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Savoie Up 3 on Blackwell

Joey Savoie, the reigning Quebec junior and juvenile champion, leads James Blackwell 3-up through four holes of the title match at the International Junior Masters. Savoie nearly double-eagled No. 3 and birdied No. 4.

--Bob DiCesare

Blackwell Survives

James Blackwell advaced to this afternoon's final of the International Junior Masters with a 1-up victory over Colombian David Marin. Marin won No. 17 but missed a 3-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have forced sudden death. Blackwell faces Joey Savoie of Quebec, who routed Matt VanNiekerk 7 and 5 in the other semifinal. Jacob Kreuz of Amherst has advanced to the championshp consolation final.

-- Bob DiCesare

IJM Update

We're all square through 13 in the Blackwell-Marin semifinal. Blackwell went 1-up when Marin missed from 2 feet on 11, but then missed a 2-footer himself that would have won 11. Marin won 12 with an 8-foot birdie putt to square the match and kept it even by making a 6-footer for par on 13.

-- Bob DiCesare

Junior Masters Update

James Blackwell of North Tonawanda is all square with David Marin of Colombia in their semifinal match at the 60th International Junior Masters at East Aurora CC.

-- Bob DiCesare

Blackwell holds off upset at IJM

It took all 18 holes, but James Blackwell held off an upset and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the International Junior Masters Thursday afternoon.

Blackwell, the top-seeded player at the tournament from North Tonawanda, conceded holes 14 and 15 to Eduardo Rivera of Colombia to bring the match even and only advanced by winning 18.

“To be completely honest with you, he probably deserved to win,” Blackwell said after the round. “His short game is absolutely phenomenal. For the age he is, to have a short game like that is amazing.”

Blackwell had a shot to take the lead on 17 after Rivera’s tee shot landed on the fairway -- one hole over. But with the threat of Rivera’s putting in the back of his mind, Blackwell took a gamble and went for a difficult putt, missing it long. Rivera sunk his putt to save par and split the hole.

“If it was somebody else, I probably wouldn’t have gone that aggressive at the pin,” Blackwell said. “I knew I had to make a birdie to win that hole.”

With the match tied on 18, Rivera’s tee shot went into the right rough, and he only made it worse by hitting his second shot into a water hazard. Blackwell’s first shot took a favorable bounce on the fairway before he hit a beautiful approach with a 9-iron from 160 yards out that landed within feet of the cup.

Rivera gave an attempt at chipping in from his drop before conceding the match.

The next round will begin around 2 p.m.

---Nick Veronica

Twitter: @NickVeronica


4 Locals Top 32 at IJM

Four local players -- James Blackwell, Josh Stauffer, Jacob Kreuz and Andrew Romano -- will tee off in this afternoon's championship bracket at the International Junior Masters at East Aurora CC. Blackwell placed first (139), Stauffer second (143), Kreuz T3 (145) and Andrew Romano T19 (153). Blackwell and Kreuz are making their second straight appearance in the final 32.

-- Bob DiCesare

Blackwell Medals, Stauffer Sets Record

James Blackwell (3-under 139) is the medalist and Josh Stauffer set a tournament record with a 65 at the International Junior Masters this morning. Stauffer (143) will be the No. 2 seed when they tee off in match play this afternoon.

We're still waiting for the final pairings. There's a group still out and it already looks like a playoff for the last of the 32 spots in the Championship Flight.

-- Bob DiCesare

Blackwell Sizzles at Jr. Masters

Ball State-bound James Blackwell, a St. Joe's graduate, produced his second straight sub-par round this morning and appears a shoo-in to grab medalist honors and the Gary Player Trophy at the 60th International Junior Masters at East Aurora Country Club.

Blackwell followed Tuesday's 2-under 69 with a 70 and has a four-stroke advantage over those who've posted. It would take a ridiculous score to knock Blackwell out of the top spot as lower scores went off first in the morning.

But there are scores out there. Bona-bound Josh Stauffer of Bradford, son of PGA Professional Kirk Staffer, went bogeyless in a 6-under 65 that has tournament organizers scrambling for the record books.

Blackwell's 3-under total is believed to tie for the lowest score in at least the last 20 years. Medalists shot 139 in 2002 and 2008.

Match play begins this afternoon.

-- Bob DiCesare

Wegmans LPGA final round recap

The winner is: Shanshan Feng. The 22-year-old from Guangzhou, China becomes her country’s first winner on the LPGA Tour. She moves up to fifth in the world rankings and collects the $375,000 first-place prize out of a total purse of $2.5 million. Feng shot the low round of the tournament, 5-under 67, in the final round for a total of 6-under 282 and a two-shot victory over a group of four players (Mika Miyazato, Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen and Eun-Hee Ji) at 4-under.

Marquee pairing: The biggest gallery of the day followed Americans Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr, but neither were ever able to make much of a charge. Creamer was betrayed by her putter on the weekend, needing 65 strokes on the greens over the final two rounds. She finished at 2-under in a tie for ninth, while Kerr was a shot behind a 1-under in a tie for 12th.

Easiest hole: The par-5 17th, which played to a stroke average of 4.858 for the tournament and had 30 birdies Sunday.

Toughest hole: The next one, the par-4 18th. That had a tournament stroke average of 4.442 and saw just three birdies made at it Sunday.

Quotable: “Shanshan went out there and shot a great round. That’s the way we want it to be. You don’t want this golf tournament to end with somebody making bogey on the last hole to lose it. She went out and won it today, so congratulations to her” – world No. 3 and top-ranked American Stacy Lewis

Up next: The LPGA Tour takes a break while the men’s U.S. Open is held next weekend. The ladies return June 21-24 for the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ontario.

---Jay Skurski

Tseng finishes forgettable week

PITTSFORD -- Yani Tseng's title defense at the Wegmans LPGA Championship did not go as planned.

Not even close.

The world's No. 1 player was finishing her round as the leaders were starting today at Locust Hill Country Club, a much different position than the one she found herself in last year, when she dominated the field for a 10-shot victory.

She finished at 19 under in 2011, an astounding 32 shots better than the 13 over she shot this year. Tseng concluded a miserable week with a 4-over 76 today.

"It's hard to get your confidence back when you lose it," she told the Golf Channel after her round. "My confidence is at zero right now."

---Jay Skurski

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About Sports, Ink

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.