Southern Junior: Joshua Martin, Ben Crancer tied for lead
PINEHURST, NC (June 14, 2012) -- First-round co-leaders Joshua Martin and Ben Crancer remained tied atop the 40th Southern Junior Championship heading into Friday’s wrapup of the 54-hole event. Martin, a local Pinehurst high school freshman, and Crancer, 18, who will join the Texas A&M golf team this fall, both shot 1-under par 71 Thursday on the Country Club of North Carolina’s Dogwood Course for matching totals of 139.

Ben Wolcott of Burns, TN. is next at 142.

Crancer, from Kirkwood, MO, broke on top Friday, his early round highlighted by an unlikely birdie at the par-5 fifth hole. He hit a tree barely 100 yards off the tee, his ball dropping straight down in the rough. He recovered to reach the green in regulation and sank a 30-foot putt for the birdie. “That really kept my round going,” said Crancer, playing this event for the third time.

Martin fought back on the incoming holes, posting birdies on two of the final holes. He chipped in from 20 feet for a birdie 2 on the 16th, then lobbed a wedge to within two feet on the par-5 18th for a brush-in birdie to reclaim a share of the lead.

Playing in the final threesome Friday, both co-leaders will have their eyes on each other and the winner’s automatic berth in the 106th Southern Amateur next month in Little Rock. “To get to play in the Southern Amateur would be pretty cool and great experience for a junior,” said Martin.

In the 13-14 age division, Brett Barron of Suwanee, GA., put up his second straight even-par 72 and takes a 5-stroke lead over Parker Sexton of Germantown, Tn., into Friday’s finale. Barron, 14, has won two events on the Southeast Junior Tour, but says this would be his most important victory. The field of 156 top young amateurs from 20 states and three foreign countries was cut to the low 76 players for Friday’s finale.

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