For young golfers in the area, the St. Clair Junior Golf Tournament might be the closest to a PGA major event they’ve played in.
For the 7-16 year olds, the day started with an announcer bellowing their name into the microphone. To end the day there was even a press conference to go along with the winner’s awards and low scores.
However, unlike the PGA, there was some more fun to be had. There was a chipping and putting contest. The most common question of the press conference was fellow young’uns asking “Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend” to their friends who all softly answered “no” with a red face.
It was a fun day, but it was also a day that had some pint-sized players putting up shockingly low scores. The most surprising result of the day was 12-year-old Ariel Chang winning the 15-16 girls division with a 39.
Well, maybe beating girls four years older than her isn’t too surprising to her.
“You have to practice really hard, and especially at putting and the chipping,” Chang said when asked what her best piece of advice is. “If you hit a bad drive you can recover easily by putting or chipping.”
The lowest nine hole boys score also came from a preteen as Lexington’s Mitch Benson fired a 35 in the 11-12 boys flight – 11 strokes better than second place’s Logan Palmateer.
“After a few holes I just parred a lot of them and felt like I was doing good,” Benson said after his lowest round ever. “Before the round I actually thought I was going to do bad … I wasn’t putting well on the practice green.”
Continuing his summer of nonstop golfing, Port Huron’s Nick Bailey shot a 37 in the 15-16 boys division, topping second place’s Noah Kosal by two shots.
Utica’s Paul Didio also added another win to his summer in the 13-14 boys flight, firing off a 41. He had Cameron Crisman on his tail throughout the day, who finished in second with a 42.
Madeline Blum got off to a hot start to her round to help herself to a first place finish in the 13-14 girls division with a 48, one ahead of second place’s Maia Cataldo. Even after traveling around Michigan to golf in too many tourneys to count, she still had butterflies to start the day.
“Today was different,” Blum said. “I was really nervous and shaking on the tee after the first drive, but most tournaments (I’m not nervous).”
Richmond’s Brice Wesley won the rain-shortened 9-10 boys division with a seven hole score of 33, one stroke lower than second place’s Jake Blum. Dressed in an orange Puma hat and matching orange polo like his favorite PGA golfer, Wesley channeled his inner Rickie Fowler for the win.
After a great year in the Blue Water Junior Golf Tour, Brandi Kautz took home the 9-12 girls title with a six hole score of 34. Combined with the BWJGT, Kautz has now won three events on the summer.
Down in the youngest division, Braxton Essian won the 7-8 boys division with a five hole score of 28.
For the 7-8 girls division, it was Samantha Allen bringing home the first place award with a five hole score of 45.
Contact Matt Sheehan at (810)-989-6267 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on Twitter @Sheehan_Sports.