By BRAD BOURNIVAL
WESTFIELD CENTER â€” Every time Brinson Paolini sunk a putt the crowd would roar. When he teed off Thursday morning that same crowd clapped in anticipation.
That Paolini was playing third fiddle, so to speak, didnâ€™t bother him at all.
See, the Virginia resident was the â€œother guyâ€ the throng was following in a threesome that included Hudson graduate John Hahn and Medina Countyâ€™s own Parker Hewit.
â€œI couldnâ€™t have picked a better group,â€ Paolini said. â€œIt felt like I had the entire city following me.
â€œIt was a blast. We were talking all around the course.â€
By the time his first two rounds were over, the Virginia state champion won over more than just a few fans. Of course, honesty goes a long way. Paolini penalized himself one stroke for raking the sand trap on No. 11 before addressing the ball.
Shooting a 2-under-par 69 Wednesday, the junior at Frank W. Cox High went 4-over on round two, but walked away with something to take back to his home in Virginia Beach.
â€œIt was great,â€ he said. â€œThey would clap for me even though they would rather be clapping for them. I was just out there trying to make birdies.â€
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INTERESTED: Itâ€™s not a done deal, but The Club at Olde Stone Golf Course in Alvaton , Ky., has approached the PGA about taking over the Junior PGA Championship next year. â€œNothing is official,â€ said Chris Childers, who is the PGA junior golf manager and tournament director of Westfield. â€œI still have to visit the site. We have a date in mind. We just have to see the facility. Title sponsorship will play a role in it.â€ Childers expects an official announcement to come some time in August.
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O-H-I-O: Hahn is back on top in the Buckeye state at 3-over. Canal Fultonâ€™s Justin Lower falls in line behind Hahn at 6-over and is followed by Highland Heightsâ€™ Zach Glassman (+7), Hewit (+9) and Lancasterâ€™s Allie White (+9). Bay Villageâ€™s Johnny Burke (+11), West Chesterâ€™s Marissa Steen (+11), Bataviaâ€™s Tyler Hawk (+17), Warrenâ€™s Katie Jurenovich (+20) and Silver Lakeâ€™s Erin Misheff (+27) round out the list.
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SHOT OF THE DAY: Joe Monte had a pair of eagles on the day, but it was his double birdie on the par 5, 532-yard 15th that wowed the crowd. Facing a 70-foot breaking putt from the opposite side of the green, the 2006 champ sunk it. â€œI got lucky,â€ Monte said. â€œThe ball was going to roll right off of the green if the hole didnâ€™t get in the way.â€
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THOSE BACK NINE BLUES: Hewit wouldnâ€™t mind if the powers that be blew up the back nine on the South Course. The Westfield Center resident thought he had put the demons from Wednesday away only to have them pop back up again Thursday. At 1-over through 14, he bogeyed 15, double-bogeyed 17 and bogeyed 18. â€œIt was the same old, same old,â€ Hewit said. â€œIt was a four-putt on 17 and then I hit a sprinkler head on 18 (on my approach shot) and it hit the grandstands. Iâ€™m playing the front nine great. If I can shoot a decent back, I can move back to the front.â€ Hewit finished the day 5-over.
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YUN WILL GET IT: Andrew Yun might finally get his clubs. The 16-year-old lost his sticks in transit before the Rolex Tournament of Champions last week in Columbus, but was alerted today that they were found. Unfortunately, his Titleists were shipped back to his home in Chandler, Ariz. Those involved are doing their best to next-day air his clubs so he can go off this afternoon in comfort. He sits at 3-over for the tournament, 12 shots off the lead.
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TAP-INS: Count the Big Ten and Big 12 as fans of the Westfield Junior PGA Championship. Through two rounds, 46 college coaches have scouted the 156-player field with just about every school represented from the two conferences. Hoping to land big names, theyâ€™ve come from as far west as Denver and as far south as Louisiana State University. â€¦ The par 5, 10th hole remains the easiest hole with an average score of 4.67, but the No. 1 handicap par-3 seventh took back the title as the hardest hole. Through two rounds, seven has yielded just seven birdies and held golfers to a 3.76 average.
Bournival may be reached at 330-721-4045 or Bournival929@sbcglobal.net.