REVAMPED PUTTING KEY AS BECK SURGES INTO THE LEAD
Hour-and-a-half rain delay no problem for Beck at The Junior PLAYERS Championship
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Evan Beck, 17, of Virginia Beach, Va., sank putt after putt to record five birdies en route to a second-round 3-under-par 69 to take the lead at The Junior PLAYERS Championship. Combined with his first-round 2-under-par 70, Beck is 5-under-par for the tournament and the sole leader heading into Sunday's final round at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Three shots behind Beck at 2-under-par 142 are Pontus Widegren of Danderyd, Sweden, Talor Gooch of Midwest City, Okla., and Julian Suri of St. Augustine, Fla.
The PGA TOUR, in cooperation with the American Junior Golf Association, brought 78 players from 18 states and 12 foreign countries to TPC Sawgrass for a special junior golf experience. The Junior PLAYERS Championship, mirrored after THE PLAYERS, is being played on the par-72 THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. The course is setup at 7,215 yards, the same as the PGA TOUR event that brings together the deepest tournament field in professional golf. Tournament participants are furnished with professional caddies, access to the TOUR locker room and tournament gifts that give this event a PGA TOUR-like feel.
Beck, who is currently ranked No. 4 in the Polo Golf Rankings and recently won the Golf Pride Junior Classic, recorded birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 6, 12 and 14. Solid putting and smart play lead Beck to another under-par round at his first AJGA Invitational.
“I played awesome today,” Beck said. “I hit lots of greens and luckily made a few putts. On No. 14 the pin was back left and I hit a 6-iron to probably five feet. I was aiming for the middle of the green and yanked it, so I guess I got lucky.”
An hour-and-a-half rain delay was no problem to Beck, who recorded that last birdie on the 481-yard, par-4 14th, after restarting on No. 13. The runner-up of U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, Beck looks to continue his consistent play and solid putting in tomorrow's final round.
“I think tomorrow will be a lot of fun,” he said. “This is my first AJGA Invitational and I want to keep doing what I'm doing, play hard and see what happens.”
Widegren and Gooch will join Beck in the lead group Sunday teeing off at 9:48 off No. 1 after posting a 4-under-par 68 and 1-under-par 71, respectively. Suri will tee off at 9:39 with Crawford Reeves of Greenville, S.C., and Anders Kristiansen of Hafslundsoy, Norway, who are tied for fifth after second-round totals of even-par 144. Also tied for fifth and teeing off at 9:30 are Seth Reeves of Duluth, Ga., James Back of Seoul, South Korea, and Lucas Bjerregaard of Frederikshavn, Denmark.
Final-round action will begin off the first and 10th tees of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course Sunday at 8 a.m. Spectators are welcome to attend and admission is free of charge.
For more information about The Junior PLAYERS Championship, contact AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (904) 273-2381.