By: Gary Baines
So far, Colorado's top junior golfers apparently are really enjoying the home cooking this week.
With two rounds complete and just one left at the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior by Transamerica -- arguably the top junior tournament that will be held in Colorado in 2017 -- in-state players stand first and second on both the boys and girls leaderboards at Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster.
On the boys side, two NCAA Division I-bound Coloradans -- Griffin Barela (pictured) of Lakewood (University of Wisconsin) and Trevor Olkowski of Grand Junction (University of Colorado) are in the top two spots. Barela leads by one at 7-under-par 137 after a second-round 70 on Wednesday, while Olkowski fired a tournament-best 65 to vault into second place at 138, good for a tie with William Paysse of Temple, Texas.
Olkowski, runner-up in this event last year at Highlands Ranch Golf Club, has played his last 22 holes in a remarkable 11 under par and has gone bogey-free for his last 24 holes.
Two other Coloradans, 3A state high school champion Oliver Jack of Denver and Glen-Michael Mihavetz of Montrose, are also in the top five, sharing fourth place at 141.
In the 24-player girls tournament, the only golfers at or better than part are two 15-year-old Coloradans: Charlotte Hillary of Cherry Hills Village and girls 3A state high school champion Hailey Schalk of Erie.
Hillary (left), girls winner of the JGAC Tour Championship last fall (Olkowski won the boys title in that event), has shot her first two sub-par tournaments rounds of the year (69-70) to open a four-stroke lead going into Thursday's final round. The Kent Denver student has racked up eight birdies so far.
Schalk, who like Hillary just completed her freshman season of high school (in Schalk's case at Holy Family), bogeyed two of her last four holes on Wednesday to post a 73, good for a 143 total.
Behind the two Coloradans, sharing third place at 145 are Jacqueline Ha of San Ramon, Calif., and Canadian Savannah Grewal.
The leading girls will tee off for Thursday's final round at 11:20 a.m., with the boys going at 12:10 p.m. PAIRINGS
For scores from the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior by Transamerica, CLICK HERE.
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