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Zach Heffernan and Mimi Burton Lead Texas Junior Amateur

HORSESHOE BAY – Zach Heffernan of Boerne fires an opening round 5-under-par 66 at Horseshoe Bay Resort’s Ram Rock Golf Course. The defending champion posted the only bogey-free round of the day and leads the field by one stroke. Austin’s Mimi Burton leads the Girls Division following a 2-under-par 70. The 15-year-old holds a two-stroke lead heading into Tuesday’s second round at Apple Rock.

Heffernan, a 2021 Baylor University commit, entered this week trying to become the first back-to-back Texas Junior Amateur champion since Hunter Haas in 1994-95. Following a steady first round, he finds himself atop the leaderboard. Heffernan, who won last year at The Clubs of Kingwood’s Forrest Course, carded a birdied on the par-4 first hole to set the tone early in Round 1. After an eagle on the par-5 seventh, he turned in 3-under 33. He didn’t make any mistakes on the back nine either. The 2019 Texas Junior Amateur champion carded two more birdies and coasted to a solid 5-under 66.

“I was just trying to do the same thing as last year,” Heffernan said. “I knew this golf course was pretty difficult, so as long as I keep it in the fairway. The greens are pretty slow, but pretty pure, so I knew I could get a bunch of putts to fall.”

Heffernan leads a crowded leaderboard with seven players within four shots of the lead. Hanseung Chang of Cedar Park fired a 4-under-par 67 and is solo second. Drew Wagner of Austin sits in third at 2-under, while the 2019 Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Champion Gaven Lane of Argyle, Evan Vo of Austin, Christian Clark of Dallas as well as Matthew and Andrew Spaulding of Spring are tied fourth after rounds of 1-under-par 70.

In the Girls Division, Burton started her opening round slow. The sophomore at Vandegrift High School made consecutive bogeys on the par-5 fourth and par-4 fifth. She was 2-over through her first five holes. However, she stayed committed to her game plan and played her closing 13 holes in 4-under par.

“It was kind of a shaky start,” Burton said. “I only hit one green in the first six holes. But I just putted really well and chipped really well, so I got in the hole.”

Burton played in the 2018 Texas Junior Amateur in the Girls 14 & Under Division. After missing last year’s championship due to injury, she came into this year’s tournament with a few personal goals.

“I know there are a lot of really good girls in the field this week,” Burton said. “So I want to finish well and hopefully at the top. I am excited to see the rest of the week and how it goes.”

Avery Zweig of McKinney carded an even-par 72 and trails Burton by two strokes. Alexandria Habimana of Frisco is solo third after a 1-over-par 73. Nitisha Manikandesh of Plano, Lauren Nguyen of Katy, Farah O’Keefe of Austin and Tillie Claggett of The Woodlands are tied fourth following rounds of 2-over-par 74.

Corbin Null of Woodway carded a 2-under-par 70 and leads the Boys 14 & Under Division by two strokes. Charlie Wylie of Houston, Trenton Mierl of Austin, Reese Roberts of Dallas and Mitchell Maier of Richmond are tied second at even par.

In the Girls 14 & Under Division, Addison Ko of Plano and Sidney Robertson of Chandler carded rounds of 2-over-par 74 at Apple Rock. Ko and Robertson lead the field by three strokes. Alyssa Kurji is solo third after a 5-over-par 77.

Players, spectators and volunteers were required to follow specific health and safety guidelines throughout the day. The LJT provided hand sanitizer at water coolers, starting tees and scoring areas. Players were not allowed to touch the flagsticks and bunker rakes were removed from the golf course.  The driving range and practice putting green were monitored and limited to a specific number of players. Players and spectators were asked to practice social distancing throughout the golf course and practice facilities.

Horseshoe Bay Resort is hosting the Texas Junior Amateur for the ninth time in the last 11 years. On Tuesday, the LJT will crown the Boys 14 & Under and Girls 14 & Under champions, as well as cut to the Boys Division field to low-45 and ties and the Girls Division field to low-30 and ties. The Boys and Girls Division’s final round will be played on Wednesday.

For more information on the Texas Junior Amateur, click here. For the full leaderboard, click here.