In the storied, 53-year history of the Texas Junior Amateur Girls
Division, only one golfer has ever won the event three times. So far, anyway. Nancy
Hager of Dallas won the state’s top junior amateur championship in 1967, 1968
Now another bright, young star from Big D is trying to match Hager’s
feat. In what will be her final Legends Junior Tour event, Hailey Jones in July
will look to win the Texas Junior Amateur for the third time before she heads
off to play collegiately at Oklahoma State.
The Texas Junior Amateur is the biggest championship in the state of
Texas and each year has traditionally produced some of the strongest fields. That
alone makes Hager’s record and Jones’s attempt to match it most impressive.
The tournament is split into four divisions: Boys Division, Girls
Division, Boys 14 & Under and Girls 14 & Under. The format for the Boys
and Girls Divisions is 54 holes of stroke play; the 14 & Under Divisions
are contested over 36 holes of stroke play.
In 2015, Jones birdied the final two holes of the championship to tie
Kingwood’s Hanna Alberto at 6-under-par 210 at the end of regulation play.
Jones parred the second hole in the sudden death playoff to capture her first
Texas Junior Amateur Girls Division title.
“It was super cool to win the Texas Junior Amateur,” said Jones, who
has amassed 13 career LJT victories. “All the winners from previous years went
on to great careers in college, and I was honored to have my name join them on
Jones entered the 2016 Texas Junior Amateur with much fanfare, as
opposed to sneaking in under the radar the year before. She was the defending
champion, the reigning LJT Girls 12-18 Player of the Year and was on top of her
game headed into the event. The
tournament moved to the Panther Trail Course in The Woodlands in 2016, and Jones
wasted no time jumping to the top of the leaderboard. She opened with a round
of 5-under 67 and backed it up with 68 in the second round to hold a six-stroke
lead heading into the last day. In the first two days she totaled 11 birdies
and one double-bogey.
“My mindset was to just keep going lower and don’t try and protect the
lead,” said Jones, “I have a tendency to try and protect my lead, but I wanted
to stay aggressive and keep making birdies.”
She carded a 1-over 73 in the final round to finish at 8-under 208 for
the championship. It was plenty good enough to win her second Texas Junior
Amateur title in as many years. She became the fifth player in the tournament’s
history to win the Girls Division in consecutive years.
In 2017, the tournament returned to Horseshoe Bay Resort, and the Girls
Division was again held on the Slick Rock Course. Jones played well that year,
posting three rounds in the 60s, including a 5-under 67 in the final round. She
ultimately fell short of a “threepeat” by one stroke to Austin’s Sadie
Jones didn’t play in the 2018 Texas Junior, but she returns this year and
is looking for a win to cap off her sensational junior golf career. During her
remarkable stretch playing on the Legends Junior Tour, Jones has a record 13
victories, including four Major victories with the two Texas Junior Amateur
titles and wins at the 2016 and 2019 Texas Girls’ Invitational. She has
competed in five Jackie Burke Cups and her North Squad is 5-0 in those matches.
Jones also is a three-time LJT Girls 12-18 Division Player of the Year.
Her favorite course she played with the Legends Junior Tour was the
2015 Jackie Burke Cup Matches hosted by Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas.
“I don’t think that I realized how special of a place that was and how
lucky we were as players to get to play Brook Hollow back then,” said Jones. “I’m
so grateful for my experiences with the Legends Junior Tour. I’ve played in
great tournaments and made so many friends and memories along the way.”
Jones would like to add one more LJT memory before heading off to
Stillwater: to join Hager as the only three-time winners of the Texas Junior
Amateur Girls Division.
Jones will get her chance to make history when this year’s Texas Junior
Amateur heads to The Clubs of Kingwood from July 22-24. The Boys Division will compete on the Forest
Course, while the Girls Division will be played on the Island Course. The Boys
and Girls 14 & Under Divisions will also be played on the Island Course
from July 22-23.
For more information about the 2019 Texas Junior Amateur, click here.