PINEHURST, N.C. (Dec. 29, 2011) -- After a foot of snow caused the cancellation of the 63rd Donald Ross Junior Championship last year, this year’s event was contested under cool temperatures but sunny skies. The 36-hole Championship for boys under age 18, separated in three divisions (11 and under, 12 14, and 15 12-14, 15-18 provided 18-year high school), is always scheduled the week between Christmas and New Year’s. The 11 and Under, and 12-14 Divisions play Pinehurst No. 1. The 15 18 Division plays Pinehurst No. 4 and Pinehurst No. 5, rotating 15-18 courses after the first round.
A new feature of the Donald Ross Junior Championship this year was a resume workshop on the evening of the first round, attended by approximately 150 players and their parents. Led by the Pinehurst Tournament Office, Mac Thayer of Junior Golf Scoreboard and Scott Moyer of McDaniel College, the workshop was intended to educate families on what is and is not needed in a junior golf resume, and the difference between a resume to gain entry into a tournament or championship, and one to gain entry into a college golf championship program.
Four shots was the apparent theme for round one. The top finishers in all three divisions were only separated by four shots at the end of the first 18 holes.
Battling it out in the 11 and Under Division were Zach Brown of Bermuda Run, Grant Smith of Charlotte Run, Charlotte, Jack Wall of Brielle, NJ, A.J. Beechler of Pinehurst, Christopher Zhang of Blacksburg, VA and Chris Kim of Cary. It was a long 5,297 yards from the red tees for these players, but five of the six managed to maintain their position at the top of the leader board. The division title was captured by Smith with an impressive one over par on the front nine and even par on the back in the final round to finish 8 74—154, back four shots ahead of Wall’s 81-79—160. Tied for third a shot behind Wall, were Beechl (82-79—161) and Wall.
In the 12 14 Division the four shot separation was between Dayne Nelson of Aurora, IL, who shot an outstanding 69 in round one, followed by James Mishoe IV of Cary and Hardin Councill of High Point with 71 each, Spencer Ralston of Gainsville, GA and Mitchell McFarland of Wheelersburg, OH with 72 each, and Wes Simmons of Goldsboro, Krystian Romero of Pinehurst and Eric Bae of Cary with 73 each The leaderboard took a spin in round two, however, ending in a three way sudden death playoff for the division three-waytitle between Ralston (72-73—145), Bae (73-72-145) and Davis Richards of China Grove (74-71—145) who aced Pinehurst No. 1’s par three seventh hole in round one. Bae won the playoff with a birdie on the first playoff hole capturing the win and the Putterboy trophy.
Ralston and Richards tied for second, with a tie for fourth between Mishoe (71-75—146) and Henry Shimp of Charlotte (78-68—146). Shimp’s stellar move from a tie for twenty-fourth to a tie for fourth was due to a 68 in round two, closing the gap between the top place finishers from four shots to three.
The Donald Ross Junior Champion is the winner of the 15 18 division, and Joshua Martin of Pinehurst led the entire 36-holes, inishing round three shots in the lead and five under par on Pinehurst No. 5. The lead garnered him the championship.
Ben Griffin of Chapel Hill, who was tied for second following round one, finished two under/one under in round one/round two respectively to remain in second (70-71—141).
Zach Seabolt was tied for twenty-second place after round one, but a five under par in round two highlighted by five birdies moved him to third place at the finish (75-67—142), followed by Stephen Lavenets of Rougemont (73-70—143) in fourth and Andrew Novak of Mount Pleasant, SC in fifith (71-75—146).