Sunday, July 25, 2010

St. X golfer takes 2d place in U.S. Boys' Junior Amateur

Justin Thomas is a 17-year-old golfer from Goshen, Kentucky. He plays for Louisville St. Xavier and has already accepted a golf scholarship to the University of Alabama. This week he played in the U.S. Junior Amateur, the national championship for boys under the age of 18. The tournament was played at the Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada, Michigan (close to Grand Rapids).

Thomas had a great tournament. In two rounds of stroke play he shot 69+67=136 -- eight under par, tying for fourth in the whole field. He then won five matches in a row to reach the finals:

5 & 3 over Andrew Ariens of Mansfield, Texas
5 & 3 over Khaled Attieh of Saudi Arabia
2 up over Jorge Fernandez Valdes of Argentina
2 & 1 over Scott Wolfes of St. Simons Island, Georgia
1 up (in 19 holes) over Denny McCarthy of Burtonsville, Maryland

This put him in the final against Jim Liu of Smithtown, New York. Liu was born on August 9, 1995 and was trying to break Tiger Woods's record to become the youngest winner ever of this tournament.

It was quite a match. In the first 18-hole round, Thomas shot the equivalent of 5-under par -- but Liu was 8-under. Liu continued to play well down the stretch, and eventually pulled off his record-breaking win by the score of 4 and 2.

Woods, by the way, defended his title two more times -- and then won three consecutive U.S. Amateurs. We will see if Liu can match that. Meanwhile, we will be keeping an eye on Thomas's career as well. Kenny Perry is in his late 40s, so Kentucky could use another great golfer.

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