By STEVE WILLIAMS
Tanner Owen of High Point has climbed all the way to the No. 2 slot in the North Carolina junior boys rankings and he’s done it with a fantastic fall finish.
Owen, a sophomore at Bishop McGuinness High School, captured the Tarheel Youth Golf Association State Championship at Sapona Country Club in Lexington in early October and followed up with a solid win on the Tarheel Junior Golf Tour’s Triad Fall Championship at Willow Creek in High Point.
The lefty began his year with a second-place finish behind high school teammate Stanhope Johnson in the state 1-A championship and hasn’t slowed down since.
In August, he finished second in the AJGA’s Webb Simpson Junior Championship at Tanglewood and added a third-place showing at the Joe Cheves Junior at Mimosa Hills in Morganton.
But his win at the TYGA State tournament may have been his most impressive performance of the year.
He was the only player in the strong field to finish under par on the 6,560-yard, par-71 Sapona layout and he did it with rounds of 69-68. And the field that he outdistanced by seven shots included state 4-A champion Benjamin Griffin of Chapel Hill and state 2-A champion and Cheves champion Taylor Coalson of Dobson.
“I played really well both days,” Owen said. “I stuck with my game plan and I had a lot of confidence in my putting and that carried out into the score.”
Owen said he doesn’t pay attention to the rest of the field in tournaments.
“Just play the best you can and if you don’t finish as high as you want, there’s nothing to get down about,” he said.
Even though the margin of victory was seven, it wasn’t decided until the closing stages. Owen took care of that, playing the last 10 holes in 4-under.
The 57-player field featured four of the top five ranked players in the state (Johnson was the exception), including top-ranked Miller Capps of Denver.
“We had 16 of the top 25 boys playing and for Tanner to win by seven shots, it says a lot about his game,” said Jason Cox, director of junior golf for the CGA. “To shoot 69-68 on that golf course the way we had it set up is really impressive.”
Tarheel Junior Golf Tour
SALISBURY • Oct. 29-30 – Jacob Hicks of Mebane claimed his fourth win of the year while shooting 73-72 at the Country Club of Salisbury in the Tarheel Junior Golf Tour’s Carolinas Western Junior.
Hicks, a senior at Alamance Christian, turned back Patrick Cover of Huntersville by three shots in the high school boys division.
It was his third win on the tour – the others were at Little River in September and at Duke University Golf Club in July. He also won the Heat from the Heart Junior Open in June.
In the Middle School division, Logan Shuping of Salisbury shot 79-77 for a one-shot victory.
Precision Junior Championships
BROWN SUMMIT • Oct. 22-23 – Ben Schlottman of Advance fired a first-round 69 to open and two-shot lead and he held on to win the Precision Junior Boys Championship at Bryan Park.
Schlottman followed his 69 on the Players Course with a 75 on the Champions Course and he ended one shot better than Jeremy Grab of Daniel Island, S.C., who carded 71-74.
Justin Franklin of High Point finished third with 75-74.
In the boys 12-14 event, George Schmitt of Elon carded 76-80 to claim a four-shot victory.
TYGA Team Championship
WEST END • Nov. 4-5 – Luke Haithcock of Burlington fired a final-round 69 at Seven Lakes Country Club to win boys medalist honors and helped his threesome to second place in the TYGA team championship.
Haithcock ended with 144, one better than Tyler Lail of Conover.
International Junior Golf Tour
HILTON HEAD ISLAND • Oct. 29-30 – Brantley Phillips of Greensboro captured the Boys 14-under division of the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) tournament at Oyster Reef Golf Club.
Phillips, an eighth grader at Caldwell Academy, closed with a back-nine 34 while building his final margin to 11 shots. He shot 79 in windy first-round conditions but still managed a one-shot lead. His 72 in round two sealed his first IJGT win.
WEST END • Nov. 5-6 – Thomas Walsh of High Point finished third and Chandler White of Clemmons tied for sixth in the IJGT tournament at The Dormie Club.
Walsh’s 76-75 effort was five shots off the pace of William Gordon of Davidson in the boys 15-19 division. White was 11 shots off the pace with 79-78.
In the boys 14-under division, Davis Castelli of Greensboro claimed first place with 87-83.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND • Oct. 1-2 – Chandler White shot 76-77 and tied for fourth in the IJGT event at Shipyard Golf Club.
Playing in the boys 15-19 division, White was five shots behind Taylor Simonsen of Beaufort, S.C.
N.C. Junior Golf Foundation
CHAPEL HILL • Oct. 22-23 – Cecily Overbey of High Point won the girls division of the UNC Tarheel Junior, carding a pair of 76s at Finley Golf Club and walking away with a 24-shot margin.
Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Tour
Lucia Polo of Greensboro and Alexis Kershaw of Winston-Salem captured Fall Preview wins on the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour in October.
Polo won by six with an even-par 72 at Chapel Ridge in Pittsboro and Kershaw posted a 77 at Longleaf in Southern Pines for a one-shot win.