Girls kick off 51st Annual Bud Burns Dixie Junior Invitational

Published 8:52 pm Monday, June 18, 2012

Rachel May tees off at the 18th hole during day one of the 51st Annual Bud Burns Dixie Junior Invitational on Monday at the Selma Country Club. May is one of 19 girls participating in this year’s event that began play on Monday. The boys will begin play on Tuesday, with 98 players scheduled to play. -- Robert Hudson

Youth from around the South gathered in Selma for the start of the country club’s annual event.

The 51st Annual Bud Burns Dixie Junior Invitational is underway, as the girls began play on Monday and the boys are set to begin Tuesday.

Tommy Burns, PGA golf professional with the Selma Country Club, said the invitational has seen growth with the addition of online registration.

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“We’ve got 117 kids, and this year is the first year we took the golf tournament registration on the internet,” Burns said. “It’s helped us grow because we had 105 (participants) last year. Last year we had 11 girls, this year we have 19, which is good. We’ve got 98 boys.”

The girls will resume play Tuesday starting at 8 a.m., while the boys will begin play Tuesday starting at 9 a.m. and will continue on Wednesday.

“The girls overall winner will be determined by a 36-hole total Monday and Tuesday,” Burns said, “and the boys overall winner will be determined by a 54-hole low score in the 15, 16, 17-year-old age group. If they’re in those two age groups — the 15, 16 or 17 and 18 — and they make any division, they’ve got to play 36 holes Wednesday. And they cannot ride, they have to walk, so this is a little bit of a physical test as well as a skill test.”

Burns added participants range from ages 10 and under up to age 18, and the tournament’s history includes seven winners who’ve gone on to participate in the PGA Tour.

“Past winners include Bubba Watson — Bubba Watson won the Master’s this year, and he won our tournament twice — Stewart Cink —these are both active players on the PGA Tour right now — he won it twice,” Burns said. “Other past tour winners who won include Mike Smith, Mac McLendon, and Steve Lowery.”

Leaders for the girls after day one include Mychael O’Berry of Hoover in the 10-11-12 age group, who shot 15-over-par 72.

Leaders in the 13-14-15 age group include Ashton Maddaloni of Eclectic with 11-over-par 72, Sarah Grace Drop of Phenix City with 12-over, and Madison Sanders of Clanton with 12-over after the first day.

Leaders in the 16-17-18 age group include Heather Gillenwaters of Madison with 7-over-par 72, Tori Smith of Killen with 12-over, Kelsey Spivey of Murfreesboro, Tenn. with 17-over, and Jillian Stewart of Selma with 20-over.