HARTFORD, Conn. – Records are falling at the Boys Junior PGA Championship, yet again. Canon Claycomb, 17, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Timothy Magcalayo, 16, of The Philippines, will share a place in the Championship’s newly rewritten record book, having shot the lowest First Round score ever at 62.
They broke the opening round scoring mark by two strokes, which was set by Dawson Ovard two years ago, and they were both one shot off Akshay Bhatia’s all-time championship score of 61, also set in 2017.
In addition, they now share the Keney Park Golf Course record with Megha Ganne, who shot a 62 in the Girls Junior PGA Championship three weeks ago; Adam Rinaud, PGA, from the 2018 Connecticut PGA Championship; and Clark Robinson, shot during a Connecticut Open qualifier.
Claycomb (32-30 62), who played on the 2018 United States Junior Ryder Cup Team in Paris, had a bogey-free round, despite a frustrating start. He drove the green on the par-4, 330-yard Hole No. 1, but wound up three-putting for par. He would right the ship and sink eight birdies on the day, including an 8-footer on No. 18 to close out his round.
Earlier, he had a 20-foot birdie on Hole No. 4 that broke twice and dropped in the cup. Then, on the par-3, 151-yard No. 6, he hit a high flair wide, but quickly recovered for a key birdie.
“I hit the best lob shot in my career, and I made it in,” said Claycomb, a University of Alabama commit, who plans to enroll next January.
Magcalayo (30-32 62), who started on the back nine, had a chance to tie Bhatia’s record on his final hole (No. 9). His 8-foot putt halted a foot short. He tapped in for a closing par.
“When I am playing my game, every shot should be good,” said Magcalayo, who won last week’s AJGA Junior at Chicopee in Massachusetts.
He also came within a whisker of a hole-in-one on No. 6 that was a foot from the pin. The birdie would have plenty of company, as he also had four consecutive birdies on Hole Nos. 12-16; three-in-a-row on Hole Nos. 1-3; and another on No. 5. The only blemish on his scorecard was a bogey on No. 4.
“This course is not a joke,” stressed Magcalayo, who is being recruited by several schools across the country.
After just one hole played in the 44th Boys Junior PGA Championship, at the 6,446-yard, par-70 Keney Park Golf Course, there was little doubt that the scores would be low Tuesday, despite a blistering 100-degree heat index.
In the championship's first group off the tee was Andy Mao, 18, of Johns Creek, Georgia, who recorded a fancy 20-yard chip in from the fringe for eagle on the Par-4, 330-yard opening stanza. Mao would add another eagle on No. 12 and five birdies. He would still have a couple of speed bumps along the way, with a double bogey on No. 4 and a bogey on No. 8. However, his scorching 29 on the back nine would match the weather.
All told, Mao, who will attend Georgia Tech in the Fall, shot a 6-under par 64, in a tie for third with Peyton Snoeberger, of Lafayette, Indiana.
Six players are tied for fifth, firing a 5-under par 65, three shots off the lead, including: USC commit Jackson Rivera, 16, of Rancho Santa Fe, California; Tyler Goecke, 18, of Xenia, Ohio; Pierce Johnson, 16, of Dallas; Isaiah Kanno, 18, of Hilo, Hawaii; Jack Heath, 17, of Charlotte; and University of North Carolina commit Peter Fountain, 18, of Raleigh.
One of golf’s major championships for juniors, the Boys Junior PGA Championship is where the best in the world get their start including: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Trevor Immelman, Justin Leonard, David Toms and Scott Verplank. The 2019 field features 144 of the top junior players age 18 and under from around the country.
News & Notes
There are three sets of brothers in the field: Canon and Cooper Claycomb, of Bowling Green, Kentucky; George and Josh Duangmanee, of Fairfax, Virginia; and twins David and Maxwell Ford, of Peachtree Corners, Georgia. The Ford twins are both ranked in the Boys Top 25 by Golfweek.
Tommy’s Tale Will Warm Your Heart
Tommy Morrison, 14, of Dallas, is ranked No. 1 for the Class of 2023. He won the individual medalist title and led his school to the 2018 NCISAA Division 2A Championship at age 13. Now a towering presence at 6 feet 8 ¾ inches tall, Morrison was born with pulmonary valve stenosis and underwent heart surgery two weeks later. Morrison has raised $12,000 for New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where he had the surgery; and teamed with his 16-year-old brother, Jack, to raise another $15,000 for the Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Foundation. Morrison recently met with Jack and Barbara Nicklaus to present an oversized check. “To see what all the guys on Tour like Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas do, watching them give back on a day-to-day basis, I wanted to follow in their path,” explained Morrison.
Morrison also received a lesson from Ben Crenshaw a few weeks ago. “He told me, ‘Don’t change anything,’” Morrison explained. “To hear him say something like that, I felt like it validated everything I’m doing. It was awesome."
Morrison stands at even par after the first round, eight shots off the lead.
Jake Beber-Frankel, 17, of Miami is the son of Academy Award and Emmy Award winning Director David Frankel (Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me, Band of Brothers, Entourage), Beber-Frankel, 17, is one of the most colorful junior players, with his long, flowing hair. His grandfather, Max, won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage in the New York Times of President Nixon’s trip to China in 1973. Ranked No. 8 for the Class of 2020, Jake Beber-Frankel is a Stanford commit. He is tied for 14th at 3-under par after the first round.
That’s Nine from the Nutmeg State!
Having a homecoming week are nine Connecticut natives competing for the Championship. Below are their first-round scores:
Ben James, 16, Milford, Conn. – T-14 – 3-under par 67
William Celeberti, 18, Ridgewood, N.J. (Born in Greenwich) – T-29 – 1-under-par 69
Alex Aurora, 18, Hamden, Conn. – T-51 – Even par 70
Alexander Gu, 17, Darien, Conn. - T-51 – Even par 70
Will Lodge, 15, Darien, Conn. – T-51 - Even par 70
Christopher Fosdick, 18, Middlefield, Conn. – T-72 – 1-over-par 71
Tyler Woodward, 18, Durham, Conn. – T-124 - 5-over par 75
Jeremy Yun, 16, Old Saybrook, Conn., and Menlo Park, Calif. – T-124 - 5-over par 75
Jonathan Elkins, 18, S. Deerfield, Mass. (Born in Hartford) – T-141 – 8-over par 78
Next Year in Port St. Lucie
The 2020 Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championships will be played at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida. PGA Golf Club is owned and operated by the PGA of America.