PINEHURST, N.C. (June 13, 2012) -- A local high school freshman and a Texas A&M signee share the first round lead in the 40th Southern Junior Championship being played at the Country Club of North Carolina’s Dogwood Course.
Pinehurst’s Joshua Martin, one of the youngest players in the featured 15-18 age division and Aggie-bound Ben Crancer of Kirkwood, MO., each posted 4-under-par 68 Wednesday for the opening lead. Poon Pattaropong of Bangkok, Thailand, who has attended the Hank Haney Academy at Hilton Head the past two years, and Ben Wilcott of Burns, TN, were one stroke off the pace at 69.
Martin, 15, runnerup in the North Carolina schoolboy championship as a Pinecrest High School freshman this year, knocked in a 40-foot birdie putt early and clicked off three straight birds in the middle of his round. Crancer, whose father played golf at UTexas alongside Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite, chose instead to sign with rival A&M after also placing second in his Missouri state schoolboy finals.
In the 13-14 age division, Brett Barron of Suwanee, GA., jumped out to a 2-stroke lead with an even par 72.
The field of 156 top young amateurs from 20 states and three foreign countries will be cut after Thursday’s second round. The prestigious 54-hole event concludes Friday.