DALLAS – Eduardo Carrete from Queretaro, Mexico, on Tuesday holed-out for eagle from 48 yards on his final hole to get to 6-under-par 65, good for a two-shot lead after the first round of the 16th Byron Nelson Junior Championship.
Carrete leads Brandon Smith from Frisco, Ryan Grider from Lewisville and Hayden Springer from Trophy Club. The three Legends Junior Tour veterans share a piece of second place at 4-under 67 at scenic Lakewood Country Club near downtown Dallas.
“I tried to see the shot, and I felt I hit it pretty good,” Carrete said of his pitch shot from 20 feet below the ninth green, which played as his 18th in the first round. “I never thought I would make it.”
The well-executed shot landed softly on the bentgrass green, took two hops to the left and dropped in the cup. It vaulted Carrete to the lead of the 78-player, 54-hole championship, which is ranked by Golfweek, Junior Golf Scoreboard and the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Carrete played a flawless round of golf – no bogeys – with four birdies on his first nine holes.
“I missed in all the right spots today,” said Carrete, who in March played his way into the Byron Nelson Junior with a second place finish in the Mexico Junior Golf Association’s Puebla Junior Classic. “And I putted very well.”
Smith, the LJT’s 2013 Boys Player of the Year, rolled in six birdies to offset a pair of bogeys for his 67. He said his plan was to focus on hitting fairways and greens and despite an iffy start he accomplished his goal for the most part.
“I missed the first fairway and the first green,” Smith said. “But I stayed patient and let the birdies come to me.”
Smith played alongside Grider, who led the championship for much of the first round after he blitzed the opening nine holes with a 5-under 31 that included four birdies, an eagle and a bogey. Grider evened out on the back nine with eight consecutive pars before finishing with a bogey.
“I didn’t hit as many fairways as I’d like, but I played pretty well,” said Grider, the reigning LJT Boys Player of the Year. “I held on and made a good number of 3- to 5-footers coming in.”
Rounding out the day’s marquee group with Smith and Grider was Cole Hammer, fresh off his U.S. Open appearance. Hammer finished with a birdie to post 3-over 74. He’s tied for 19th place.
Jackson Markham from Westlake, Pierceson Coody from Plano and Sean Meehan from San Antonio round out the top five after one round. They’re tied for fifth place at 2-under 69.
Markham scored one of the day’s top highlights when he made a hole-in-one on the seventh hole. From 204 yards, Markham flushed a 5-iron to land the ace. Turner Hosch from Dallas recorded the first round’s other under-par round. Hosch holds eighth place alone at 1-under 70.
Tuesday’s scoring average at the 6,726-yard, par-71 parkland course was 76.3, or just more than 5-over par. There were seven eagles and 157 birdies. The 419-yard, par-4 15th played as the most difficult hole at 4.72, nearly a shot over par. The 491-yard, par-5 17th was the easiest with an average score of 4.85.
The second round begins at Lakewood Country Club on Wednesday at 8 a.m. Once play concludes, the field will be cut to the low 30 scores and ties for Thursday’s final round.
View results for HP Byron Nelson Junior Championship