FORT WAYNE – Rylee Reinertson’s golf game was awe-inspiring in the second round of the Junior PGA Golf Tournament. He was 5 under on the front nine and beating the best junior golfers in the world on one of the nation’s most esteemed courses.
Reinertson slid on the back nine at Sycamore Hills Golf Club, finishing with a 2-under 70 to put him in a tie for fourth at 5 under. The hearing-impaired golfer is two strokes back of the leader, Tyler McDaniel, at the tournament’s halfway point.
But, it’s clear Reinertson will be a factor.
I did a lot of things really good on the front nine, and I was able to make a couple of putts, which was good to see, said Reinertson, 16, of Gibbon, Neb. I got off to a really hot start at 5 under on the front nine. I struggled on the back nine, but overall, 2 under is a pretty good score out here.
Reinertson is an accomplished player in his home state. He was co-winner of Nebraska Junior Amateur Golfer of the Year last year and has been on a tear this summer, winning a PGA Junior Series event in Nebraska City to earn his spot at Sycamore Hills.
It’s been good for confidence the whole summer, he said.
Coming in here, I wanted to have a good time, and I’m playing pretty well, so I’m happy.
Reinertson has been hearing impaired since he was 3 and using aids since he was 10. But he has few problems on the course.
Once in a while when it gets hot and I start sweating, it makes (the hearing aids) cut in and out. But other than that, it’s good for me, he said.
McDaniel, 16, of Manchester, Ky., shot a second-round 69 to take the lead. Jim Liu, 16, of Smithtown, N.Y., is in second at 6-under 71.
You’ve just got to stay patient and take any bad breaks with a positive attitude and try to make up any ground if you lose any on the course, Liu said.
Cameron Champ of Sacramento, Calif., and Rhyne Jones of Blowing Rock, S.C., are tied with Reinertson.
The first-round leader, J.B. Williams of Danville, Ky., who tied a course record with a 65, had a second-round 80 and fell to a tie for 15th at 1 over.
On the girls’ side, Ariya Jutanugarn, 16, seems well on her way to becoming the first back-to-back winner since In-Bee Park in 2001 and 2002. After shooting a second-round 70, Jutanugarn of Thailand is at 8 under and two strokes ahead of Samantha Wagner, 15, of Windermere, Fla.
In the first round, my driver was not very good, but my irons helped me a lot, said Jutanugarn, who had posted a first-round 66, which equaled the course record she first set last year and has been shot three times.
But today, my driver was good and my irons were so bad. I was always either 10 yards over the green or 10 yards short of the green.
Alison Lee, 17, of Valencia, Calif., is in third place at 4 under after shooting a 67 Wednesday.
The fields of 78 will be trimmed to the top 30 and ties for the final round after today’s round.