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Round 1 of the 2021 Patriot All-America

LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. - 126 participants, from PING All-Americans to award winners and veterans alike, began play at the 2021 Patriot All-America on Wednesday at the Wigwam Golf Club. 

In the 11-year history of this illustrious tournament, 2021 marks the first time women are participating. The Women's Division consists of 41 women in all, and after Round 1, the leaders are at -4. Oklahoma State's Caley McGinty and Kaleiya Romero of Pepperdine carded a 66 to share the early lead.

“I felt like I putted pretty well on the back nine,” said McGinty, a junior and Bristol, England native. “I started off pretty slow. I was hitting a lot of greens, but made a good couple of putts on the last couple of holes so it was good.”

On the men's side, Chase Sienkiewicz of Arizona tied a Patriot All-America course record by shooting a first-round 63 (-7) that is good for the Round 1 lead. Four golfers aren't far behind, as Michigan State's James Piot, Vanderbilt's Matthew Riedel, Palmer Jackson of Notre Dame, and North Carolina's David Ford each played a 64 (-6).

“Everything was going well – I really just hit driver really well today,” said Sienkiewicz, a junior from Sacramento, Calif. “If you make putts out here, then you can go low. And with my ability to hit long off the tee I had a lot of wedges in, and with those wedges I played really well with them and had a lot of opportunities.” 

“To start off birdie-eagle-birdie is something special and having that momentum starter, I kept it going all day and held on,” said Piot, a fifth-year senior from Canton, Mich. and the 2021 U.S. Amateur Champion. “It was just piecing it together with solid ball striking.”

Round 2 begins at 9:30 am (MST) on Thursday. McGinty said that "nothing really changes" heading into Round 2. "It’s just sticking to the gameplan, staying patient and not trying to force anything. It’s really about enjoying being a part of this event.”

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