Julie Houston Leads Women’s Stroke Play

KINGWOOD – Julie Houston of Allen leads the Women’s Stroke Play after firing a 4-under-par 69 on Thursday at The Clubs of Kingwood – Island Course. Soft conditions complimented Houston’s ball-striking as she attacked flagsticks throughout Round 1.
Houston’s lone bogey of the day came on the par-4 second hole. Despite falling to 1-over-par through two holes, she stuck to an aggressive game plan. Houston birdied the par-5 sixth and the par-4 seventh to make the turn at 1-under. She followed suit on the back nine, on which three more birdies defined a bogey-free closing loop.
“I was I able to attack pins and after a few holes used that to fuel my fire,” said Houston, who was runner-up in last summer’s 95th WTGA State Amateur. “I just tried to stay steady.” 
The UT-San Antonio junior said she plans to carry the same mentality into Round 2.
“I plan on being aggressive and staying even keel throughout my round,” Houston said.
Rylee Pedigo of Fort Worth and Kingwood’s Hanna Alberto both carded rounds of 3-under-par 70 to share second place after one round of the 54-hole championship.
Pedigo referred to the Island Course as a “beast.” However, the daunting course defined by narrow fairways and small landing areas did not faze the Oklahoma senior. She closed with a birdie on the difficult par-5 18th hole and sits one shot back of the lead. 
Alberto, a 2016 graduate of Kingwood High School, utilized her local knowledge en route to a 3-under-par 34 on the back nine. She birdied holes 10 and 11 and eagled the par-5 15th. A bogey on the par-4 16th coming home leaves her T2 with Pedigo.
Megan Thothong, 2016 Women’s Stroke Play champion, Madison Kidd of Lake Jackson and Christine Wang of Houston all finished at 2-under-par and tied for fourth place.  
The Island Course was built by Joe Finger in 1974. The women played the track that winds through heavy timber and features quick, Bermuda grass greens from 5,947 yards.
Kingwood expected three inches of rain today due to tropical storm Cindy. However, as of Thursday morning only 0.6 inches of precipitation was recorded. Light showers greeted the morning, but play continued and finished in dry, partly cloudy conditions.
The 2017 Women’s Stroke Play Championship features a 71-player field, which will be divided into three flights following Round 2 tomorrow.

The second round begins Friday at 8 a.m. For more information on the Women’s Stroke Play click here