29 Dec 2017 American Junior Golf Tournament Round 2 Recap
Abnormally cool conditions prevailed for the second straight day at the eighth annual American Junior golf tournament but Spain’s Valentina Albertazzi and a pair of American boys, James Balato (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) and Chandler Ford (Atlantic Beach, Fla.) were studies in perseverance and they lead their respective divisions through two rounds at the Slammer & Squire course at World Golf Village.
After recording the only sub-par score among the field in Round 1, a 1-under 71, Albertazzi worked hard in temperatures hovering only in the mid-40s to post a 1-over 73 and the 16-year-old from Marbella leads Sweden’s Anna Nordfors by three strokes with one round left to play. On Friday, Albertazzi made three bogeys going out and turned in 3-over 39. However, she rebounded with two birdies over the first four holes on her second nine and finished off the round with five consecutive pars.
“I actually think it was harder to play today. There were a few times where I couldn’t feel my fingers but I just kept telling myself to just keep making pars,” Albertazzi said. “I think the key to my day was when I made the 10-foot birdie at No. 2. After that, I settled in and then made another birdie two holes later. That really helped.”
In the boy’s division, Jacksonville-area products Balato and Ford both rebounded from opening-round 76s by shooting 1-under 71s on Friday. They are one stroke in front of Karl-Filip Einarsson of Sweden.
Despite the adverse weather, Ballato started fast with birdies on two of his first three holes and then played his last 15 holes in 1-over-par. Ford survived a double-bogey at the 10th hole, making five birdies during the round, including two on his last four holes.
“I bladed my second shot over the green at No. 10 and that led to a double. In this game, you can’t have a long memory and I was able to shake it off and make a few birdies coming in,” Ford said.
“It was a tough day to play but I’m happy with how it turned out,” Balato said. “I’m excited for tomorrow and hope I can play well again.”
In the boy’s 21-over division, featuring just four competitors, Educador’s Mateo Gavilanes recovered from an opening-round 80 with a 1-under 71 today and is tied with Germany’s Constantin Unger after 36 holes.
This year’s tournament, featuring many of the top juniors in the world (34 boys and 14 girls between the ages of 12 – 19) collectively features players from 20 different countries, including five from Myanmar. The 2017 American Junior is open to the public and final-round play will start at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. To attend, visit the Slammer and Squire Course golf course in World Golf Village.