With temperatures in the 40s, winds gusting into the high teens, and a persistent cold rain coming down, the first round of the Sea Pines Junior Heritage was uncomfortably tough for some of the country’s finest junior golfers. Birdies were at a premium and pars were well-earned — and they’re always welcomed at Davis Love III’s Atlantic Dunes course, which tested the golfers’ patience and skills for more than five hours.
In the girls division, Rock Hill native and ever-inspiring Kayleigh “Buggy” Reinke shares the lead with Lexington’s Molly Hardwick at 1-over par. Reinke started off with a quiet 41 on the front nine but had the course buzzing with her back nine, which included five birdies, coming home with a red-hot 32. Hardwick took a more traditional route to her 73 with two birdies accompanied by only three bogeys. Reigning SCJGA player of the year Adrian Anderson (Murrells Inlet) is two back after a round of 75.
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Meanwhile, the boys leaderboard is loaded with both local talent and national rising stars. Jack Turner (Orlando) recovered from an early double bogey on the par 5 4th hole to card an impressive 3-under 69 for the solo lead. Last year’s third place finisher, Caleb Surratt (Indian Trail, N.C.) fired a 2-under 70 and is tied for second with Hilton Head Island’s own Jonathan Griz. Griz’s up-and-down front nine steadied after a clutch eagle on the 535 yard par 5.
Fellow Hilton Head native Max Green is tied for fourth after playing a nearly flawless round of golf with an even-par 72 by capitalizing on his birdie opportunities on the fifth and 13th holes. One stroke back and in seventh place is Beaufort’s Jerry Bruns, who finished early with a respectable 73.
The girls leaders will tee off at 10:27 a.m. Sunday at Harbour Town Golf Links, with the boys leaders to follow at 10:36.
Bridgette Wilkie (Bluffton) – 77, Camila Burnett (Bluffton) – 78, Savannah Hylton (Hilton Head) – (80)
John Daly II (Arkansas) – 73, Nolan Hawkins (Hilton Head) – 76, Allan Kournikova (Florida) – 76
Story and photos by Brian Rietveld