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Gabe Spach has Early Lead in Stroke Play Qualifying for PNGA Junior Boys’; Ellie Slama Leads PNGA Junior Girls’

Today was the first round of stroke-play qualifying for the 62nd Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur and 61st Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur, and Gabe Spach and Ellie Slama are leading the respective competitions.

Ellie Slama leads the PNGA Girls' Junior Amateur after the first round at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.
Ellie Slama leads the PNGA Girls’ Junior Amateur after the first round at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.

Both championships are being held concurrently at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.

Click here for Junior Boys’ live scoring.

Click here for Junior Girls’ live scoring.

Watch the action live from the webcam of the 14th green at The Home Course.

Spach of Seattle shot the round of the day, a 3-under par 69 that included six birdies. Spach was even par after the front nine, but went 3-under par on the back, with birdies on both par-5s and the par-4 17th.

Spach will be a senior in the fall at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, where he plays on the boys’ golf team and won a couple high school tournaments last fall. Earlier this summer Spach qualified for the AJGA’s Ryan Moore Junior Championship, and competes on the Northwest Jr. Golf Tour.

Finishing one shot back of Spach is Avery Keating, who shot a 2-under par 70. Keating will be a senior at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Ore., where he plays on the golf team and was named to First Team All-League honors in the Three Rivers League.

Four players are tied at 1-under par 71, including Joe Highsmith, who earlier qualified for the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur, won the AJGA Ryan Moore Junior Championship, and last week finished third in the Washington State Men’s Amateur, just one shot out of the playoff after holding the second round lead.

Also shooting a 71 is Carl Underwood, a senior at Richland (Wash.) High School who won the 4A high school state championship in May, and was a member of Team Washington that won the Junior America’s Cup in July in Mexico.

Others tied at 71 are Connor Golembeski of Redmond, Wash. and Riley Killip of Olympia, Wash.

Slama, of Salem, Ore., shot a 3-under par 69, a round which included five birdies, as well as an eagle 3 on the par-5 fifth hole. Slama was named the 2015 PNGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year.

Two shots behind Slama is Brittany Kwon of Bremerton, Wash. who won this championship in 2014 as a 13-year-old, and last week won the WJGA State Championship and two other WJGA titles, as well as the 3A high school championship.

Both championships consist of 36 holes of stroke play qualifying, to be held August 15 and 16, to determine seeding for the match play portion of the championships. All matches will then be contested over 18 holes in a single-elimination format, with the exception of the Junior Boys’ final match on Friday, August 19, which will be played over 36 holes.

To stay connected on social media, follow @PNGALIVE on Twitter for live updates, and much more, and use the hashtags #PNGAJrBoysAm and #PNGAJrGirlsAm.

Both championships are considered as counting events for the World Amateur Golf Ranking. The Home Course is not playing easy, being stretched out to 7,000 yards long for the boys and 5,863 for the girls, but they’re handling it just fine.

To be eligible for the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ and Girls’ Amateurs, contestants must not have reached their 18th birthday by the final day of the competition.

These championships are two of 15 regional championships conducted annually by the PNGA.

Opened in 2007, The Home Course is cooperatively owned and operated by the PNGA and Washington State Golf Association, and has been the site of numerous local, regional and national championships, including being the companion course to Chambers Bay for the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the venue for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. It will also be the companion course to Chambers Bay for the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball.