Golf: Juniors go low at International Optimist qualifer

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Golf: Juniors go low at International Optimist qualifer

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Kings High School freshman Alex Swayne poses with golfer Mark O’Meara after she won the National Drive, Chip and Putt compeitition at Augusta National Golf Club. CONTRIBUTED

There were two shocking numbers on the scoreboard at the Yankee Trace golf club last week during the South Dayton Qualifier for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships.

Cole Christman, a 16-year-old from Youngstown, posted a 6-under-par 66 while playing the Heritage and Vintage courses at Yankee to bury everyone in the boys 16-18 age group.

Later in the day Alexandra Swayne of Maineville came in with an astonishing 64, which is 8-under-par for a 6,052-yard trip around the Heritage course from the white tees and the Vintage nine from the blues.

Swayne’s performance capped a marvelous 10 days for the 17-year-old who has committed to play college golf at Clemson University.

She won the 54-hole AJGA Junior Championship at Penn State on May 29 with scores of 72-71-70. On the following day she finished first among girls 15-18 in the Junior World Championship at NCR Country Club.

Christman, a rising junior at Boardman High School, sprinkled six birdies among 12 pars in the first bogey-free round of his life as he bettered his best previous low score (67) by one stroke on a course that measured 6,685 yards.

“Everything clicked perfectly,” he said. “My putting was really on line and I gave myself plenty of chances.”

Christman has been a member of Boardman’s Division I state tournament team as a freshman and a sophomore and expects to return this Fall because the Spartans will have four seniors and him returning from the group that finished sixth last year.

Christman traveled farther than anyone else in the field (250 miles) to claim a spot in the national championship at PGA National Resort in West Palm Beach, Fla., in July. He also played well in the AJGA event at Penn State and the Junior World at NCR.

On a course that measured 6,052 yards, Swayne made eight pars, nine birdies and one bogey. She birdied three of the four par 5s.

Swayne is no stranger to success. Two years ago she won the Drive, Chip and Putt Contest for 14- and 15-year-olds during Masters week at Augusta National Golf Course and was interviewed on national TV shows.

After attending Kings High School for two years and part of a third, she asked her parents to send her to school at a golf academy in South Carolina. The parents opted to have her remain at home and take classes online from the Lebanon-based Greater Ohio Virtual School.

Described by her father as “an extremely hard worker,” she regularly sees a physical trainer (Lance Olberding), a psychology mentor (Brian Arlinghaus) and PGA golf professional Sonny Rinala, who works at Etter’s Custom Golf Center in Cincinnati.

Chip Shots

The Miami Valley Masters will conduct their second event of the season Monday at the former Meadowbrook Country Club.

If you planned to sign up for the U.S. Men’s Amateur qualifier July 10 at Moraine CC, forget it. The field is full.

The City of Dayton’s Junior Stroke Play Championship will be held on June 16 at Kittyhawk Golf Center. Golfers ages 10-13 play nine holes and those 14-18 play 18 holes.

Rollandia Golf Center will host the DDWGA “Get A Girl Golfing” outing on June 16.

The Ohio Golf Association’s Junior Championship will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at Ashland Country Club.

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