Imai, 18, uses strong second day to secure Hornblower victory
James Imai (Photo courtesy of Hornblower)
James Imai (Photo courtesy of Hornblower)

James Imai had some ground to make up in the second round of the Hornblower Memorial. Imai, an 18-year-old from Brookline, Mass., followed his opening 1-under 68 at Plymouth (Mass.) Country Club with a second-round 66. It left Imai with a one-shot win.

Imai is a recent high-school graduate headed to Northwestern in the fall. He took his first swing in 2006 as an almost-6-year-old, which knocked over and broke the camera his instructor had set up behind him. Unfortunately the footage was lost, but his love for the game grew from there.

Imai has documented this story and other “golf vitals” on a blog about his game.

While Imai managed to hold on during Saturday’s final round, several other contenders fell down the leaderboard. First-round leader Mike Kennedy, who opened with 67, had a birdie on his second hole of the day. He went 7 over in the next seven holes, then went 3 over on the back for a follow-up 78 that dropped him to 23rd.

Imai finished one shot ahead of runners-up Jimmy Hervol and Dillon Brown, who both had rounds of 68-67 for a 2-under 135.

Defending champion Matt Parziale, just days removed from playing his way to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner Herbie Aikens across the country at Bandon Dunes (Ore.) Resort, had rounds of 71-77 for a T-40 finish.

Also worth noting is high-school freshman Colin Spencer, who had an opening 71 to become one of the youngest every to make the 18-hole cut in the event. With his dad Steve on the bag, the head pro at Cummaquid Golf Club in Yarmouth Port, Mass., Spencer followed with a 75 that left him in a group tied for 29th that also included Massachusetts golf legend Frank Vana.

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ABOUT THE Hornblower Memorial Invitational

Long running amateur invitational tournament named for Plymouth Country Club "Benefactor" Henry Hornblower who collaborated with the now defunct Pilgrim Hotel to create what is now Plymouth Country Club.

Style of play: 36 hole stroke play – field cut to low 60 players and ties after 1st round. Handicap required: GHIN index of 3.0 or lower. The Hornblower Committee will be responsible for acceptance or rejection of all entries.

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