E.A. Sports Today

LeCroy starts fast

Donoho junior fires bogey-free 66 to grab an early lead in Boys State Junior Championship, currently one shot back

Jacob LeCroy went out in the second group of the day and shot a bogey-free 66 to grab an early lead in the Boys State Junior Championship. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Sam Murphy, Decatur 32-33–65
Hunter Battles, Tuscumbia 33-33–66
Jacob LeCroy, Anniston 33-33–66
John Snoddy, Birmingham 33-33–66
Ford Clegg, Birmingham 34-33–67

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

SCOTTSBORO – If Jacob LeCroy had his way, he’d have slept in a little Tuesday, so in a way he had his dad to thank for the breakout round he enjoyed in the opening round of the 72nd Boys State Junior Championship at Goose Pond Colony.

Playing in the second group of the day off the back, the rising Donoho junior fired a bogey-free 6-under-par 66 and was five shots ahead of his closest challengers after the morning wave of the opening round.

“My dad is the early bird; he had me up early this morning,” LeCroy said.

By late afternoon, through a two-hour weather delay, the rest of the field had taken dead aim at LeCroy’s number. Decatur’s Sam Murphy finished at 7-under 65 to take the lead, while Birmingham.s John Snoddy and Tuscumbia’s Hunter Battles both shot 66 to draw even with LeCroy.

Of course, there were some benefits LeCroy won’t enjoy going off in Wednesday’s afternoon wave he did going as early as he went Tuesday. He played in temperate conditions, well before the heat of the day fueled the late-afternoon thunderstorm that interrupted play.

“It was perfect,” he said of the conditions. “I kind of felt a little cold.”

He certainly was hot where it counted. LeCroy scored three birdies on each side of the Lake Course. He got it going with birdies on 14, 15 and 18, then birdied 2 from a tough lie, challenging 4 and 7 on his closing nine. He birdied three of the four par-5s.

“The biggest thing was in recent rounds I had trouble getting off the tee, but this is pretty open and I eliminated all my mistakes,” he said. “I had no bogeys today. The last five rounds I probably had at least a double (bogey) in every one doing something stupid. I’m trying to avoid the big number.”

When he birdied 7 to get to 6-under his thoughts turned to matching the 65 his dad Lewis recently threw up in the final round to win his flight in the RTJ-Silver Lakes Championship. He almost got there, too, but his birdie putt on 8 caught the lip and kicked away.

His approach into 9 sailed over the green. Instead of risking a bad result he putted from the ample fringe and came up short. Realizing he was standing over a putt for a career-best tournament round of 66 he put “a little grind on it” and made it.

With a 12:40 p.m. tee time LeCroy plans to sleep in Wednesday. Getting up early isn’t the only thing he doesn’t plan on doing.

“One thing I’m not going to do is look at the scoreboard,” he said. “If you tee off late and see somebody shoots 66 you have it in your mind that if I don’t come out and play lights out I’m not going to be up there. No matter who you are, you think you’ve got to go out and shoot 6-under and then get mad after a bogey.

“I hate to have to think like that. I hate to have to play like that. I’m just going to go out and play. I’m going to try to not look at the scoreboard.”

Several other Calhoun County players were in the morning wave. White Plains’ Andrew Miller and Donoho’s Harrison Hughston both carded a pair of birdies on the way to 77s. Reigning county champion Cameron McCareeth shot 79, Charlie Smith 84 and Nathan Griffin 87.

This story will be updated at the conclusion of the round.

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