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  • GOLF

    Record round at Centennial

    Abercrombie's 63 in AJGA event sets course mark; Medford's Oshiro co-second
  • Blake Abercrombie didn't have to wait long for the highlight of his round on the first day of the Bishops Gate Golf Academy Junior at Centennial Golf Club Tuesday.
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    • BISHOPS GATE JUNIOR
      RECAP: Blake Abercrombie, of Rocklin, Calif., sets the Centennial Golf Club course record with a 9-under-par 63 and leads the boys division by four shots. Mami Yamamoto, of Japan, leads Medford's K...
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      BISHOPS GATE JUNIOR
      RECAP: Blake Abercrombie, of Rocklin, Calif., sets the Centennial Golf Club course record with a 9-under-par 63 and leads the boys division by four shots. Mami Yamamoto, of Japan, leads Medford's Kiana Oshiro and Abigail Cantwell, of Scottsdale, Ariz., by two shots in the girls.

      • LIVE SCORING: www.ajga.org
      • UP NEXT: Today, second round, all day.
  • Blake Abercrombie didn't have to wait long for the highlight of his round on the first day of the Bishops Gate Golf Academy Junior at Centennial Golf Club Tuesday.
    It came on his second hole when he chipped in for eagle.
    He did, however, have to a wait a few hours for the highlight of his golf career. That came a few hours later when he holed out a short birdie putt on the last green to finalize a career-best round — by a whopping four shots — and assumed ownership of the Centennial men's course record.
    Abercrombie, a recent high school graduate from Rocklin, Calif., shot a 9-under-par 63 to take a four-stroke lead into the second round today.
    The tournament, for boys and girls ages 12-18, is 54 holes and culminates Thursday.
    "It means a ton," said Abercrombie, who will play collegiately at San Diego State. "It's a big event up here at Centennial. It was just a big day for me, my lowest score ever. I had the putter rolling today. I just kept making birdies and kept on going. It felt great out there."
    Playing from the back tees, which measured a hearty 7,235 yards, he broke the record of 64 set by George Cunningham in 2010, when the American Junior Golf Association event debuted here.
    While Abercrombie bolted ahead of the 108-player boys field, Medford's Kiana Oshiro rebounded from a rough start with a string of four birdies on the back nine and moved into a tie for second place in the girls division.
    Oshiro, who placed second in the Class 6A state championships last month as a freshman at North Medford High, shot a 1-under 71. She and Abigail Cantwell, of Scottsdale, Ariz., trail leader Mami Yamamoto by two shots. Yamamoto, from Japan, is playing out of Bishops Gate academy in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
    With two holes to go, Abercrombie had visions of getting to double digits under par. He started in the morning wave on the 10th tee and was finishing his round on the par-4 eighth and par-5 ninth, the latter of which had him licking his chops.
    "I knew that if I could just get out of the way with a par on 8, I would have a good chance to shoot 62," he said.
    At No. 8, his short-iron approach came up 20 feet shy of the hole, and he left himself a 21/2-foot comebacker for par. Stunningly, he missed it. His head cocked skyward in angst, but he quickly gathered himself and seemed unruffled as he walked to the final tee.
    "I can't complain," he said later. "It was a good day."
    At the 567-yard ninth, he drove it into the right rough, then muscled up a hybrid to four paces from the front of the green.
    "The lie was pretty bad," he said, "but it was 255 yards. I knew if I could just get it over that right (fairway) bunker, it would roll up near the green, and I hit it perfect."
    He was a chip and a putt away from the record.
    "I just told myself on the chip, I've hit this chip about a thousand times before. It was nice," he said of the 1-foot birdie putt he tapped in.
    Abercrombie's previous best competitive round was a 67. This is his fourth AJGA event, and his highest finish came in January, when he placed third in a Beaumont, Calif., tournament.
    On Tuesday, his card included the eagle, nine birdies and two bogeys to lead the 67s by Alexander Lee, of Sacramento, Calif., and Brandon Wu, of Danville, Calif.
    "I actually had a couple three-putts, a couple stumbles coming in," he said. "But I can't complain. I made a lot of putts out there, and I'm just happy with the way I performed today."
    He kicked-started the round with the eagle on No. 11, chipping in from 30 yards on the 525-yard hole.
    Abercrombie wouldn't mind doing it again today, but he expects tougher conditions with an afternoon start time.
    "I'm just going to have to play really smart tomorrow," he said. "There was no wind this morning. Par's a good score, and if I can get birdies, that's fine."
    A handful of local boys are in the tournament, but only one managed to break par. And that took some doing for Max Davis, of Medford. The incoming junior at Cascade Christian High overcame three double bogeys — including a four-putt on the first hole — to shoot 71 and vault into a tie for 11th place.
    Davis eagled the ninth hole and also had six birdies.
    Medford's Josh Wu is tied for 24th following a 73, and twin brother Jeremy and Ashland's Matt Hedges are tied for 41st with 75s.
    Oshiro, meanwhile, had little reason to think she was headed for a successful day. She topped her opening drive — "That was fun," she said — and made double-bogey 6 to start.
    She was 4 over through six holes and ready for something good to happen.
    Her first birdie came at the ninth and gave her a 39 on the front.
    "Which was actually not bad," said Oshiro. "Then I exploded on the back nine."
    "I was very happy I got the birdie," she added. "I was hyped. Then I'm like, three shots to go (to get back to even par). That's the best I wanted to do. My plan was to just at least be in the top 50 or 75 percent. I did not want to finish off the round with a 76, or 75 for that matter."
    She birdied No. 10, bogeyed 12, then reeled off four straight birdies. On No. 16, she was long and in the hay on the par 5, but pitched back and one-putted.
    Pars on Nos. 17 and 18 gave her a 32 on the back.
    There are 36 players in the girls field.
    AJGA Junior at Centennial
    BOYS TOP 10
    1. Blake Abercrombie, Rocklin, Calif., 33-30—63.
    T2. Alexander Lee, Sacramento, Calif., 33-34—67.
    T2. Brandon Wu, Danville, Calif., 33-34—67.
    4. Derek Ackerman, Half Moon Bay, Calif., 31-37—68.
    T5. Matt Heitel, Redwood City, Calif., 32-37—69.
    T5. Henry Cassriel, Orinda, Calif., 35-34—69.
    T5. Joshua Sedeno, Roseville, Calif., 36-33—69.
    T5. Isaiah Salinda, San Francisco, 36-33—69.
    T9. Kevin Geniza, Corvallis, 37-33—70.
    T9. Andrew Chin, Honolulu, 34-36—70.
    Others
    T11. Max Davis, Medford, 37-34—71.
    T24. Josh Wu, Medford, 36-37—73.
    T41. Jeremy Wu, Medford, 36-39—75.
    T41. Matt Hedges, Ashland, 38-37—75.
    T52. Ben Quast, Ashland, 39-37—76.
    T93. Jake Quast, Ashland, 42-40—82.
    GIRLS TOP 10
    1. Mami Yamamoto, Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., 35-34—69.
    T2. Kiana Oshiro, Medford, 39-32—71.
    T2. Abigail Cantwell, Scottsdale, Ariz., 35-36—71.
    T4. Jessica Luo, San Jose, Calif., 35-37—72.
    T4. Meiqi Gao, Shanghai, 37-35—72.
    T4. Angela Liu, San Jose, Calif., 36-36—72.
    T7. Siripatsorn Patchana, Bangkok, 36-37—73.
    T7. Janet Yeo, Los Angeles, 38-35—73.
    T9. Hannah Lee, Surrey, British Columbia, 37-37—74.
    T9. Ashley Kim, Redondo Beach, Calif., 36-38—74.
    T9. Alanis Sakuma, Kapolei, Hawaii, 38-36—74.
    T9. Alisha Lau, Richmond, British Columbia, 36-38—74.
    T9. Natalie Yamamoto, Henderson, Nev., 38-36—74.
    T9. Beth Lillie, Fullerton, Calif., 37-37—74.
    Others
    T32. Daniele Giles, Central Point, 39-44—83.
    Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com
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