WESTFIELD CENTER â€” Parker Hewit and Johnny Burke came into Fridayâ€™s third round of the Westfield Junior PGA Championship knowing they would have to do something special to make the cut.
One did, one didnâ€™t, but neither will forget the ride.
Before Friday, Hewit, from Westfield Center, was tied for 46th at 9-over-par. Burke, from Bay Village, was tied for 52nd at 11-over. The top 30, plus ties, make the cut.
â€œThere was a lot of pressure, but my parents played it off,â€ Hewit said. â€œI put the pressure on me.â€
That pressure released early as Hewit scored an eagle on his starting hole â€” No. 10 â€” and made the turn at 4-under for the day. He also got a little redemption on the par-5, 532-yard 15th. A hole he was plus-3 on over two rounds.
Despite bogeying consecutive holes on seven and eight, Hewit finished the day 3-under to make the top 30 at 6-over, tied for 23rd place, one shot above the cut.
â€œIt was awesome,â€ he said. â€œI started with that eagle and that helped. It will feel great playing (today) after playing my first rounds so bad and coming back strong. Itâ€™s a boost of confidence.â€
Confidence is what Burke will take out of Westfield as well.
Though strong on his front nine â€” he shot 2-under â€” he came back to the pack and finished at even on Friday.
At 11-over, he finished in a tie for 42nd, but looked at his upcoming senior year at Lakewood St. Edward with pride.
â€œIt was a great learning experience against great competition,â€ he said. â€œI felt less pressure today to shoot low. I knew I could shoot low, but Iâ€™ve never played in a tournament like this before.
â€œIâ€™m going to go into high school knowing I played with some of the best players in the world.â€
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BUCKEYE BEATS: Hudson graduate John Hahn finished 3-under on the day and is even for the tournament, making him the lowest Ohioan to this point. Hewit and Lancasterâ€™s Allie White (+8) fell in line as Buckeyes who made it to Day 4. Highland Heightsâ€™ Zach Glassman (+9), Canal Fultonâ€™s Justin Lower (+13), West Chesterâ€™s Marissa Steen (+20), Bataviaâ€™s Tyler Hawk (+25), Warrenâ€™s Katie Jurenovich (+31) and Silver Lakeâ€™s Erin Misheff (+42) missed the cut.
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GOOD STUFF: After playing the part of the golfer, the 156-player field will look the part as well. Sponsors from the tournament have decked out the participants with golf grips from Golf Pride, a spike change from Softspikes, a club shaft, hat and T-shirt from Aldila, towel from Club Glove, golf glove from Etonic, a dozen Titleist Pro V1s, personalized trading cards and a crystal trophy with the tournament logo etched in.
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GREAT STRATEGY: For the second consecutive time at Westfield, the girls went off in order and were followed by the boys rather than having the different genders alternate tee times throughout the day. The explanation is simple. With the cut being made Friday, it was imperative to have like conditions for all competitors. â€œThatâ€™s the key with championship golf,â€ said Chris Childers, who is the PGA junior golf manager and tournament director of Westfield. â€œYou donâ€™t want some to have calm conditions in the morning and wind in the afternoon.â€ Tee times will be back to an alternating format today. â€¦ The tee box for the girls was moved up on the seventh, shortening the par-3 hole from 190 yards to 113. â€œWe want to give the girls a different look on par threes,â€ Childers said. â€œIt will also alleviate the logjam thatâ€™s been piling up there.â€ With the entire field cut down to the top 30 on both sides, crowding should not be an issue.
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STAT STUFFER: Jenny Shin, the reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion, Courtney Ellenbogen, the reigning Rolex Tournament of Champion winner, and Brittany Altomare, the reigning Westfield champion, were paired together in the first and second round and all shot 76s to open things up. After round three, Shin missed the cut, Ellenbogen is tied for 19th at 12-over and Altomare is tied for 22nd at plus-13.
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TAP-INS: PGA video rarely misses a shot, which is amazing considering there are just three cameramen, three camera assistants and two reporters on site. â€¦ The name Kristina Merkle might sound familiar. Her father, Lou, played in the 55th PGA Championship in 1973 at Canterbury G.C. in Cleveland. He shot 78-79 and missed the cut in the tournament won by Jack Nicklaus. Kristina shot 77-80-71 at Westfield and made the cut by two strokes. â€¦ Alexis Thompson and Kimberly Kim, both tied for the lead heading into todayâ€™s action, roomed together two years ago at the tournament in the Westfield Inn. â€¦ Fans took advantage of the nice weather as 1,400 rolled through the gates to bring the three-day total to 2,800.