ASHLAND, Ky. — Patrick Martin of Birmingham, Al., fired a second-round 71 to take the lead at the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior. Martins leads by two strokes with a combined score of 137. Defending champion Haylee Harford leads the Girls Division after shooting a second-round 72, for a two-day total of 143.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior is a 54-hole stroke play competition played on the par-70 Bellefonte Country Club course. The event features 108 boys and 36 girls, ages 12-18, from 23 states. The Boys Division is playing the course at 6,009 yards while the Girls Division is playing the course at 5,564 yards.
Following his first-round 66, Martin had an up-and-down round with two birdies and three bogeys. “A good number was out there, but par was a good score today because of the wind howling and swirling” Martin said. “I just had to grind it out today, and play smart.”
Martin is prepared to start the day as the leader. “I need to come out and play good golf, this is a different course every day, I just need to hit fairways, and not think about it (his lead), and just play golf.”
Wyatt Larkin of Morganton, Ga., Matthew Naumec of Wilbraham, Mass., Billy Tom Sargent of Georgetown, Ky., and Ryan Gillum of Grayson, Ky., are all are tied for second at 1-under-par 139.
Girls Division leader Harford, played steady all day, her round included three birdies, and nothing worse than bogey. Harford, who has three top-five finishes in her AJGA career, carries a two stroke lead heading into the final round. The defending champion is looking to repeat with a strong showing in the final round.
A second-round that was interrupted by rain for nearly two hours did not have an effect on the returning champion. “The course was fine (after the delay), I was just so focused during the round,” said Harford. “When we got called back to the course, I needed to regain that focus.”
Katie Paige of Louisville, Ky., sits in second place after shooting 3-over-par 73 to total 5-over-par 145. Hanna Lee of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Ale Walker of Paintsville, Ky., are tied for third with a score of 148.
Final-round tee times will run from 7:30-9:18 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees on Friday at Bellefonte Country Club. For more information about the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (678)-231-5709.