Mass. Junior: Werenski jumps to 4-shot lead

HAVERHILL, Mass. (August 8, 2011) -- The summer may not have started the way he had hoped, but Mickey Werenski (The Orchards GC) is doing his best to end it with a bang.

The rising junior from South Hadley who suffered a broken toe in April fired a 4-under par 68 today at Renaissance Golf Club to jump out to a four-stroke lead following day one of the 2011 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship.

In addition to battling a very talented field of competitors, Werenski also took on an rain-soaked course and an unpredictable weather pattern. After the course absorbed more than an inch of rain in a 24-hour period, the players had to deal with periodic downpours that continued to roll into the area through the day and caused several suspensions of play.

In fact, the skies opened up as Werenski hit his tee shot on his final hole of the day - the 384-yard, par 4 9th hole. As he watched his drive sail into the right tees he heard the horn indicating that play had been suspended. Nearly 30 minutes later, Werenski found his tee shot and proceeded to hit a beautiful punch shot to six feet to set up his fourth birdie of the day.

"I think that it was the only fairway that I didn't hit all day," said Werenski. "It was a nice way to finish."

That remarkable shot capped off a round that included zero bogies... something no other golfer in the field was able to do on Monday. He began his round on the 10th tee and made three straight pars. On the 415-yard, par 4 13th hole, Werenski hit a 3 wood shot to 20 feet and made the putt. That set the tone for the rest of the round as he made the turn at 1-under par 35.

"I hit the ball well and hit a lot of fairways and greens," said Werenski. "I also made a lot of putts and avoided making bogies."

His strong play continued through his final nine holes. He hit an 8-iron tee shot to eight feet on the 137-yard, par 3 2nd hole and then knocked his wedge shot to two feet on the 514-yard, par 5 3rd hole.

Although very few were surprised to see the Werenski name atop the leaderboard, it has been a challenging summer thus far. Back in April, Werenski, who attends the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) in South Carolina, discovered that he had suffered a broken toe. It was crushing news for the 17 year old who had already won two IJGT events and finished T5 at the 2011 Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational.

After taking some time off from the game to allow his ailing foot to heal, Werenski returned to competitive golf and has since been implementing a swing change. The result has been a summer of highs and lows. Today was certainly a high point as Werenski reaped the benefits of the changes to his game.

"Now that I am hitting it straighter, I am able to keep it in play more," said Werenski. "On this course there is a lot of thick fescue which I don't bring into play as much because I am hitting it straighter."

It also helps that Werenski has always had a strong putting game, which helped him a great deal on the very sloping and oftentimes tricky greens here at Renaissance Golf Club.

"I am a good putter, so I can make a lot of putts that others might not be able to make," said Werenski.

That was certainly the case for Werenski, who will looking to better his best finish at this event... a T2 finish at the 2008 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship.

ABOUT THE Massachusetts Junior Amateur

Junior Division: Entries are open to amateur golfers who play at an MGA member club, who have reached their 16th birthday and will not reach their 18th birthday by midnight on the first day of the tournament. Pre-Junior Division: Entries are open to amateur golfers who play at an MGA member club, who have reached their 14th birthday and will not reach their 16th birthday by the first day of the tournament. Boys Division: Entries are open to amateur golfers who play at an MGA member club who will not reach their 14th birthday by midnight the first day of the tournament.

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