DALLAS- Shuai Ming Wong, 16, of Houston and Scott Roden, 14, of Dallas are tied atop the leaderboard at the Byron Nelson Junior Championship after both shot 4-under-par 67 in the first round.

The tournament is being held at the spectacular Lakewood Country Club, a place with which Roden is quite familiar. He and his family are members.

“I was really comfortable on the course and knew the lines to hit,” Roden said. “I just feel comfortable hitting the shots I needed to hit on the holes I needed to hit them.”

Roden’s knowledge of the course gave him a nice edge over the field, as he recorded four birdies with no bogeys on the day.
“I hit a bunch of fairways and a bunch of greens and didn’t make many mistakes and rolled a few in,” Roden said.

Soon after Roden turned in his score, Wong followed with his 67. Wong’s round was less consistent than Roden’s, although it all added up to the same number at the end of the day.

“I bogeyed hole two which was my 11th hole and I felt like I was rushing,” Wong said. “Then I tried to get some momentum coming back and then we had the rain delay.”

An unexpected thunderstorm suspended play at 12:20 p.m. and left some players with half of their round left to play. The storm lingered over the course for almost three hours but play finally resumed at 3 p.m. That kind of lengthy delay can take its toll on a player’s focus, but Wong did his best to stay in the zone. 

“I prepared everything for this golf course and this tournament but I just didn’t expect rain,” Wong said. “I tried my best to stay in form and keep my energy level up and when I came out I struggled with my ball striking. I just told myself to finish strong.”

Wong certainly did. He birdied holes 17 and 18 to tie Roden for the lead.

“I was so lucky to make birdie on 17 and 18,” Wong said. “I was just happy that they dropped.”

Wong credits this kind of confidence to his 13th place finish earlier this month at the 107th Texas Amateur presented by Insperity. He said that Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, the club where the amateur was held, was similar to Lakewood and that he planned to attack this course the same way that he did during the amateur.

However, Wong said that his main goal is just to enjoy the game, a sentiment that every golfer should remember. 

“That’s the ultimate goal in this game that you just play your best golf and try not to let the leaderboard or the score distract you,” Wong said. “Just play with passion and play with love for the game.”

Tied at third place, one shot behind Wong and Roden, are Kyle Robinson from Fayetteville, Ark., and Sixian Guo from Coppell. Robinson and Guo each shot 3-under 68. Four players are tied for fifth place at 2-under 69.

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