Written By AJGA
Greensboro, N.C. - Carson Young of Pendleton, S.C., and J.D. Lehman of Bluffton, S.C., are tied for the first-round lead at the FJ Invitational after firing matching 4-under-par 66s at Sedgefield Country Club - Donald Ross Course in Greensboro, N.C.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the FJ Invitational is a 72-hole stroke play competition played on the par-70 Donald Ross Course at Sedgefield Country Club. The event features 84 boys, ages 15-18, from 26 states and four countries. The Boys Division plays the course at 7,097 yards.
Lehman got hot on the back nine, riding four birdies and no bogeys to a 4-under-par score on the side, a stark contrast to his up-and-down time on the front, where he had three bogeys, birdies and pars.
"It was weird, but you just keep playing every shot as it comes and it worked out," Lehman said.
Young, a senior committed to play at Clemson in the fall, used stellar iron play to hit 16 greens on the day, which compensated for the fact that he only hit five fairways.
"Irons and approach shots were the key," Young said. " [They] helped me feel good and gave me confidence."
Young will use that momentum boost heading into the final three rounds, as he knows it will take similar showings on each day with such a strong field.
"I'm looking to do the same thing tomorrow," Young said. "I'm playing with the best juniors in America, it's big time."
Matt Gilchrest, who is in a tie for third, of Southlake, Texas, sits at 2-under-par after an opening-round 68. Gilchrest, who played with Young, said watching him helped elevate his level of play as they matched each other shot-for-shot. Gilchrest, a senior, said facing that level of competition is a perfect reminder about just how special playing in invitationals can be.
"I really didn't realize how special [invitationals] were until the end," Gilchrest said. "I only have two left."
Also in a tie for third, after a 2-under-par 68, is George Cunningham of Tucson, Ariz., who highlighted his round with an ace at No. 12. The ace came from 238 yards out with a 3-iron on the downhill 12th hole, it hit, took a hard bounce left and found its way into the hole.
Ben Schlottman from Advance, N.C., 15 minutes away from Sedgefield, had a rough morning, but it turned out well as he finished in a tie for third with a 2-under-par 68. Schlottman woke up 45 minutes before his tee time and ate breakfast on the run, but some smooth putting and good iron play allowed him to finish high.
"I hit the ball worse than I have in a long time," Schlottman said. "But I was two feet from the hole on almost every hole on the back, so that helped. I'll hit it better tomorrow."
Tied for sixth with 1-under-par 69s are Raul Pereda de la Huerta of Cordoba, Mexico, and Benjamin Griffin of Chapel Hill, N.C. In a four-way tie for eighth are Davis Riley of Hattiesburg, Miss., William Register of Burlington, N.C., Jonathan Hardee of Greer, S.C., and Drew Johnson of Oak Ridge N.C.
Second-round tee times will run from 7-11:30 a.m. off the No. 1 tee at Sedgefield Country Club - Donald Ross Course.