Developing the knack for making a big shot at the right time is something every golfer strives for.
Blake Gautreaux and Haley Harrington lived in that moment at the BREC Baton Rouge Junior Amateur Championship on Wednesday at Santa Maria Golf Course.
Gautreaux recorded an eagle on the par-5 No. 7 hole. The eagle and four birdies propelled the St. Amant High junior-to-be to a 3-under-par 69 and the first-round lead in the boys 14- to 17-year-old division.
Harrington made chip ins from just off the green on the par-5 No. 15 and No. 18 holes en route to the first-round lead in the girls 14-17 division. The Silliman Institute junior-to-be carded a 79.
The tourney ends today as players start teeing off at 8 a.m. at Santa Maria.
“Last week I played in the LGA Championship and I was striking the ball really well,” Gautreaux said. “Based on that and the fact that Santa Maria is my course, I thought I had a chance to do pretty well.
“Today, I did hit the ball well. The key was staying out of the bunkers. And the two (bunkers) I hit turned out to be bogeys. But overall, I’m pleased.”
Harrington was locked in a battle with Anna Heine for the lead in the girls 14-17 division. The two late birdies helped give Harrington the edge over Heine, a 12-year-old University High seventh-grader-to-be, who shot an 83.
Heine is playing in 14-17 division for the first time.
“I started off with five pars in a row,” Harrington said. “It’s hard to get one chip in like that, but today I got two. This is the best I’ve played all summer. I know tomorrow is another round.”
Gautreaux holds a five-stroke lead in the 14-17 boys division. Chad Arsenault carded a 2-over 74 and is in second place.
Drew Patin and Grant Welch are tied for third place at 75, while Michael Sotile is next at 76.
Wil Trum, who carded a 78, holds a one-shot lead over Trey Winstead and Miller Maestri in the boys 12- to 13-year-old division.
Bryce Trum and Andrew Bennett are tied for the lead in the 9- to 11-year-old division Both youngsters shot a 43 over nine holes. Tyler Armstrong is one shot back at 44.
“The course played fast today,” said Jack Terry, BREC’s Golf Development Manager. “I actually thought we might have more lower scores. From talking to the kids, I think putting is what got them.
“I’m not surprised that Blake shot a 69. The thing about junior golf is some of these other guys could turn it around tomorrow and shoot 10 strokes better. Anything is possible.”
Baton Rouge Junior Amateur Championship
At Santa Maria
14- to 17-year-olds
Top individuals: 1, Blake Gautreaux 34-35?69. 2, Chad Arsenault 36-38?74. 3, Drew Patin 35-40?75. Grant Welch 37-38?75. 5, Michael Sotile 38-38?76. 6, Davis Field 37-40?77. Sam Justice 38-39?77. 8, Alex Anderson 39-41? 80. Nick Dartez 40-40 ? 80. 10, Blake Eisler 44-37 ? 81. Matthew Jakuback 39-42?81. Peter Mata 40-41?81. 13, Dillon Soniat 41-41?82. Jonathan Davis 38-44?82. 15, Weldon Furr 42-41?83.
12- to 13-year-olds
Top individuals: 1, Wil Trum 38-40 ? 78. 2, Miller Maestri 37-42 ? 79. Trey Winstead 39-40 ? 79. 4, Cole Arsenault 43-39 ? 82. 5, Travis Arsenault 39-45 ? 84.
9- to 11-year-olds
Top individuals: 1, Andrew Bennett 43. Bryce Trum 43. 3, Tyler Armstrong 44. 4, John Gordon McKernan 46. Brayden Seguin 46.
14- to 17-year-olds
Top individuals: 1, Haley Harrington 39-40 ? 79. 2, Anna Heine 41-42 ? 83. 3, Victoria Burges 59-53 ? 112. 4, Savannah Wiley 58-58 ? 116.