Barbachano, Romas and Zhang grab early leads at Dixie Amateur

Manuel Barbachano, Chelsea Romas and Michelle Zhang hold first-round leads at the Dixie Amateur, which teed off today in South Florida.

Barbachano shot a 2-under 70 at Eagle Trace Golf Club in Coral Springs while Romas and Zhang fired 3-under rounds of 68 at the Palm Aire Country Club in Pompano Beach to open slim first-round leads over a strong and deep international field from 14 countries and over 30 golf federations from around the world.

Strong finish lands Barbachano first round lead

Nothing much was going right for Barbachano through his first six holes this morning at Eagle Trace. The native of Merida, Mexico made bogeys on holes 4, 5 and 6 to slip to 3-over and reach an early inflection point on his round. After a birdie on the par-5 eighth hole settled his nerves, Barbachano was off to the races, adding birdies on five on his first seven holes after the turn to move to 3-under on the day. A bogey on the final hole led to an inward nine of 32 and a round of 70.

Four players — Christian CastilloEdward RichardsonTaka Shimoji and Brad Knight are just one off the lead at 1-under while four others are at even par.

Ramos and Zhang tied atop the women’s leaderboard at Palm Aire

While things were fairly quiet at Eagle Trace, there was plenty of volatility among the leaders in the women’s division 25 minutes away in Pompano Beach.

Chelsea Romas and Yunxuan (Michelle) Zhang share the first-round lead of the women’s Dixie Amateur after both players carded rounds of 68 on Thursday.

Romas, a freshman at Texas Tech and Zhang, currently ranked 21st by the American Junior Golf Association, caught fire late in their rounds to open a one-shot lead over Reagan Ziblinski and Latanna Stone, who carded opening rounds of 69.

Romas found herself 4-over par after the first five holes but following pars on holes 6 and 7, made seven birdies over her final 11 holes for an inward nine of 30 and a round of 68.

Zhang’s birdie on the ninth moved her into red numbers for the day and ignited a six-hole stretch which saw the SMU commit make four birdies to get to 4-under. She gave a shot back with a bogey on the 15th and signed for a 68.

Camille Boyd, a freshman at Washington, was cruising along at 3-under through 10 but played the last eight holes at 7-over, which included a 7 on the par-3 16th, to finish with a 2-over round of 73.

Layla Pedrique was the only player to enjoy a bogey-free round at Palm Aire, as the 15-year-old from West Palm Beach, Fla. made one birdie and 17 pars on the day and is two off the pace heading into Friday’s second round.