The #MarchToMuirfield continued at Zanesville Country Club for the Zanesville Jr. Classic as players competed for the next automatic exemption into the SOPGA Jr. Tour Championship at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
As the sun set on the first day of competition, nine players were within 10 shots of the lead. Pacing the pack was Gabe Scherer. Scherer used superb ball striking and three birdies to post a first round score of one-under-par 71 and lead the way by three shots heading into the final round. After a lackluster opening nine, 2022 SOPGA Players Series Player of the Year Grant Woodruff battled back on his final nine holes to sit three strokes behind Scherer. Nathan Shadik sat four-over-par heading into his ninth hole of play. Shadik would play his final 10 holes at even par to sit in third place. Owen Van Fossen, Noah Dever, Henry Stammen, Colten Montgomery, and Colin Cleary post sub-80 rounds to set themselves up for a final round charge.
Two players were tied for the lead as play concluded on the first round in the girls 16-19 division. Saylor Wharff, coming off of a win at the Pipestone Jr. Classic, would use an opening round two-over-par 74 to sit tied with Angelina Gong. Gong got off to a slow start on her opening nine. Determined to not that derail her chances at gold, Gong would go bogey-free on her final nine holes posting a four-under-par 32 to tie with Wharff at the top. Newcomer Anna Machamer sat in third place as the sun set on the opening round with a score of six-over-par 78.
Players in the boys 13-15 division brought their game to Zanesville Country Club. Mitchell Sargent continued his incredible play on the season coming out of the gates hot. Sargent made two birdies on his back nine during the opening round en route to a four-over-par 76 and the top spot in the division. Four strokes behind Sargent was Hoyt Dodson. Dodson battled back after a slow start to set himself up for a strong final round. Rounding out the top three was Owen White. White claimed the top spot in last week’s Pipestone Jr. Classic, and continued to build on that momentum.
The girls 13-15 division was shaping up to be an absolute battle after Monday’s opening round. Aubrey Arnold sat in the top spot as play concluded on the first round. Arnold had won three events on the season to this point and was looking to add a fourth gold medal to her total. Closely behind Arnold was Mary Helber. Helber had one win and a third place finish on her season to this point and was ready to try to chase down Arnold during the final round. The final player on the podium was Gracyn Alexander. Alexander got off to a rocky start, but steadied the ship nicely and was ready to compete during the final round.
The threat of rain loomed over Zanesville Country Club as players teed it up on Tuesday for the final round. Nothing keeps away rain like birdies, and there were plenty of those in the final group of the boys 16-19 division. Trailing by seven shots heading into his final nine holes, Grant Woodruff reminded us why he earned last seasons Player’s Tour Player of the Year. Woodruff made three birdies in his first four holes on his back nine, then he made history. With 190 yards into the par-five 15th and a six iron in hand, Woodruff found the bottom of the cup for the first Albatross in SOPGA Jr. Tour history! This momentum would catapult Woodruff to the top spot after a one-under-par 71. Finishing just a stoke behind Woodruff was first round leader Gabe Scherer. Rounding out the top three was Nathan Shadik. Shadik is heading to Eastern Kentucky University to join their Professional Golf Management Program to work towards PGA Membership!
Players descended upon Zanesville Country Club ready to fight for the top spot in the girls 16-19 division. The rain held off just long enough for a champion to be crowned at the Zanesville Jr. Classic. Angelina Gong used steady play all day to lock up her spot in the 2023 SOPGA Jr. Tour Championship at Muirfield Village Golf Club! Finishing three strokes behind Gong was Saylor Wharff. Wharff continues to build momentum this season, adding a silver medal to her trophy case. Rounding out the top three was Anna Machamer, who grabbed the bronze medal in her first start on the season. Three players would improve on their first round scores during the difficult final round. Addi Burris, Caroline Zeiger, and Grace Beerman all improved on their final round.
Five of the seven players improved on their first round scores during the final round at Zanesville Country Club. While players battled, Mitchell Sargent was not to be caught. Sargent used a final round five-over-par 77 to grab his fourth straight victory in the boys 13-15 division. Hoyt Dodson was one of those players that improved during the final round. Dodson would finish the tournament in second place. Rounding out the podium was Owen White. White improved by six strokes to earn his bronze medal. Lincoln Scherer, Jack Schwaigert, and Aidan Davies all improved during the final round of play.
Who would grab the top spot in the girls 13-15 division as the last putt dropped in the Zanesville Jr. Classic? Five players were competing for that beautiful gold medal. Starting a day with a two-stroke lead, Aubrey Arnold was staring at the top spot. Chasing her down was Mary Helber. This battle would come down to the final hole. In the end, Aubrey Arnold would earn yet another gold medal to add to her collection. Helber finished the tournament in second place, just one stroke behind Arnold. Gracyn Alexander had the biggest improvement during the final round. Knocking twelve strokes off of her first round score, Alexander would go on to earn herself a silver medal. Emma Gebhart and Cadence Monroe-McCoy also improved on their first round scores during the final round!
Thank you to Mike Durant, PGA and his team at Zanesville Country Club for putting on such a great event and keeping the rain away!
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