Boring golf leads the way

Published 8:57 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Suffolk’s John David Sanderson reads his putt for birdie on Cedar Point Country Club’s No. 10 in the first round of the Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship on Tuesday. Sanderson shot a four-over par 76.

Chesapeake’s Ashton Newsom fired a bogey-free 68 to lead after the opening round of the Virginia State Golf Association (VSGA) Junior Stroke Play Championship Tuesday at Cedar Point Country Club.

In the field of the 90 top junior players in the state, Cedar Point’s narrow fairways and fast greens, still pretty slick even with a healthy downpour over North Suffolk from Monday night into Tuesday morning, held their own for the most part.

Nine players came in under par. Newsom, a 17-year-old who goes to Greenbrier Christian, was one of three players to shoot 70 or lower along with Richmond’s Christopher Kapsak, who shot a three-under 69, and Midlothian’s Kevin Clarke, who carded a 70.

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“It was pretty boring actually,” Newsom said of his play on Tuesday. Boring is great when boring means no bogeys and little trouble all day.

Newsom started with birdies on Nos. 2,

4 and 5. Cedar Point’s No. 4 is a long, sharply-doglegging par four and No. 5 is the longest par three on the course. Newsom added one more birdie coming in, on the par-five No. 17.

“I was happy with how I hit the ball,” Newsom said. “I could’ve been a lot lower, but I missed a lot of putts.”

“The course is pretty tough. I hit my irons as good as I’ve hit them in awhile and that helped a lot. I also got a few good breaks,” Newsom said.

For Newsom to say he hit the ball better than he has recently is saying quite a bit, even if he felt he could’ve gone lower than four-under par. Earlier this summer, Newsom shot a 65 in the first round of the Virginia Junior Match Play Championship in Haymarket, and a couple weeks ago he played four excellent rounds to finish fifth, at 10-under par total, in the Eastern Amateur at Portsmouth’s Elizabeth Manor.

At 17 years old, Newsom’s already a veteran of the Eastern Amateur, one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments on the East Coast each summer. The fifth-place finish is the best result of his career.

Suffolk’s Adam Peebles was three-under par through 12 holes before a double bogey on No. 4 (his 13th hole of the day) switched his momentum around and he finished at two-over 74.

“I putted really well and hit a lot of greens,” said Peebles, 16 and a rising junior at King’s Fork.

The state tournament is technically in Peebles’ hometown but he doesn’t have much of an advantage over most of the field. Peebles played in a tournament at Cedar Point last week, giving him some experience on the course but putting him at “four or five times” he’s played the private course.

“Some of the tee shots are awkward. Club selection is important on a lot of the holes,” Peebles said.

The defending champion, Blacksburg’s Jake Mondy, shot an even-par 72. Suffolk’s John David Sanderson, a Cedar Point member, shot 76.

Richmond’s Adam Ball, four days after finishing in the semifinal round of the USGA Junior Amateur Championship in Bellingham, Wash., shot 71. Ball, 17, won this event two years ago.

The second round gets underway Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.