Brett Roberts (AJGA photo)
Brett Roberts of Coral Springs, Florida, and Jayden Schaper of Benoni, South Africa, hold the lead after two rounds of the Junior Players Championship at 4-under-par 140.
With the pending arrival of Hurricane Dorian, the tournament format was changed to include two 18-hole shotgun rounds on August 30 and the final 18 on August 31.
The first round of The Junior Players Championship began with rain showers but that didn’t bother the three young men who found themselves tied for the lead at 5-under-par 67. Maxwell Moldovan of Uniontown, Ohio, Jackson Van Paris of Pinehurst, North Carolina, and Martin Vorster of Mossel Bay, South Africa, paced the field with a combined 18 birdies and one eagle.
Moldovan started on No. 1 and began his round with birdies on five of the first nine holes to make the turn at 5-under-par 31. He would go on to make two birdies on the back nine and two bogeys, with one of his birdies on the iconic No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass.
Van Paris kept his card mostly clean through the first round with three birdies on the front nine and three additional birdies on the back, along with one bogey.
Vorster made a charge on the back nine after starting on hole No. 2. He carded an eagle on the par-4 No. 12 and also birdied No. 17. He would add another birdie and a bogey on the back to get himself in a tie for the lead after the first round.
The second round saw some big changes on the leaderboard. Schaper and Roberts both battled from behind after carding first-round scores of 3-under-par 69 and 1-under-par 71, respectively.
Schaper, who started on No. 4, parred his first five holes of the second round before making his first birdie on the par-5 No. 9. The South African would give some strokes back on the next few holes however, making a double bogey on the par-5 No. 11 and a bogey on the par-4 No. 12. Despite the setback, Schaper kept his composure and bounced back with three birdies over his final nine holes to finish the day at 4-under-par 140. This is Schaper’s third time competing in the Junior Players Championship, with his previous best finish coming in 2017 at T24.
“I played some great golf today,” Schaper said. “My ball striking was the best it’s been for a long time now. I played aggressive from the tees today and didn’t miss many fairways. That opened up a lot of opportunities to hit the greens and give myself good opportunities for birdies.”
Roberts, who started on No. 1, got off to a hot start in the second round with three birdies over his first seven holes. The Florida State University verbal commit followed that streak with a bogey on the par-3 No. 8 to make the turn at 2-under-par 34. Roberts followed the front nine with a bogey-free 1-under-par 35 on the back nine to finish the day tied for the lead. Roberts won the Wyndham Invitational presented by BB&T in June.
“I’m just trying to play like I did today,” Roberts said. “Not try to force anything and keep the ball in play.”
First-round leader Moldovan posted a 2-over-par 74 in the second round and sits one-stroke back at 3-under-par 141. The Ohio State University verbal commit won the Polo Golf Junior Classic at Liberty National earlier this year. Moldovan is currently ranked No. 4 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.View results for Junior Players Championship
ABOUT THE Junior Players Championship
One of the AJGA series of tournaments that
require an invitation to participate. Format is
54 holes of stroke play.
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