WESTFIELD CENTER â€” Johnny Burke hinted that he could take his first round and leave it. His experience at the Westfield Junior PGA Championship, however, is a different story.
â€œItâ€™s probably the best tournament Iâ€™ve ever played in,â€ the Bay Village resident said. â€œItâ€™s exceeded my expectations. This is a great place for this tournament.â€
Burke, who won the Northern Ohio Section qualifier to get to the par 71 Westfield Group Country Club South Course, finished at 6-over, but walked away feeling like he could still get things back to where they should be.
Six bogeys and a double bogey offset two birdies, leaving the Lakewood St. Edward senior scratching his head.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t enough course management,â€ he said. â€œI had four three-putts and hit the ball in the water hazard on eight to take a double bogey.
â€œIâ€™m relieved the first round is over, but Iâ€™m disappointed in my round.
â€œI wanted to be 1- or 2-over after today so I didnâ€™t need to shoot under par all three rounds the rest of the way.â€
Burke will get his shot at trimming his score when he tees off at 12:18 this afternoon in second round action.
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OHIO CONTINGENT: Firing a 1-over, Canal Fultonâ€™s Justin Lower led the Ohio contingent on Wednesday. Hudson graduate John Hahn fell in line behind Lower at 2-over and was followed by Westfield Centerâ€™s Parker Hewit (+4), Highland Heightsâ€™ Zach Glassman (+6), Lancasterâ€™s Allie White (+6), Burke, West Chesterâ€™s Marissa Steen (+7), Bataviaâ€™s Tyler Hawk (+8), Warrenâ€™s Katie Jurenovich (+11) and Silver Lakeâ€™s Erin Misheff (+14).
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PARKERâ€™S PASS: Hewit had it all going on and then made a mistake heâ€™s probably still thinking about. The Cloverleaf senior was at 1-under through 13 and then watched his tee shot on 14 go through the sand trap and into the water. He shot a double bogey, doubled the next hole, bogeyed 16 and birdied 17. The round ended with a bogey on 18. â€œOn 14, I hit a good shot and got a horrible break,â€ Hewit said. â€œYou have to forget about it, but I took it with me. Some bad pitches, some bad putts here or there, Iâ€™m very disappointed in the way I played. I hit a few bad shots and watched it all crumble in front of me.â€
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SHOT DOWN: Itâ€™ll be hard to beat Jurenovich for the shot of the week. In her final practice round late Tuesday, the Northern Ohio Section champion aced the 160-yard, par 3 ninth hole. It was her first career hole-in-one.
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THAT WAS EASY, THAT WAS HARD: It was feast or famine on the back nine for the 156-player field. The par 5, 10th hole rated the easiest with the average score coming in at 4.81. The hole yielded six eagles, 50 birdies and 27 scores of bogey or worse. The par 4, 11th took the shot right back, averaging 4.89. Only six birdies were made with 99 contestants finishing bogey or worse.
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WORLD FLAVOR: Tom Burnett is a special guest of Westfield this week. The golf pro out of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., has big plans to create a 10-tour World Junior Series that would stretch across such places as the United States, Germany, Asia, South America, Australia and South Africa. Heâ€™s on hand to see how one of the smoothest junior tournaments operates. â€œCary Blair (who brought the Junior PGA Championship to Westfield) is creating role models,â€ Burnett said. â€œWe want to take that a step further.â€
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TAP-INS: What would Westfield be without a little rain. The first round was delayed 75 minutes at the start. Though windy, the day cleared up and players still got in 18 holes with the last group coming off at 8:16 p.m. â€¦ Westfield members certainly stepped to the plate this year to volunteer. Three hundred of them lined up to fill the 170 spots open at this weekendâ€™s tournament. â€¦ There are some celebrities in the house at Westfield. Mary Bea Porter-King, a 25-year LPGA professional, is a rules official for the tournament and assisted Hewit in where to take a drop during his adventurous 14th hole. … Seven hundred fans took in first-round action.