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With opening 62s, Claycomb and Magcalayo roar to Jr PGA lead
Canon Claycomb (Hailey Garrett/PGA of America)
Canon Claycomb (Hailey Garrett/PGA of America)

Records are falling at the Boys Junior PGA Championship, yet again. Canon Claycomb, 17, of Bowling Green, Ky., and Timothy Magcalayo, 16, of the Philippines, will share a place in the championship’s newly rewritten record book, having shot the lowest first-round score ever at 62.

They broke the opening round scoring mark by two strokes, which was set by Dawson Ovard two years ago, and they were both one shot off Akshay Bhatia’s all-time championship score of 61, also set in 2017.

In addition, they now share the Keney Park Golf Course record with Megha Ganne, who shot a 62 in the Girls Junior PGA Championship three weeks ago; Adam Rinaud, PGA, from the 2018 Connecticut PGA Championship; and Clark Robinson, shot during a Connecticut Open qualifier.

Claycomb, who played on the 2018 United States Junior Ryder Cup Team in Paris, had a bogey-free round, despite a frustrating start. He drove the green on the par-4, 330-yard Hole No. 1, but wound up three-putting for par. He would right the ship and sink eight birdies on the day, including an 8-footer on No. 18 to close out his round.

Earlier, he had a 20-foot birdie on Hole No. 4 that broke twice and dropped in the cup. Then, on the par-3, 151-yard No. 6, he hit a high flair wide, but quickly recovered for a key birdie.

“I hit the best lob shot in my career, and I made it in,” said Claycomb, a University of Alabama commit, who plans to enroll next January.

Magcalayo, who started on the back nine, had a chance to tie Bhatia’s record on his final hole (No. 9). His 8-foot putt halted a foot short. He tapped in for a closing par.

“When I am playing my game, every shot should be good,” said Magcalayo, who won last week’s AJGA Junior at Chicopee in Massachusetts.

He also came within a whisker of a hole-in-one on No. 6 that was a foot from the pin. The birdie would have plenty of company, as he also had four consecutive birdies on Nos. 12-16; three-in-a-row on Nos. 1-3; and another on No. 5. The only blemish on his scorecard was a bogey on No. 4.

“This course is not a joke,” stressed Magcalayo, who is being recruited by several schools across the country.

After just one hole played in the 44th Boys Junior PGA Championship, at the 6,446-yard, par-70 Keney Park Golf Course, there was little doubt that the scores would be low Tuesday, despite a blistering 100-degree heat index.

In the championship's first group off the tee was Andy Mao, 18, of Johns Creek, Ga., who recorded a fancy 20-yard chip in from the fringe for eagle on the Par-4, 330-yard opening stanza. Mao would add another eagle on No. 12 and five birdies. He would still have a couple of speed bumps along the way, with a double bogey on No. 4 and a bogey on No. 8. However, his scorching 29 on the back nine would match the weather.

All told, Mao, who will attend Georgia Tech in the Fall, shot a 6-under par 64, in a tie for third with Peyton Snoeberger, of Lafayette, Ind.

Six players are tied for fifth, firing a 5-under par 65, three shots off the lead, including: USC commit Jackson Rivera, 16, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Tyler Goecke, 18, of Xenia, Ohio; Pierce Johnson, 16, of Dallas; Isaiah Kanno, 18, of Hilo, Hawaii; Jack Heath, 17, of Charlotte; and University of North Carolina commit Peter Fountain, 18, of Raleigh.

ABOUT THE Junior PGA Championship

One of golf’s major championships for juniors, the Boys Junior PGA Championship is where the best in the world get their start. Begun in 1976, at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, the Championship has been a popular stop on the national junior circuit for many of today’s PGA touring professionals including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Pat Perez, who held the record for 24 years until Akshay Bhatia shattered it by 5 strokes in 2017. 72-hole, stroke-play Championship, with a cut after 36 holes to the low 70 plus ties. The Boys Junior PGA Championship is open to males who are no older than 18 years of age by the end of the tournament.

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