Davis breaks out in front in AJGA
Trey Davis got in extended work in the practice area before the second round of the American Junior Golf Association tournament at Centennial Golf Club Wednesday.
Scotty Kennon, meanwhile, made short work of his front nine.
The approaches worked well for each, and they will be in the last group in Thursday’s final round, hoping to secure the coveted title in the eighth annual event.
Davis, 17, from Plumas Lake, California, pulled away from a logjam atop the boys division — 10 players were within one shot of the lead after the first day — with a 7-under 65. He opened a three-shot edge with a two-day score of 134.
Davis arrived at the course nearly three hours before his tee time and spent most of it putting.
“Yesterday, I wasn’t making very many putts,” he said following his best competitive round. “I made a lot more today. I was making a lot of comebacks for par saves.”
Kennon, a 14-year-old from Bandon who just completed the eighth grade, commanded attention when he made six straight birdies on his first nine before settling for a 66. He was in second at 137.
“I mean, I was just knocking down flagsticks,” he said. “I had a lot of good wedges in my hands. I was making everything, so it was really fun playing those.”
Ethan Ashbrook, of Santa Maria, California, was alone in third place at 141. Three players were another shot back.
In the girls tournament, Central Point’s Kiana Oshiro maintained a share of the lead with a 1-under 71. She was tied with Kayla Kozak, of Bluffton, South Carolina, who shot 71, at 141.
Hailey Borja, of Lake Forest, California, and Nicole Abelar, of Mandaluyong, Philippines, were co-third at 142.
The boys field of 96 players and the girls field of 48 were each cut to the top 50 percent and ties for today’s final round. Play begins at 7:30 a.m. and will conclude early in the afternoon.
Davis had gone as low as 66 a couple times in tournaments, but this was new territory.
He started on the back nine and birdied four holes on that side. Upon making the turn, he added three more in a round devoid of anything else but pars.
“Shooting 4 under on the back nine (his front) really helped,” said the high school senior-to-be. “I felt like if I could just get a couple under on the front, it would be a really good round.”
His driver failed him only once, and his irons were dead on. He hit 15 greens.
“I was giving myself a shot,” he said.
A rare miscue occurred on his 16th hole — the course’s No. 7 — when he hooked an 8-iron from 165 yards to the left of the green.
“It was a really tough up and down,” said Davis, noting the green sloped away from him. “That’s the only spot you really can’t miss it to.”
Nevertheless, he rolled in the roughly 8-foot putt for a par 4.
Nerves tested him again on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when he hit the middle of the green with a choked-up 3-hybrid from 246 yards but left a long first putt. He ran it 4 feet by, then made the birdie coming back.
“It feels good,” he said of claiming the overnight lead entering the final round. “I just have to keep the putting how it was today, and I should be good.”
He may need it to fend off Kennon.
Kennon’s iron play on his first nine — he started on No. 10 as well — was sensational.
After an opening par, he birdied Nos. 11 through 16. He had a 5-foot putt, then a tap-in, then chipped in. At No. 15, it was 12 feet, and 8 feet at 16.
Kennon wasn’t done knocking it close, either. He had makeable putts at 17 (8 feet) and 18 (12 feet) that just missed.
“I was looking for the 29,” he grinned, “but I’ll take the 30.”
As difficult as it was to keep his composure going to his second nine, he managed, overcoming two bogeys with a couple birdies.
“You just have to reset and think, ‘new nine, new you,’” said Kennon, “and just go out there and try to play your best game. Don’t think about what’s in the past or ahead, but just focus on the shot at hand.”
Oshiro started on the 10th tee and promptly made a birdie 3. She ended the nine with a birdie, made a couple bogeys on her second nine, then finished the round with a birdie to match Kozak.
Kozak was 1 over on her first nine but shot 33 after the turn.
Oshiro and Kozak will tee off at 9:10 a.m. Thursday. The two 18-year-olds will play college golf starting in the fall, Oshiro at Western Texas College in Snyder, and Kozak at Central Florida in Orlando. Their group will include Borja.
BOYS TOP 10
1. Trey Davis, Plumas Lake, Calif., 69-65—134
2. Scotty Kennon, Bandon, 71-66—137
3. Ethan Ashbrook, Santa Maria, Calif., 72-68—140
T4. Brendan Hy, SAn Ramon, Calif., 73-68—141
T4. Jake Marek, Westlake Village, Calif., 71-70—141
T4. Ben Lorenz, Peoria, Ariz., 71-70—141
T7. Sam Jean, Greenwood, Ind., 71-71—142
T7. Carl Jano Corpus, Quezon City, Philippines, 72-70—142
T7. Max Holm, Walnut Creek, Calif., 72-70—142
T10. Aidan Goldstein, Las Vegas, 72-71—143
T10. Johnny Walker, Riverside, Calif., 72-71—143
T10. Raymond Navis, Nipomo, Calif., 70-73—143
T10. Ling Kun Kong, (China) Arcadia, Calif., 71-72—143
T10. Justin Gums, Lodi, Calif., 72-71—143
T10. Blake Lorenz, Peoria, Ariz., 69-74—143
T10. Ryan Smith, Carlsbad, Calif., 70-73—143
T30. Triston Gardner, Medford, 74-73—147
GIRLS TOP 10
T1. Kayla Kozak, Bluffton, S.C., 70-71—141
T1. Kiana Oshiro, Central Point, 70-71—141
T3. Nicole Abelar, Mandaluyong, Philippines, 73-69—142
T3. Hailey Borja, Lake Forest, Calif., 71-71—142
T5. Yu Wen Lu, Shanghai, China, 72-72—144
T5. Morgan Goldstein, Las Vegas, 73-71—144
T7. Adithi Anand, Redmond, Wash., 70-75—145
T7. Therese Warner, Kennewick, Wash., 71-74—145
T9. Isabella Cantwell, Scottsdale, Ariz., 74-73—147
T9. Jing Wen Lu, Shanghai, China, 72-75—147
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or email@example.com