THE WOODLANDS- Hailey Jones of Dallas fired a 5-under 67 during first round play at the 2016 Texas State Junior Championship presented by Merrill Lynch in the Girls 15-18 division.

This year’s tournament is being played at the prestigious Panther Trail course at The Woodlands Resort. The Girls 15-18 division teed off first and was immediately followed by the Girls and Boys 14 & Under divisions. The Boys 15-18 division will begin play Wednesday, July 27, at the Tournament Course.

Jones secured the 18-hole lead after firing five birdies with no bogeys. She said that the key to her solid round was her spot on iron play.

“Honestly I just hit my irons really well and had about 20 feet in just about every time and I just made some putts,” Jones said.

Jones is no stranger to this kind of success at the Texas State Junior Championship. She won it last year in a playoff at Horseshoe Bay Resort. She said that the win there gave her a nice boost in her confidence as well as some extra fire for her rounds this year.

“They are different courses but they’re about the same yardage as last year so I knew that if I hit my irons very well then I have a good chance at making birdies,” Jones said.

Right behind Jones is Kennedy Pedigo of Fort Worth. She shot 4-under 68 with five birdies and one bogey for her round. Pedigo played in the same group as Jones which is fitting since they are the only two girls who remained under par after completion of first round play in the Girls 15-18 division. A handful of players are tied for third at even par.  

Most of the girls in the 15-18 division were able to finish before the first bout of storms forced play to be suspended at 2:10 p.m. However, all of the Girls and Boys 14 and under divisions had to pause their play while the small storm passed. Play began again at 3:40 p.m.

The Girls 14 & Under division were then able to complete their first rounds. Gabriella Tomanka of Grapevine shot a 2-under 70 to lead the division by one stroke. Behind her is Zoe Slaughter of Houston who shot a 1-under 71.

The Boys 14-and-under division was unable to complete their rounds as surrounding storms once again forced play to be suspended at 6:25 p.m. Unfortunately, this time play was suspended for the day.

Those players yet to finish their rounds will have a shotgun start at 8 a.m. from their locations prior to the suspension. Tee times will be pushed back 30 minutes to accommodate those that have yet to finish their first round.

For more information about the Girls 15-18 division, click here.

For more information about the Girls 14 and under division, click here.

For more information about the Boys 14 and under division, click here.