I know I’m falling behind in my Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour coverage, including Tuesday’s Harry Hammond Invitational, one of the highlights on the Junior Tour schedule, but I had to see how the local contingent was doing in the Boys Junior PGA Championship. I’ll catch up … I promise.
Carson Bacha, who finished fifth in the PIAA Class AAA Championship as a freshman at Central York last fall, fired the second-best round of the day, a 6-under 66, and was one of three local players to survive the cut after two rounds of the Boys Junior PGA Championship at The Country Club of St. Albans’ Lewis & Clark Course in St. Albans, Mo.
Bacha’s effort Tuesday, combined with an opening-round 72, left him tie for sixth at 6-under 138. He is seven shots off the scintillating pace set by Akshay Bhatia of Wake Forest, N.C., who shot a ridiculous and record-setting 11-under 61 in Tuesday’s second round and is at 14-under 130.
Bacha had four birdies against his lone bogey of the day on the front nine and three more birdies on the back nine. He was brutally efficient on the Lewis & Clark Course’s par-5s, making birdie on all four of them.
Bacha’s Central York teammate, Joe Parrini, who finished tied for 11th in the state tournament as a junior at Heritage Hills last fall, also made the cut in St. Albans, adding an even-par 72 to his opening-round 73 for a 1-over 145 total.
Parrini also qualified for the U.S. Open sectionals in a local qualifier at his home course, The Country Club of York, this spring.
Bacha and Parrini qualified for the Junior PGA Championship out of the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour qualifier at Concord Country Club.
Also making the cut at St. Albans was Kyle Vance, who was a two-time District One champion during an outstanding scholastic career at Methacton. Vance, who will start his collegiate career at Kansas State in a few weeks, matched par with a 72 Tuesday after opening up with a 74.
Vance finished tied for third in the Junior PGA Championship a year ago at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I., which probably earned him a return trip to this year’s tournament.
As for Bhatia, all he did was birdie all but one of the holes on the back nine at the Lewis & Clark Course, which is where he started. That’s right, he birdied every hole on the back nine except the 15th for a mind-boggling 8-under 28.
The left-hander actually made a bogey on the first hole, but made four more birdies on the front side. That’s 12 birdies. He broke the tournament record of 62 held by, among others, Jordan Spieth and Brad Dalke, who led Oklahoma to the NCAA team title this spring.
Poor Jacob Bridgeman, a Clemson recruit out of Inman, S.C., who added a 68 to a sparkling opening round of 7-under 65. He somehow finds himself trailing by three, despite sitting at 11-under 133.