The 2016 U.S. Kids Golf Teen World Championship showcases over 600 players from more than 40 nations – including countries as diverse as Indonesia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. Now in its 11th year, the Teen World Championship serves as an aspirational goal for teenage golfers across the world.
Three United States players and three International players currently occupy the top spots on the leaderboard after the first round of the Teen World Championship.
One participant in each boys age group emerged with a one-stroke lead or better, while a handful of challengers have positioned themselves nicely for the upcoming rounds.
After finishing 7th in the Boys 12 age group in the 2015 World Championship, Jose Cristobal Islas (Boys 13) now possesses a two-stroke advantage in his first year of the Teen World Championship. Islas traveled from Mexico for the eighth-consecutive year and already has two top 5 finishes to his name. He now has his sights set on the first place trophy after posting a 2-under, 70 in round one.
Clay Stirsman (Boys 14) leads the pack at Pinehurst No. 9 after posting a 3-under, 69 in round one. Stirsman, who resides in the small town of Carmel, Indiana, has traveled to Pinehurst since 2011. His first round score was the lowest in his World Championship career. He leads the age group by one stroke over Georgian Brock Hoover.
Behind the strength of five birdies and only one bogey, Garrett Defisser (Boys 15-18) carded the lowest round of the young tournament with a 4-under, 68. Defisser’s strong effort in the first round gave him a one shot lead over Pinehurst native, AJ Beechler. Defisser began playing on the U.S. Kids Golf Phoenix Local Tour when he was only five-years-old, and quickly rose through the rankings. This year marks Garrett’s 10th trip to Pinehurst since the age of five, and he will look to capitalize on an impressive first round score.
Comparable to the boys, one girl in each age group beat out the rest of the field to gain sole possession of the top spot on the leaderboard.
The four-stroke lead held by Juliana Camargo (Girls 13) is the largest among all six age groups. The Colombian native posted a 75 in her first round at Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club. Camargo, played in the previous four World Championships, and took home the first place trophy at the 2015 Holiday Classic.
Chloe Schiavone (Girls 14) has a two-stroke lead in her age group after shooting even par in round one. Schiavone’s impressive 72 is her lowest round by nine strokes in her three-year World Championship career. She has six Jacksonville Local Tour victories to her name, and will look to add an even bigger piece of hardware to her trophy case this week at Mid Pines.
Sixteen-year-old Ling-Jie Chen (Girls 15-18) traveled all the way from Taiwan for the third consecutive year to claim the top spot after round one in the 2016 Teen World Championship. After posting an even par 72 at Pinehurst No. 6, Chen has a three-stroke lead heading into day two.
The Teen Van Horn Cup will be played Sunday, July 31 on Pinehurst No. 2.