• November 24, 2020

GOLF: Rodriguez stays steady to take lead at S.A. Smith Junior Invitational - Odessa American: Sports

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GOLF: Rodriguez stays steady to take lead at S.A. Smith Junior Invitational

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Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 6:22 pm

Odessa’s Rylie Rodriguez said that her main goal for the day was to just stay focused in the present.

That mentality paid off as she opened with a 1-over-par 73 in the S.A. Smith West Texas Junior Invitational on the Old Course at the Odessa Country Club.

Rodriguez will carry a two-stroke lead over Odessa’s Jules Crow, with Midland’s Sarah Reed (76) sitting third in the Girls Medalist Division into today’s final round.

The girls move to Green Tree Country Club in Midland to crown a champion.

“My mental game was really strong today,” Rodriguez said. “I just had a lot of confidence out there on all my shots and just trusted myself.”

Rodriguez finished with two birdies and three bogeys on the day and added that she wasn’t too focused on what the others in the groups ahead were doing.

She said that she didn’t realize she was at the top of the leaderboard when she walked off the 18th green.

“It felt good and I honestly wasn’t even aware of my score,” she said. “I was just playing each shot and everything just felt good today.”

It was a bit of a more turbulent day on the course for Crow, who started off two under through the first eight holes and was out in front for the early portion of the round.

The back nine proved to be a different story as Crow said that she struggled to find some consistency off the tee. Those struggles led in part to a 4-over-par stretch that included a double bogey on the Par 5 13th.

Crow was able to end the round on a good note with a birdie on the 18th and said that it gives her a good confidence boost heading into Thursday.

“The driver kind of hurt me on 13 and then my mind just got off track,” Crow said. “I couldn’t get it back until the last hole.

“I was able to birdie that and hopefully I can get off to a good start tomorrow.”

As for Rodriguez, her goal remains the same as it was Wednesday as the tournament shifts venues to Midland for the final round. The Prep Division for both boys and girls (Ages 7-12) will also play the final round at Green Tree.

“I just have to focus on what’s in front of me, not get ahead of myself and just commit and trust on every shot,” Rodriguez said.

Midland’s Davis Seybert set the pace early in the Boys Medalist Division Wednesday at Green Tree Country Club, carding six birdies and one eagle to shoot a 4-under 67 and open up a three-shot lead after 18 holes.

Three golfers are tied for the second (1-under par): Alexander Leuschner of Big Spring, and Midland’s Jackson Comer and Paul Gomez. The boys will play their final round at The Old Course at Odessa Country Club.

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