lee, Hermosa Beach, Calif. (2016) WEST def. Abbey Carlson, Lake Mary, Fla. (2016) & Megan Khang, Rockland, Mass. (2015) EAST, 1-up
Jorge Garcia, Miami (2015) & Benjamin Griffin (2014) EAST def. Austin Connelly, Irving, Texas (2015) & Brad Dalke, Hobart, Okla. (2016) WEST, 1-up