FORT WAYNE – Brent Brooks wasnt trying to be prescient, as he watched his daughter Sierra roll putts across the practice green Tuesday afternoon. It just worked out that way.
Its either gonna be her week or not, he said.
So far its been both.
Brooks, a golfing prodigy whos 14 now but was just 8 the first time she played in the Calloway Golf Junior World Cup Championship, wound up on ESPNs Top Ten Plays of the Day on Tuesday after holing out a birdie from the bunker on 18. Then she eagled from the fairway on 13 in her second round Wednesday morning.
The bad news was, the birdie on 18 Tuesday was a spectacular finish to a tough day in which Brooks shot 81. Wednesday, she bounced back a bit, shooting 73, 1-over.
All of which made it even tougher on her dad, who played collegiate golf at North Florida and also professionally for a time.
Its so much easier to play this game, absolutely, he said.
If this were boxing, Sycamore Hills would be taking a standing eight count by now.
Fifteen boys and eight girls shot under par in the first round of the Junior PGA Championship, and the respective course records were both tied. J.B. Williams of Danville, Ky., shot a 7-under 65 on the boys side, and Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand tied her own course record with a 6-under 66.
By the end of the girls round Wednesday, Jutanugarn led at 8-under for the tournament, and seven other girls were under par. And the consensus was thats due more to the strength of the field than the golf courses vulnerability.
I think theres a lot of good players out here, so its definitely possible for the winner to be quite a few under, said Casey Donaldson, who shot 1-under 71 in round one, before putting up a 2-under 70 in round two.
I think it sets up really well. If you get a couple bogeys, you can usually get that back. And so if you dont make a lot of mistakes, its very easy to go low.
Chris Childress isnt surprised at all by the scores the golfers are putting up this week. There is some added incentive, after all.
All the boys and girls are on site trying to make the junior Ryder Cup team, said Childress, the PGA of Americas junior golf manager. The winner and runner-up are gonna come out of this field. Therell be three captains picks, boys and girls, come out of this field, and therell be one player that comes off the 12-month cycle point list, which will be finalized at the end of this event.
Little wonder that the field is as strong as it is.
Theres a number of events going on in the country right now, but all the top boys and girls are here, Childress said. The kids with the strongest games in America, theyre in Fort Wayne. Theyre on site, competing here right now.