Watertown MA — It has been a long few months for Jake Shuman (Blue Hill CC), but he is hoping to put an exclamation point on his summer of golf by performing well at this week’s 2012 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship.
Shuman, who will be a junior at Needham High School in the fall, posted a 1-under par 70 at Oakley Country Club on Tuesday and finds himself just two strokes off the overall lead heading into the third and final round of play.
He currently trails day-one leader Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C&PC), who stands at 2-under par 140, and is tied with Jack Lang (Blue Hill CC). Shuman and Lang posted scores of even par 142.
2012 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship Quick Links
“This is my first full week home since sometime in June so there has been a lot of travel,” said Shuman. “It has been nice having something local where I can sleep in my own bed.”
This past June, Shuman competed in two AJGA Invitational events and made the cut in one of them – which was a first for him – at the 2012 Footjoy Invitational in Greensboro (NC). He then traveled to the Golf Club of New England where he gained national attention at the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.
“Making the cut in June was a big accomplishment for me,” said Shuman, who is in the midst of an incredible comeback after breaking his wrist back in March. “I qualified for match play at the U.S. Junior and made it to the round of 32 and that was one heck of an experience.”
Here in Watertown, Shuman is continuing his strong play. He followed up his round-one score of 1-over par 72 with a 1-under par 70 on Tuesday despite making bogey on his final two holes.
“It is up and down right now,” said Shuman. “I was playing really well and was 2 under through 9 and ended up having only three pars on the back nine. I need to find a way to keep the birdies and get rid of the bogies.”
After making a bogey on the his second hole of the day, Shuman carded three straight birdies beginning on the 4th hole to make the turn at 2-under par 34. On the 508-yard, par 5 4th hole, Shuman reached the green in two and was left with an eagle putt from 15 feet. He then hit a beautiful approach – from a divot on the fairway – to 15 feet on the 330-yard, par 4 5th hole. He capped off that stretch by getting up and down from the greenside bunker on the 529-yard, par 5 6th hole.
“I am giving myself a lot of chances and was on in two on all but one of the par 5s today,” said Shuman, who is 3-under par on the par 5s this week. “You don’t need length here so I had a lot of shots where I could hit 4 or 5 irons and still had 8 or 9 irons in. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and putted ok.”
The back nine was an up-and-down struggle for Shuman as he finished that side with four bogies and three birdies. Despite the bogey-bogey finish, Shuman still finds himself near the top of the leaderboard and very much in the hunt for a championship run that could serve as a fine finishing touch to his summer to remember.
“Every hole here is a birdie hole,” said Shuman. “Tomorrow the game plan is to continue to hit mostly irons off tees, limit the mistakes and try to make as many birdies as possible and we’ll see what happens.”
Following the second round of play, the starting field was reduced to the low 52 scorers and ties from the Junior Division and the low 10 scorers from the Boys Division. Those competitors will return to Oakley Country Club on Wednesday to compete in the final round. This year’s Junior Division cut line fell at 13-over par 155.
Shuman Holds Commanding Pre Junior Division Lead
Sitting tied for second overall and in first place in the Pre Junior Division by a commanding six strokes is Lang, who is looking to capture his second straight Pre Junior title and maybe something a little more this year.
“Coming into today I saw that I had a chance,” said Lang, who posted a 3-under par 68 which was the low score of the day. “I was seven back, but I was still gunning for that rather than the Pre Junior because I felt that maybe I could shoot a lower score that way and it worked.”
After posting a 3-over par 74 on Monday, Lang carded two birdies and just one bogey through his first nine holes to make the turn at 1-under par 35.
A key for Lang today was his play on the par 5s where he was even par yesterday and 3-under par today. Two of those par 5s came on the front nine.
First – after almost sending his drive out of bounds on the 508-yard, par 5 4th hole – Lang drew a good lie and sent his 4 iron onto the green and was able to two putt for birdie. On the 529-yard, par 5 6th hole, he found a way to get up and down from 60 yards out for birdie.
“That was the big difference today,” said Lang of his play on the par 5s. “I also didn’t have any three putts, I kept the ball in play and missed a few less greens and had a better round.”
On the back nine, Lang made three birdies – on the 10th, 15th and 18th holes – and just one bogey to cap off his under-par round. He was one of only five players in the field to shoot under par on Tuesday.
“Throughout the whole day my swing didn’t feel quite right but as I went down the stretch it started to come together,” said Shuman. “I had hit some good shots early but then finished with a string of good shots and gave myself some putts for birdie and made a couple.”
Brunelle and O’Leary Hold Boys Division Lead
It will be a fight to the finish for the 10 Boys Division competitors who made the cut this year.
Following the first of two 18-hole rounds, Alec Brunelle (Bradford CC) and Andrew O’Leary (Glen Ellen CC) are tied atop the leaderboard with scores of 5-over par 76.
They are just one stroke ahead of three players who posted scores of 4-over par 77 today – Oisin Treanor (Oakley CC), Alex Yu (Needham GC) and Nicholas Cummings (Marlborough CC).
Schedule of Competition
JUNIOR DIVISION: Entries are open to amateur golfers from an MGA Member Club or full-time Massachusetts residents who have reached their 14th birthday and will not reach their 18th birthday by midnight August 8, 2012.
Monday, August 6 – First Round, 18 Holes.
Tuesday, August 7 – Second Round, 18 Holes. The 50 lowest scorers and ties in the Junior Division continue play on Wednesday, August 8.
**If there are no 14-15 year old competitors who fall within the 50 lowest scorers and ties in the Junior Division, the Pre-Junior Champion will be determined based on the 36-hole scores. In the event of a tie, Co-Champions will be designated.
Wednesday, August 8 – Final Round, 18 Holes. The MGA Junior Amateur Champion will be the low scorer for 54 holes from the Junior Division (14-17). Any tie for first place will be decided immediately by a hole-by-hole playoff.
***The 14-15 year old low scorer, in the Junior Division, will be the Pre-Junior Champion. Any tie for first place (after 54 holes) will be decided immediately by a hole-by-hole playoff.
BOYS DIVISION: Entries are open to amateur golfers from an MGA Member Club or full-time Massachusetts residents who will not reach their 14th birthday by midnight August 8, 2012.
Tuesday, August 7 – First Round, 18 Holes.
The 10 lowest scorers and ties in the Boys Division continue play on Wednesday, August 8.
Wednesday, August 8 – Final Round, 18 Holes.
The MGA Boys Division Champion (13 & under) will be the low scorer for 36 holes. Any tie for first place will be decided immediately by a hole-by-hole playoff.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?