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International Junior Masters champ Thomson becomes youngest qualifier for U.S. Amateur

Will Thomson of Pittsford during the final round of the International Junior Masters. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)
Will Thomson of Pittsford during the final round of the International Junior Masters. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

By Keith McShea

Will Thomson of Pittsford, who became the youngest winner in the 62-year history of the International Junior Masters in East Aurora 11 days ago, had another landmark day on the golf course on Monday. 

Thomson, 13, became the youngest qualifier in the history of the U.S. Amateur when he won the 36-hole sectional qualifier at Mendon Golf Club.

Thomson shot rounds of 68 and 66 on the par-71 course for a total of 8-under-par 134. Thomson finished four shots ahead of Gavin Hall (69-69-138), a Pittsford-Mendon graduate who will be a sophomore for the University of Texas golf team this fall.

The United States Golf Association confirmed in an email to The Buffalo News that Thomson's age would make him the youngest qualifier; the USGA record book shows 2004 qualifier Ryota Ito as the youngest U.S. Amateur competitor at 14 years, 1 month, 13 days.

The 114th U.S. Amateur will be held Aug. 11-17 at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

The U.S. Amateur begins with stroke play followed by match play; that is the same format in which Thomson prevailed at the five-day International Junior Masters.

Thomson was also the only seventh-grader to qualify for this year's New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships. 

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Bob DiCesare's story (with photo) on Thomson winning the International Junior Masters.

A live blog account of the final day of the International Junior Masters.

Live from International Junior Masters: Pittsford's Thomson, 13, becomes youngest winner in 62nd annual event

Thirteen-year-old Will Thomson of Pittsford defeated Blake Gerber of Mesa, Ariz., 3 and 2, to become the youngest winner in the 62-year history of the International Junior Masters.  

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Follow updates from the final day of the International Junior Masters at the East Aurora Country Club, including from The News' Bob DiCesare, Taylor Nigrelli and photojournalist James P. McCoy, in the live blog below.

The semifinal matches began this morning, with the championship match scheduled for approximately 1:30 p.m.

Live Blog Friday's final day of the International Junior Masters

Live from the International Junior Masters

Follow updates from the International Junior Masters, including from The News' Bob DiCesare, Taylor Nigrelli and Harry Scull Jr.

Live Blog Thursday Live from International Junior Masters

Tight Quarters at Junior Masters

By Bob DiCesare

Last year it took a record 36-hole score of 152 to advance to the championship flight at the International Junior Masters at East Aurora Country Club. This year's field is on pace to match that number.

Thirty-six players shot 76 or better today, with one group still on the course after a late starting time necessitated by morning exams. Thirty-two qualify for the championship flight.

The co-leaders in the clubhouse at 3-under 68 are Andres Gonzalez of Mexico and Paul Edgar of Kitchener, Ont. Three shots back at even-par 71 are Javier Gonzalez of Boca Del Rio, Mexico (Andres' younger brother) and Evan Santa of Edgewater, Md.

The low local pending results of the final group was Ben Reichert, a jnior-to-be at Williamsville North. He shot 73. Defending championTrevor Ranton of Waterloo, Ont., is solidly in the mix at 74.

Last year there was a five-man playoff for the final three spots in the championship flight.

LPGA Championship reportedly leaving Rochester for NYC

By Jay Skurski

The Wegmans LPGA Championship in August at Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford will reportedly be the last one held in the Rochester area.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the LPGA plans to move the event to New York City starting in 2015. An official announcement is expected Thursday, according to the paper.

That will end a run of 38 straight years with an LPGA event being held in Rochester. For the first 37 of those, it was at Locust Hill Country Club. This year, after the LPGA made it clear it wanted to rotate courses for its championship, the Tour reached a one-year agreement with Monroe, shifting from its usual spot on the calendar in June to Aug. 14-17.

Moving the tournament away from Rochester meant the Tour ran the risk of losing Wegmans as the championship's title sponsor, as it has been for the past four years. According to the report, however, the LPGA has reached an agreement with auditing firm KPMG to serve as the title sponsor starting in 2015. The opportunities for corporate sponsorship are greater in New York than they are in Rochester.

Of course, what remains to be seen is the level of fan support the championship will get in its new home. While the LPGA does not keep official attendance figures, the Rochester community is known to have been a loyal base for nearly four decades. Despite the opportunity to draw from a much bigger population down state, there's no guarantee that will happen. 

A press conference previewing this year's Wegmans LPGA Championship is scheduled for Monday at Monroe.


Golf preview: Searchable database of WNY's course records

As part of today's extensive Golf Preview special section, reporter Jay Skurski tracked down nearly 70 course records from Western New York golf courses. 

Here's the entertaining story (Record holders' stories a matter of course), and you can see all of the scores as they appeared in our special centerfold in this PDF: Collection of course records gives golfers something to shoot for.

And here's a searchable database of the records. Look up your favorite course, search for top local golfers, or just click "search" right now with "all" in the fields, and you'll get a customizable list of them all.

See the lowest course records, scan the top performances by county or town, search by year (check out who owns the oldest record) and much more. 

Online Database by Caspio
Click here to load this Caspio Online Database.

To search in a FULL SCREEN for all of the details, click here.

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Click here for a rundown of the entire Golf Preview section along with local pros' video tips from our archive.

Porter Cup first-round recap

By Jay Skurski

On top: Justin Shin, a 21-year-old from Hamilton, Ont., fired a 6-under-par round of 64 that included a 29 on the back nine. Shin birdided five of his final six holes.

In the hunt: Beau Hossler, and 18-year-old from Mission Viejo, Calif., and Tyler Dunlap, a 20-year-old from Trophy Club, Texas, shot 5-under 65 to sit one shot back. Both Hossler and Dunlap are ranked in the top 100 of the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings, Hossler at 92nd and Dunlap at 98th.

Tough finish: Patrick Rodgers, the 2011 champion, was even for his round on the 16th tee, but made a bogey on the par-3 16th hole and followed that with a double bogey on the par-4 17th to fall to 3-over 73 for his round, in a tie for 46th.

Marquee groupings: Defending champion Richy Werenski, Denny McCarthy and Michael Johnson go off at 9:20 a.m. today, followed by the grouping of Hossler, Gavin Hall and Charlie Bull at 9:30, then Rodgers, Max Homa and Benjamin Taylor at 9:40 a.m.

By the numbers: The scoring average for the 84 players in the field was 72.37. There were 15 players to turn in rounds under par. The toughest hole was the 463-yard par-4 fifth hole, at an average of  4.44 strokes, while the 552-yard par-5 third hole played the easiest, at 4.62 strokes.

Friday forecast: Sunny, high of 75 degrees. Winds 10-15 mph.


IJM: A How-Not-To

By Bob DiCesare

Standards are usually upheld on the golf course, particularly in tournaments such as the International Junior Masters. A prime example came Wednesday morning, when leader Camilo Aguado turned himself in and sustained a four-stroke penalty for finding an extra club in his bag that wasn't even his.

Unfortunately in Thursday's Sweet Sixteen we saw the other extreme. Ryan Borg of Caledon, Ont., needed to drain about an 8-foot putt on the 19th hole to prolong his match with Pablo Torres of Colombia. Borg knew he had missed the putt as soon as it left the blade. It hadn't even rolled even with the hole when he walloped the ball into a bunker, screamed and threw his hat. Then he looked away while offering a congratulatory handshake to Torres, who had remained alive by making an 8-footer of his own on 18 (see Mark Mulville photo below),


Borg's a heckuva player. He was probably the longest hitter in the field. He's coached by Sean Foley (who coaches Tiger Woods). He's headed to South Florida on a golf scholarship. One can only hope Thursday's episode was a first and a last. Otherwise, he's got a lot of work to do on things other than his golf.

IJM: Aguado Takes Hit, Recovers

By Bob DiCesare

First-round leader Camilo Aguado (Colombia/Mexico) bogeyed the first two holes in the International Junior Masters this morning. And then things got worse. Much worse. For awhile.

Aguado was on the third hole when he discovered in his bag an extra 8-iron. Apparently someone had inadvertantly slipped the club into the wrong bag on the range. Still, it's the player's responsibility to make sure he's not over the 14-club maximum.

Aguado brought the penalty to the attention of tournament officials and was assessed four shots (two per hole played to a maximum of four). How did he respond? SNow 6 over after three holes, Aguado played 3 under the rest of the way for a 74 good for co-medlaist honors with Brodie McKinney of Stoney Creek, Ont.

"I figured out on the third hole I had 15 clubs," Aguado said. "One was not mine, it was a different brand. It's something really strange."

He tried to put the episode out of mind. And succeeded.

"I just said to myself to be patient," Aguado said. "I made some good things. I made an eagle on 16. I had two lip-outs."

Second round of Women's Porter Cup washed out

By Jay Skurski

Constant rain this morning has forced the cancellation of the second round of the first-ever Women's Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club.

The tournament will now be reduced from 54 to 36 holes, with the final round beginning at 8 a.m. Friday.

"Unfortunately, we had to cancel today," said tournament director Brian Oakley. "It's unplayable."

Players will go off in threesomes Friday morning, with the final group, including leader Cassie Cathrea, teeing off at 10 a.m.

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Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.