By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
If you look at the players in the AJGA Shreveport Junior event at Querbes Park and think Bossier City’s Hudson Greene looks like a sixth grader compared to everybody else, there’s a good reason for that.
Well, not exactly. He actually just polished off his sixth-grade year, so now it’s on to the seventh grade at Cope Middle School. “It’s kind of weird playing against guys who have already committed to college,” Greene said.
Especially since he hasn’t even committed to high school.
Fifty-one boys teed it up Wednesday to start the three-day event and, at times, it was a rough day. But let’s put that in perspective – if a 12-year-old shooting a 76 is a rough day, then the standard must be pretty high.
“It’s tough because they hit it way farther than me,” Greene said. “It makes me realize how good all of these players are and the kind of competition I’ll be having in upcoming years.”
There’s no doubt that it’s a step up in competition for Greene. Alejandro Fierro Saul (Mexico) and Carson Cooper (Texas) each shot a five-under 66 to lead the event. Benton’s Noah McWilliams is one stroke back in a tie for third.
All three just finished their junior year in high school. They are closer to going to college than Greene is to going to the DMV to get his license.
Starting play on the back nine, Greene opened with bogeys on two of the first three holes, but bounced back with a birdie on the par-3 13th. “That kind of got me going,” he said of the 20-foot putt he made.
But he had two more bogeys to finish with a 39. He did birdie another par 3 (No. 3) and followed that up with another on No. 5. But a double bogey on the 8th hole – his perfect drive landed in a divot — gave him a 37 for the second nine.
“It was OK, but I could have done better,” Greene said of his round. “I can do better these next few days.”
He will be teeing off at 9:10 Thursday off the No. 1 tee, three groups ahead of McWilliams, who had a no-stress round of 67. He had birdies on Nos. 11, 15, 16 and 7 and no bogeys.
“I figured I would do pretty well since I play here a lot,” McWilliams said. “I think I hit 15 out of 18 greens and really didn’t have any mistakes and played steady golf.”
As steady it was, McWilliams said there were a couple of shots he’d like to have back. “I’d drive it pretty good and be close to the green and just couldn’t get it up and down for birdie,” he said. “They were easy pars, but I could have had a few more birdies there.”
After his drive on No. 15 left him only 30 yards out, he had a pitch lip out that would have given him an eagle.
“I’d love to win it, but getting a top five (finish) is kind of my goal because it would help me get exempt into other AJGA events,” McWilliams said. “But the main goal is to try to win it.”
Loyola’s Charlie Bell also had a big day, tying for fifth after the first day with a 68. After an even-par first nine, he birdied three of the final six holes and saved a par on the final hole with a six-footer.
In the girls competition, Byrd’s Sydney Moss (the only local entry) had two birdies on the back nine to shoot a 70 and is in a tie for second, two strokes behind Californian Nicole Iniakov.
Other local scores were James Holtzclaw (71), Peyton Johnson (72), Grant Reagan (72), Madden Sawrie (74) and Shep Smith (77).
The tournament continues through Friday.
Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL