Ryan Hogan felt in good form before entering Monday’s 43rd Georgia Junior Golf Grand Championship. And his performance through two rounds is a solid indication.
The Gainesville High senior is in contention to capture his second championship in five tournament appearances, as he carries a four-stroke lead (3-under par) heading into today’s final round for the 14-18 age bracket at the Woodmont Golf & Country Club in Canton. Hogan carded a 4-under par 68 on Monday, and managed to salvage his lead with a 1-over par 73 on Tuesday.
Hogan, harnessing a substantial understanding of the course already, left his mark along the Par 5 greens on Day 1 to establish a nice cushion in the early going. He started the day with an eagle on the first hole, then recorded birdies on six holes (3, 4, 9, 10, 12,13) to finish Round 1 at 4-under.
A strong emphasis on his putting game this summer was Hogan’s explanation for two solid outings thus far, also noting his nine one-putts for Monday.
“There’s a lot of scoring opportunities (on the course), a lot of opportunities to make birdies — for me at least,” Hogan said. “I know me for personally, there’s a lot of holes I can score on. There’s five Par 5’s, which plays to my advantage because I play the Par 5’s pretty well. ...And the whole course is 6,700 yards long, so it’s not too long. But it’s also not extremely short.”
But that hot streak would not hold steady through Day 2. After sinking birdies on 6 and 7, the momentum swayed momentarily along the back nine. A double bogey and bogey on the 12th and 13th greens nearly spelled trouble for the 17-year-old. But he regrouped in ample time to card a 1-under for the final five holes.
“That’s what Coach (Bryson) Worley and I try to work on, is getting your mind back in the right place to finish,” Hogan said of the rebound. It does help (my confidence) I was able to salvage it, grind out the round.”
In the 13-14 age group, Sam Patterson tied for third after carding a first-round 77, though currently stands fifth on the leaderboard heading into the final round.
Tee times for the final round will be 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. today.