06/13/07 — Campbell among the winners at Wayne County Junior Amateur

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Campbell among the winners at Wayne County Junior Amateur

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on June 13, 2007 1:49 PM

Leading the Wayne County Junior Amateur by two strokes, Ryan Campbell looked to put an exclamation point on his performance as he stepped up to the 17th tee at Walnut Creek.

The picturesque, par-5 hole is known as the "eagle hole" and Campbell, who currently plays at Pitt Community College, had it set in his sights -- until he drove his tee shot into the rough.

The ball landed in a bed of pine cones and pine needles.

"I was pretty nervous on 17," said Campbell. "I tried to kill it so I could get an eagle."

But Campbell regained his poise and saved par. He then strolled to the final hole and launched a long drive and followed that with a chip onto the green setting up about a 10-foot putt for birdie.

Campbell left the putt inches short, tapped in for par and clinched his second WCJA title in three years. He finished with a 1-under par 71 -- two strokes lower than runner-up Clark Rose.

"(Winning today) felt good," said Campbell, a graduate of Charles B. Aycock. "I'll take it. One under is fine with me."

While Rose came just short of knocking off Campbell, he did accomplish what Campbell failed to do on No. 17. Rose knocked in a 12-foot eagle putt which put him at even par for the day.

"I needed that eagle," said Rose, who starred at Wayne Christian.

Rose though couldn't get below par as he bogeyed 18 to finish at 1-over 73.

"I was hitting some straight and long drives today," said Rose. "I was struggling with my putting since the greens were kind of slow. Overall I think I stroked the ball really well today."

Campbell began his day with back-to-back bogeys before getting into a groove with birdies on holes six and nine.

"I fought my way back," Campbell said. "That really got me going. It was a good ball-striking day and overall, I just felt really good out there.

"I pretty much knew I just had to coast in with (the lead)."

Campbell's title in the 16-18 division was one of six championships won on Tuesday afternoon.

Justin Whaley captured the ages 8-9 division, winning uncontested with a nine-hole score of 71. In the 12-13 year old division, Will Bunch scored an 87 -- 31 strokes better than second-place Byron Tart.

In the day's "family feud," Jackson Shearin knocked off his brother William Shearin by one stroke to win the 14-15 year old division.

Jasmine Reaves captured the girls' 13-18 year old division with an 82.

"I hit my driver pretty well," said Reaves, a rising sophomore at Eastern Wayne. "I had a lot of two putts which isn't good for me. I missed a couple of easy three-footers which was horrible."

While the putting on the slow greens may have given Reaves fits, it was her short game that won her the match over Paula Webber (89) and Jordan Hill (97).

"My chipping actually saved me today," said Reaves. "I've never won anything this big before. I usually place second in the smaller tournaments."

Kyle Best, who is 11 years old, put on the most astounding performance of the day as he carded a 5-under-par 31 for nine holes in the 10-11 year old division.

Best's score not only beat his closest competitor by six strokes, he also topped the entire field at the WCJA -- spanning all six age groups and both genders.

"I was really excited," said Best of shooting a 31. "It felt really great."

Best's previous "best" score was a 38.

He dazzled attendees on Tuesday with his play that was beyond his years -- including plenty of 200 yard drives. But despite his performance, Best says he still struggles to hit the ball straight at times.

Best shouldn't be so hard on himself. Even PGA Tour pros say that.