Golf from coast to coast

Published 7:18 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chesapeake’s Ashton Newsom watches his putt from the fringe of the fifth green during Wednesday’s play in the Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship. Newsom is three shots off the lead going into the final round on Thursday at Cedar Point Country Club.

Every golfer in the Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship was right to feel tired at the end of Wednesday’s second round.

The afternoon temperature reached the low 90s and counting Monday’s practice round, the 90 players had played three rounds in three days with Thursday’s final round still to go.

Adam Ball had very good reason to be, as he put it a few minutes after finishing a two-under par score of 70, “unbelievably exhausted.”

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Ball, 17, reached the final four of the USGA Junior Amateur Championship last week in Washington. Not the Washington just up I-95, which can take awhile to get to and from, but Washington 3,000 miles away in the Pacific Northwest.

The USGA tournament meant nine rounds for Ball, concluding Friday.

“We figured out I walked 71 miles out there,” Ball said.

“I got back here, took one day off, then had a practice round here. There’s been no time to catch up. I’ve been trying to go to bed as early as I can and make sure I’m getting enough sleep,” Ball said.

Ball is dealing with the changing time zones and fatigue, but more impressively, he’s played outstanding no matter which coast he’s on.

Going back to the U.S. Junior Amateur, Ball trailed by three holes with five to play in his quarterfinal match on Thursday. With a birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle finish, he turned the three-hole deficit into a 2-up win.

“The last five holes something just hit me. I was completely focused. Each shot was perfect, each one flew exactly like I wanted it to. Going six-under in five holes was incredible. It was the best stretch of golf in my life,” Ball said.

“I was very happy with how I played. Of course, going there, the goal is to win it, but I had a good time and it was a great experience,” Ball said.

Ball’s carded a 72 and a two-under par 70 putting himself one shot off the lead with Thursday‘s 18 to play.

“I’m playing solid, but I’ve got to go out (Thursday) and make a few birdies. I know I can birdie any hole out here. It’s just a matter of doing it,” Ball said.

Virginia Beach’s Alex Lloyd, 17, is the leader with back-to-back rounds better than par, 71 and 70. Lloyd, from Kellam, is the defending VHSL (Virginia High School League) Group AAA state champion.

Glen Allen’s Jason Schumacher is the only other golfer to break par both of the first two rounds, with consecutive 71s.

The 70s by Ball, Lloyd and Richmond’s Mark Lawrence, who’s tied with defending champion Jake Mondy only two shots behind Lloyd, were the low rounds of the day.

Suffolk’s Adam Peebles, 16, was among the leaders after his first-round 74 but shot 80 on Wednesday.

Suffolk’s and Cedar Point’s John David Sanderson, 18, shot 76 and 78 for his first two rounds.

“I haven’t played well. I’m a little disappointed,” Sanderson said.

“I’ve had a very good summer, which is why I expected to do a little better this week,” he said.

Sanderson, a rising senior at Summit Christian in Newport News, finished in the top 16 of the VSGA Amateur Championship. He has important dates still to go on his summer schedule, including an American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournament at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.