BRANNAN, SHINDLER TIED ATOP LEADERBOARD AT SMITHFIELD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Vandermade remains on top of Girls Division
BLAIRSVILLE, Pa., - Sean Brannan of Hollidaysburg, Pa., and Conrad Shindler of Coppell, Texas, took control of their games Wednesday, firing a 66 and 68 respectively to lead the Smithfield Junior Championship by two strokes. Nicole Vandermade of Brantford, Ontario, braved the weather to shoot even-par 72 and put her on top by six.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Smithfield Junior Championship is being held at the Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort and Conference Center — Tom's Run. The tournament is a 54-hole stroke-play event that hosts a 120-player field. The playing field, which consists of 93 boys and 27 girls, age 12 — 18, represents Canada and 18 states.
The second round of the Smithfield Junior Championship was drawn out as it included two weather delays totaling three hours and 14 minutes. The final putt fell at 8:54 p.m. EST.
Brannan said he played the lowest tournament round of his young career with a 6-under-par 66.
“It all came together,” said Brannan, speaking on his game. “Everything was working at the end.”
That statement proved true as he completed his round with a birdie-birdie-eagle finish.
Brannan will be playing in the final group Thursday with co- and first-round leader, Shindler.
Shindler kept his good play going despite being interrupted by the second weather delay.
“I had a chip for eagle on No. 13,” Shindler said. “The horn blew before I could hit it. After the delay, I chipped it five feet from the hole and made the birdie putt,” he said.
Shindler and Brannan both said that focusing on their own games will be the main key going into the final round.
In third place is Antonio Grillo of Vineyard Haven, Mass., who shot a 67 that included two eagles, one of which was a hole-out from 135 yds with an 8-iron on No. 3.
“To be honest, I hit it bad,” Grillo said. “It kicked off the hills into the hole. I was lucky.”
Grillo is two shots back at 8-under-par 136.
Drew Davidson of Canton, Ohio, sits in fourth place at 140, and Grant Doverspike of Bakersfield, Calif., is holding up fifth place at 141.
In the Girls Division, Vandermade grinded after a rough front nine to shoot a 34 coming in and go even on the day. Having to deal with strong winds in the afternoon, she said she clubbed up and hit a lot of three-quarter shots.
“On No. 15, I stuck it tight and rolled it in for birdie,” Vandermade said. “On No. 16 I made a 25 foot putt for birdie.”
Vandermade holds a 6-shot lead over Laura Nochta of Cortland, Ohio, at 149. In third place Anne Ormson of Granger, Ind., trails by seven shots at 150.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
Final-round tee times will begin at 7 a.m. Thursday at Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort & Conference Center — Tom's Run. For more information on the Smithfield Junior Championship, please contact tournament headquarters at (724) 459-7191.