Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

June 11, 2013

Signature shot for Squires

Union native makes unique first impression in Bluegrass Junior qualifier

ASHLAND — Austin Squires of Union, Ky., had never seen the picturesque 15th hole at Bellefonte Country Club before Monday.

No matter. Squires approached the tee and launched a hole-in-one during the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Qualifier for this week’s Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior.

His 6-iron shot over a pond landed about 10 feet past the pin on the course’s par-3 signature hole, which played at 166 yards. The ball rolled back into the cup on the sloped green.

“I choked down on the club, hit a little knock-down,” Squires said. “When I saw it go in, I just threw up my hands.”

On Sunday, the 16-year-old got his first look at BCC during a practice round, but he had to stop after eight holes due to rain. Monday’s shotgun format had him starting on No. 14, a warm-up for his second career ace.

“I’m 100 percent on that hole,” Squires said with a big smile.

His previous hole-in-one came also came on a 15th hole. That shot glanced off a tree at Eagle Creek Country Club — his former home course in Crittenden, Ky.

“I hit a 7-iron and pulled it,” Squires recalled. “My friend was putting and found it in the hole. I didn’t get to see the ball go in, like I did today.”

Squires, part of Ryle High School’s golf team that finished fourth in the State Tournament, also made birdies on 10 and 11 to shoot 34 on the back nine Monday. But he had 10 bogeys for the round to finish at 76.

“This course is short, but you can make some big numbers,” he said.

Still, Squires and Ashland’s Evan Cox were part of a group that came within one shot of making it into a playoff for the last two of nine boys’ qualifying spots. Cox has been busy with high school baseball this spring, playing shortstop and pitching for the Ashland Blazer team that won the 16th Region and competed in last week’s State Tournament in Lexington.

Maysville’s Jackson Frame, along with Justin Perdue (Dublin, Ohio) and Andrew Wood (Zionsville, Ind.) shot 1-over par 71s to tie for medalist honors.

Frame and Perdue were among several players who posted qualifying-caliber scores but had either already secured spots in the main field, or chose to take an exemption toward a future tournament.

In addition to Wood, other boys who played their way into the NRP Bluegrass Junior included: Jacob Eklund (Carbondale, Ill.) 72; Ryan Flick (Beavercreek, Ohio) 72; Carter Skipworth (Richmond, Ky.) 72; Ian Black (Elizabethtown, Ky.) 73; Aaron Persily (Charleston, W.Va.) 73; John Lechleiter (Louisville) 74; Ryan Gerard (Raleigh, N.C.) 75; and Charles Jones (Bowling Green, Ky.) 75.

Gerard and Jones needed extra holes to qualify, both making it in via playoff.

The qualifier consisted of 82 boys and 20 girls, ages 12-18, from 16 states. Players encountered a morning rain delay of almost two hours.

Girls medalist Allyson Dunn of Kingsport, Tenn., posted a 73 to edge Isabella Skinner of Cumming, Ga., by one shot. Both were already in the tournament field.

Rebecca Black (Elizabethtown, Ky.) and Makayla Dull (Fremont, Ohio) came away with the two girls’ qualifying spots in a three-way playoff after carding 80s.

The NRP Bluegrass Junior opens Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. The field will be cut following Thursday’s second round.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.

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