News from Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

McDonough Leads LJT Lanny Wadkins

PROSPER – Spicewood’s Hunter McDonough leads the Lanny Wadkins Junior Championship after firing a 5-under 67 in the first round at Gentle Creek Country Club.

Tanner Wardlaw shot a 2-under 70 and leads the Boys 14 & Under division heading into Tuesday’s final round. In the Girls 12-18 division, Halle Whitney and Gabbi Bentancourt sit atop the leaderboard after carding 1-under 71’s Monday afternoon.

Located in Prosper, a suburb of Dallas, Gentle Creek is hosting the Lanny Wadkins Junior Championship for the fifth straight year. The D.A. Weibring designed course meanders through the upscale residential neighborhoods. The course features intriguing elevation changes, picturesque water hazards and large, undulating greens that will challenge all 120 players in this year’s field.

McDonough leads a crowded leaderboard heading into the final round. He started out hot Monday, making birdies on his first two holes, the difficult opening par-4, and the easier par-5 second. He played steady until the middle of his back nine. He then caught fire, carding four birdies in a row on holes 12 through 15 on his way to a 4-under 32 on his closing nine.

McDonough leads by one shot over a trio of players. McKinney’s Alex Kopenhaver, The Woodlands’ Brayden Ingebrigtsen, and Austin’s Thomas Bockholt III, the current LJT Points List leader, all shot 4-under 68’s in their opening round. Junwoo Park and Nico Nebout sit in a tie for fifth place, two shots back of McDonough.

In all, 14 players shot under-par or better in their first round, which will make for an interesting Tuesday afternoon at Gentle Creek.

In the Boys 14 & Under division, Dripping Springs’ Wardlaw leads by two shots. Wardlaw started hot too, making birdie two of his first five holes. Unfortunately, he gave those two back right away on holes six and seven, but bounced back with a birdie at the difficult par-4 eighth. He had three birdies on his back nine also, but closed with a disappointing bogey on the par-5 18th.

His two shot lead is over Ben Delarosa, who shot an even-par 72. Delarosa had a bogey-free opening nine, including two birdies, but struggled down the stretch with two bogeys in his last six holes.

Driftwood’s Grant Yerger sits alone in third place, just three shots back of Wardlaw. Nathan Pheng sits in fourth after a 2-over 74. Mason McClure and Marcus Williams are tied for fifth place.

In the Girls 12-18 division, Frisco’s Bentancourt and Magnolia’s Whitney were in the last few groups to finish, but that didn’t stop them. Bentancourt started slow with a bogey on the opening hole, but followed it up with two birdies in three holes on her opening nine. She played her closing nine bogey-free and added in a birdie on the par-3 15th.

Whitney, on the other hand, played her opening nine bogey-free and had a birdie on the picturesque par-3 ninth. She had two birdies and two bogeys, including the par-5 18th, on her closing nine, but still sits in a tie for the lead.

McKinney’s Amari Smith sits in a third place after a 1-over 73. Dallas’ Courtney Kang, Allen’s Taylor Mieras, and Houston’s Zoe Slaughter sit in a three-way tie for fourth place heading into Tuesday.

The final round of the Lanny Wadkins Junior Championship is scheduled to begin at 7:30 AM off the first tee Tuesday morning.

For first round results, click here.