While Perry Hoag, Christian Labrador and Jack Glenn shared the second-day lead in the boys division of the AJGA Kansas Junior at Buffalo Dunes with 1-under-par 143s, local golfer Sion Audrain put himself back in the hunt for Thursday’s final round of the 54-hole tournament.
Japan’s Nao Ohbayashi followed her opening-round even-par 72 with a brilliant 4-under-par 68 Wednesday to take a four-shot lead in the girls division.
Ohbayashi, from Himeji, owns that lead over Camille Boyd of Shanghai, China, who has posted rounds of 73-71 to stand at even-par 144. Gabriella Tomanka of Grapevine, Texas, who shared the first-day lead with Ohbayashi, shot a 75 to finish at 147 and is in a four-way tie with Madelyn Jones of Austin, Texas (76-71), Montgomery Ferreira of University Place, Wash. (76-71) and Bentley Cotton of Austin, Texas (76-71).
Audrain, who drew the worst end of the Tuesday weather with an early tee time that was beset by 20-30 mph wind conditions, shot an opening 78. But on Wednesday, starting his round on the par-4 10th, put himself in position to make a final day run at the leaders by posting a 2-under-par 70.
That left him at 4-over-par 148, tied with five other golfers.
“It was a pretty good round today, and I was able to stripe it off the tee and I hit a lot of greens (17 of 18),” Audrain said afterward. “Yesterday, I just got the worst of it and just scrambled around trying to shoot a decent score.”
Audrain said his putter has not been as sharp as it recently had been — but by making two birdie putts in his final three holes, he feels like the hot round is just lurking nearby.
“If I can get the putter going, certainly there’s a 66 or 67 out there to be had,” said Audrain, who has a top five finish in another AJGA event to his credit this summer, while also placing third in the recent KGA State Junior Championship. “Today, I’d just say it was a solid round, and I got something out of it with those late birdie putts.”
His lone bogey of the day came on his third hole of the day on the par-3 12th, but he got it right back with a two-putt birdie from 30 feet on the par-5 13th.
From there, it was all pars over the next 11 holes. Then, the putter finally heated up.
A big drive on the 360-yard, par-4 7th, his 16th of the day, left him just 50 yards out and he wedged it to 10 feet and drained the putt. On the 181-yard, par-3 8th, he ripped a pitching wedge to within 15 feet and also made it. He closed out his round of 70 with a par on the 392-yard, par-4 9th.
“Those last three holes I hit good putts, so I left with a good feeling,” Audrain said.
Hoag, of Flossmoor, Ill., followed an opening 71 with an even-par 72 while Labrador, Albertville, Minn., reversed the same scores as did Glenn, of Stillwater, Okla., each shooting 71s on Wednesday.
The cut for the boys came at 153, 9-over-par. Fifty-one players made the final round. Garden City’s other entrant, Jarett Richmeier, followed an opening 85 with a solid 79 to finish at 164.
Garden City’s Alyssa McMillen and Johnson’s Rylie Cook missed the cut of 14-over-par 158 as McMillen, a junior-to-be at Garden City High School, struggled with rounds of 82-91—173 while Cook shot an 85-81—166. The girls cut, with 18 in that number, was at 14-over-par 158.
Tee times for the final round run between 7:20 and 9 a.m. off Nos. 1 and 10 tees. The leaders tee off last.