Former Herald Player of the Year Josh Crews had just 24 putts in his round Saturday and is tied atop the leaderboard.
ALBANY — Even when Josh Crews isn’t hitting the ball great, he says he can still put up a low score at his home course.
That’s how confident the former Herald Player of the Year is at Doublegate Country Club, where he hit the ball just fine Saturday and is leading the oldest age group of the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour’s Doublegate Junior Classic after the first day of the 36-hole tournament.
Crews, a former star golfer at Deerfield-Windsor who is now taking online classes to finish up his high school degree, shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for the lead in the 16-19 age group with Tifton’s Jacob Flynt.
Crews finished his round with just 24 putts, hit nine greens in regulation and went up-and-down nine times to record two birdies and no bogeys.
“I played well. Twenty-four putts is about as good as you can do,” Crews said. “The main thing is maintaining the same level of intensity and not losing your temper and remaining confident and playing smart.”
Crews was one of six Albany golfers playing in the SJGT tournament. The other five, who are all in the 14-15 age group, are Deerfield players Bill Sharpe, Charlie Ellis and Ethan Shellhaas and Tyler George and Tyler Hanson from Sherwood.
Sharpe shot a 5-over 72 and is in fourth, while Ellis (80) is in seventh, George (81) is in ninth, Hanson (83) is in 12th and Shellhaas (88) is in 16th in the 19-player field. Leesburg’s Chase McLain and Seong Lee also played in the 14-15 age group and shot 81 and 87, respectively.
Sharpe, who will be a freshman on the DWS golf team this season, shot a 38 on the front nine and a 39 on the back nine and is five shots behind leader Matt Collins of Duluth.
Doublegate is also the home course of Ellis, whose round was highlighted by birdies on Nos. 7 and 13.
“It’s a lot less pressure (to play on your home course),” Ellis said. “You know exactly where to hit the ball on every shot. It’s easier to read the greens, and you know the speeds.”
It’s the sixth straight year SJGT has held the tournament at Doublegate, and tournament director Scott Burroughs said it won’t be the last.
“We have enjoyed the staff here,” he said. “(Doublegate pro Ed Everett) and his staff have been really good to us, and that’s something we look at when we look at events for the next year. We usually come here about this time of the year, and the course is always in good shape, and that’s why the kids like coming back here. And we look forward to coming back next year.”
Roswell’s JonErik Alford leads the boys’ 12-13 age group with a 73; Moultrie’s Taylor Marie Griner is on top of the girls’ 15-19 leaderboard with a 74; and Suwanee’s Lauren Lightfritz shot a 79 to take the lead in the girls’ 12-14 age group.
Crisp’s Tyler roughed up in All-Star game
CHICAGO — Crisp County’s Robert Tyler was one of just 36 high schoolers from around the nation playing in Saturday’s Under Armour All-Star Game at Wrigley Field, but his inning on the mound didn’t go exactly as planned.
The senior, who has already verbally committed to Georgia and is coming off another All-Star game appearance last week at Petco Park in San Diego, pitched the fifth inning for the National team and gave up four hits and three runs. He also gave up the lead to the American team, which went ahead, 5-3, in the inning and held on for a 7-6 victory.
Tyler got his first batter to fly out but then walked the next hitter and gave up back-to-back hits. He struck out the next hitter on a backdoor breaking ball for the inning’s second out but then surrendered a pair of singles before ending with a fly out.
Clint Frazier, an outfielder from Loganville, hit the game-tying double in the top of the ninth and then scored the winning run on a wild pitch to win the game for the American team.
DWS girls, Southland boys win 2012 opener
AMERICUS — Southland Academy’s Chris Shattles won the girls overall title, while the Raiders’ Wright Calhoun won the boys race Saturday at the first GISA meet of the season, the Southland Cross Country Kickoff in Americus.
Shattles crossed the finish line with a winning time of 20:07, while Calhoun won with a scorching 17:38. Deerfield’s Marcus Gouthro was second with a time just off Calhoun’s mark of 17:45.
Led by eighth-, ninth-, 10th-, 11th- and 13th-place finishes, Deerfield’s girls won the team title with 41 points, while Tiftarea (54) came in second and Southland (58) was third.
Deerfield’s top girls runner was Helena Augenstein with a time of 24:08.
The boys team title went to Southland with 39 points, followed by Tiftarea (60), Westfield (61) and Deerfield (70).