Big 'I': Smotherman breaks course record
Austin Smotherman
Austin Smotherman

AUSTIN, Texas (Aug. 9, 2012) -- Austin Smotherman (2012) of Loomis, Calif., surged to a 6-stroke lead in the Boys Division with a course-record 7-under-par round of 64 Thursday during the third round of the 44th annual Trusted Choice® Big “I” National Championship. Summar Roachell (2013) of Conway, Ark., hung on to a 2-stroke lead in the Girls Division at the University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, Texas.

Smotherman beat the course record by one stroke for a round played at 7,031 yards, previously set in 2009. He carded eight birdies on Thursday, and his lone bogey came on No. 11, a result of his only three-putt in the tournament thus far. He entered the round at 1-under for the tournament and currently sits at 8-under-par 71-70-64—205.

“I birdied my first hole, and it’s always easier when you make your birdie early,” he said. “I played my strategy and hit 3-wood when I needed to keep it in the fairway. I accepted my two putts when I needed to. I wouldn’t say I played cautious, but more so smart.”

Smotherman will begin his collegiate career at SMU in Dallas this fall.

Stratton Nolen (2013) of Austin, Texas hung on after a rough front nine to stay in second place at 2-under-par 69-68-74—211. Brendon Doyle (2014) of Louisville, Ken., shot even par to stand alone in third place at 1-under. Skye Inakoshi (2013) of Honolulu sits in fourth place at 1-over-par, and Walker Huddy (2012) of Studio City, Calif., is in fifth place at 2-over-par.

In the Girls Division, Roachell continued her steady play after shooting 1-under-par in the first round and 2-under in the second. She was 2-under again Thursday and sits at 5-under-par 71-70-70—211.

“I started off really slow, then made an eagle and a birdie back-to-back,” she said. “That really helped me calm down and know that I could make birdies out there.”

Roachell has committed to play at the University of Arkansas in the fall of 2013.

Anne Freman (2013) of Las Vegas closed the gap by one stroke with a 3-under-par 69. She remains in second place at 3-under-par 72-72-69—213. Taylor Coleman (2015) of San Antonio, Texas is in third place at 1-over, and three players are tied for fourth place at 3-over-par for the tournament.

The long-drive final also took place Thursday with Matt Lee of Scottsdale, Ariz., winning the Boys Division with a 317 yard blast, all but two yards on the fly. Hometown player Julia Beck of Austin, Texas took home the Girls Division trophy with a 250-yard shot.

The boys are playing with a par of 71 at 7,031 yards and a course rating of 75.0. The girls are playing at 6,098 yards with a par of 72 and a course rating of 76.3.

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ABOUT THE Big I National Championship

72-Hole Championship with a cut after 36 holes. Low 54 boys and 27 girls and all ties will make the cut.

Some 4,000 boys and girls attempt to qualify every year to participate in the 167 player field. The Trusted Choice Big "I" has qualifying opportunities in more than 44 states. If not exempt, you must attempt to qualify through your state of residence.

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