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SCGA Junior Championship

Florence's John Wylie Richardson makes big move up SCGA Junior Championship leaderboard

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Florence’s John Wylie Richardson attempts a shot during Wednesday’s second round of the SCGA Junior Championship at Florence Country Club.

FLORENCE, S.C. – John Wylie Richardson figured something out from Tuesday’s first-round 75 in the South Carolina Golf Association Junior Championship.

In Wednesday’s second round at Florence Country Club, the rising Sneed Middle School eighth-grader made four birdies and carded a 3-under-par 68. With that, he moved more than 40 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 20th.

With an overall score of 143 heading into Thursday’s final round, Richardson – who played this past spring for South Florence’s golf team – knows he won’t contend for this event’s championship. But with the Grant Bennett Florence Junior Invitational in a couple of weeks, maybe he can contend for that.

“It’s really a confidence booster because not a lot of people have heard my name,” Richardson said. “And now, they’re going to know my name.”

After all, Richardson won his age group in the Grant Bennett last year.

On Wednesday, Richardson talked about the changes he made for this tourney’s second round.

“I hit a lot of good iron shots,” he said. “And when I missed shots, I didn’t miss them nearly as bad. I’d miss some of them in the wrong spots. But when I did, I got them up and down. My short game, all of it, was really working for me.”

Richardson talked with his parents about what he observed in his game.

“I told my mom and dad I was going deep; I figured something out on the range,” Richardson said. “I figured out my driving, too. So, those really helped me out throughout the round. My first drive, though, wasn’t all that. But my second shot was really good, and I hit it to like 10 feet.”

Richardson, who recorded two birdies on both the front and back nines (Hole Nos. 5, 6, 13, 15), putted his longest birdie of the day at No. 13: A distance of 15 feet.

“On 5 and 6, I hit good drives, and No. 5 is a makeable hole. And I had to take advantage of it,” Richardson said. “My second shot was a really good second shot, and my eagle putt went past the hole. So, I made a come-backer on No. 5 for a birdie. And on No. 6, I hit an 8-iron and hit to like 10 feet and made the putt.”

At No. 15, Richardson overcame some adversity.

“I didn’t hit the best of drives on No. 15,” Richardson said. “I hit it in the rough. But it really helped me because the pin was in the back, so I could roll it up. And, I made a four-foot birdie.”

Columbia’s Luke Sullivan is atop the leaderboard with a one-stroke lead (135) over defending tournament champion Rowan Sullivan of Charleston. North Augusta’s Mitchell McNeill and Indian Land's Mason Kucia are tied for third at 137.

Florence’s Jay Smith and Pake June carded second-round scores of 71 and 70, respectively. June is in 12th place with an overall 141, and Smith is tied for 13th with a 142.

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A 12-time APSE national award winner, Scott authored, "70 Years of Thrills and Chills, Drama and Dents at Darlington Raceway." Scott has received several SCPA awards, 9 for 1st place since moving to SC in 2010 from his home state of Georgia.

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