Kentucky's Smith and Finney Qualify for U.S. Junior Amateur
Kentuckians Smith and Finney among the three who qualify for U.S. Junior Amateur.
OWENSBORO, KY (June 27, 2022) - Brady Smith, Jackson Finney and River Stilley can start preparing to compete at one of American golf’s most incredible venues for one of the biggest championships in junior golf worldwide. Today, those three players qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur at Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Oregon which will take place on July 25-30.
The Country Club of Owensboro hosted Kentucky’s sole qualifier for this championship on Monday where sixty players entered the field hoping to lock down one of those exemptions. Brady Smith of Simpsonville took medalist honors thanks to the low round of the day with 68 (-4). Smith was even-par after his front nine, but four birdies against a bogey-free inward half led to a spirited 32 (-4) that pushed him over the top and into the field in Oregon.
One shot behind him was Louisville’s Jackson Finney who secured the last guaranteed spot that did not end up needing a playoff. Much like Smith, Finney was even at the halfway point, but didn’t have any bogeys down the stretch while three birdies painted his scorecard on holes 10-12. Pars the rest of the way gave the St. Xavier graduate and future Cincinnati Bearcat his spot in the Beaver State.
A playoff was needed to determine the final exempt spot after River Stilley of Benton, Illinois and Richmond’s Warren Thomis tied for third with matching scores of 70 (-2). The subsequent extra golf needed just one hole to decide a winner, as Stilley made a 4 to Thomis’ 5 to wrap up the final guaranteed spot at Bandon Dunes.
Thomis is now the first alternate from this qualifying site while Union’s Christopher Harpum is the second alternate. Harpum finished the qualifier in solo-fifth with a score of 71 (-1) to clinch that position.
NOTES & STATS
- Five eagles were made throughout the qualifier and all came on par-fives. Holes 1 and 10 each had two while the 3rd had one made courtesy of Brayden Casolari.
- Casolari’s eagle helped the 3rd play as the easiest hole of the day. To go alongside 23 birdies, it played to a stroke-to-par average of -0.35.
- The par-four 12th was the hardest hole at Country Club of Owensboro with +0.75. While it had more birdies on it than ten other holes (8), many players encountered difficulty here with 31 making bogey or worse.
- Both nines did play to a similar rate with 38.42 being the average score of holes 1-9 compared to 38.49 on holes 10-18. Combined, that made the scoring average 76.91 (+4.91).
Kentucky Junior Golf and the Kentucky Golf Association extend their thanks to Jason Fitch, PGA Head Golf Professional and the entire staff at Country Club of Owensboro for their assistance in hosting this qualifier. Additionally, appreciation is sent towards each player who competed in today’s event.
A big week in Kentucky Junior Golf continues Tuesday and Wednesday with the Kentucky Girls & 9-Hole Boys Junior Amateur. The second major championship of the year on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour will crown champions from seven divisions, including the overall winner of the Kentucky Girls Junior Amateur. Tee times for the opening round of that event can be found by clicking here.
About Kentucky Junior Golf:
Kentucky Junior Golf is part of the Kentucky Golf Foundation, one of three organizations that comprises Golf House Kentucky. Kentucky Junior Golf includes the state’s top tournaments and programs for the state’s golfers aged 18 or younger, featuring the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour, Youth on Course, the Youth on Course caddie program, PGA Jr. League, and Drive, Chip & Putt. Kentucky Junior Golf is dedicated to introducing Kentucky’s youth to the game of golf, providing resources to further enjoyment within the sport, and developing the skills necessary for players to thrive both on and off the golf course.
About the Kentucky Golf Association:
The Kentucky Golf Association (KGA) is one of the three organizations encompassed under Golf House Kentucky, in addition to the Kentucky Golf Foundation (KGF) and Kentucky PGA Section (KPGA). The Kentucky Golf Association represents the amateur body of Kentucky’s golfers working in assistance with the United States Golf Association (USGA). The KGA provides a wide range of services, including handicapping, USGA course and slope ratings, and tournament management software to its Member Clubs. The KGA also operates the state’s premier amateur tournaments along with USGA National Championship qualifiers. Alongside the KGF and KPGA, the KGA strives to promote the benefits and enjoyment of golf while continuing to grow the sport across the Commonwealth.
Ethan Fisher, PGA | Golf House Kentucky | firstname.lastname@example.org | (502) 792-9703