ASHLAND Peter Barros got a shock Monday. The really good kind.
The 14-year-old from Bethesda, Maryland, surprised himself with a 2-under-par 68 at Bellefonte Country Club to win a qualifier for the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior presented by BrickStreet Insurance.
“It’s the lowest score I’ve ever shot,” Barros said after accepting the Tom and Pat Cooksey Award for the boys division.
His two-shot victory featured four birdies, including both par-5s (Nos. 1 and 10).
“Having easy birdies, that helped me on both sides,” Barros said. “The course is a little tight and suits my game. I’m pretty accurate off the tee. I didn’t have to hit long clubs.”
American Junior Golf Association tournaments are for ages 12-19. The 100-player qualifier consisted of 72 boys and 28 girls.
Players had completed the round and were off the course when a downpour hit a course still wet from showers the past week.
Barros will join his older brother, Nicholas, in the field for the 54-hole main event that opens Wednesday with 144 players.
“It should be fun,” Peter said. “We’ve played in a lot of tournaments together. It’s good to learn from him.”
The Barros brothers came to Bellefonte mostly on the strong recommendation of their swing coach. John Scott Rattan, a PGA Professional, led the 2000 Bluegrass Junior entering the final day after shooting 65 in the second round. He finished in a tie for seventh.
After Monday’s heavy shower, Portsmouth’s young Cameron Phillips — Class of 2025 — advanced through a seven-man playoff. They competed for the last six spots after the group tied at 73.
Also among the 14 boys to qualify: Kazuki Yamauchi (Osaka, Japan) 70; Connor Alfieri (Smethport, Pennsylvania) 70; Carl Williams (Crestwood, Kentucky) 71; Jaydan Morgan (Barberton, Ohio) 71; Lyman Brackett (Goshen, Kentucky) 72; Andreas Olsen (Louisville) 73; Aryaman Mohan (Lusaka, Zambia) 73; Brooks Korfhage (Louisville) 73; Evan Rowane (Erie, Pennsylvania) 73; and Fautam Potdukhe (Delhi, India) 73.
Three girls shot 75s to tie for first. On the map, however, their mailing addresses are nowhere near each other. Fifteen-year-old One Kashima, from Japan, received the Cooksey Award as the low girls qualifier who elected to stay and compete in the main tournament.
“I’m so happy,” Kashima said. “This is my third AJGA and I qualified in all of them.”
Arizona-based Hannah Ports, 14, and Louisville’s Grace Walker also shared the top spot, but opted to save their performance stars toward entry in future AJGA events.
Kashima closed with a birdie on par-4 No. 13 after hitting 7-iron to within a foot of the cup.
“Good finish,” she said. “It’s so narrow here and greens are so small, but I like this.”
It’s the first trip to Kentucky for Kashima, who is in her third year at International Junior Golf Academy in South Carolina.
Ports said it was a challenge to navigate the soft fairways and greens.
“I’m happy,” Ports said of her round. “I started out really well. I was 1-over through nine and had a couple of bogeys coming in, but I made a lot of good putts overall.”
Especially a 40-footer to save par on No. 9. However, her shot of the day came at 13 — an 8-iron into the green that stuck just inches from the hole to set up an easy birdie.
Ports’ twin sister — Raina — also competed in the qualifier and tied for fifth.
Kashima led four qualifiers. Joining her: Abigail Sutherland (Glenview, Kentucky), 76; Abbie Lee (Glasgow, Kentucky) 77; and Maggie Knight (Grand Blanc, Michigan) 78.
On tap for today is a morning practice round and afternoon Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament.
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