ABILENE, Texas - Travis Benson of Granbury, Texas, shot a 3-under-par 66 to win by two strokes at the Aaron's / Bob Estes Abilene Junior with a tournament total 11-under-par 196. In the Girls Division, Vanessa Ha of Allen, Texas, shot a 3-over-par 72 and completed her wire-to-wire victory with a tournament total of 1-over-par 208 at Abilene Country Club's Club Course.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Aaron's / Bob Estes Abilene Junior was a 54-hole stroke play competition played on the par-69 Club Course at Abilene Country Club. The event featured 95 boys and 36 girls, ages 12-18, from 12 states, and three countries. The Boys Division played the course at 6,050 yards, while the Girls Division played the course at 5,405 yards.
Benson began the final round one stroke out of the lead, but battled back with birdies on four of the first seven holes to grab the lead for the first time. Benson then added back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 on his way to claiming his first AJGA victory.
"I knew I had a pretty good lead on the front nine and then got a little nervous and bogeyed Nos. 8 and 10, which slowed me down, and then after I birdied Nos. 12 and 13, it got me going again," said Benson, who will be a new addition to the New Mexico State Aggies golf team in August. "I have been in positions in high school like this with state and regionals but nothing like this so it was crazy out there. It will give me a lot of confidence heading to college in the fall."
The runner-up was Tyson Reeder of Edmond, Okla., who finished with a tournament total of 9-under-par 198. Griffin Pierce of Edmond Okla., and Klein Klotz of Austin, Texas, shared third place with a tournament total of 8-under-par 199. Santiago Lopez of Boca Del Rio, Mexico, finished in fifth place with a tournament total of 7-under-par 200.
In the Girls Division, Ha had a few shaky holes but was able to refocus to convert three crucial birdies on the front nine, her back nine, to take home her second AJGA title in as many starts.
"On No. 4, it was 155 yards and I hit it to about 10 feet and made birdie, and then made two more birdies, which really started my momentum and I regained my confidence."
Mia Ayer of Waco, Texas, finished in second place with a tournament total of 3-over-par 210. Kesaree Rojanapeansatith of Nonthaburi, Thailand, and Sarah Moore of Burkburnett, Texas, shared third place with a tournament total of 5-over-par 212.
Information for this story provided by AJGA.