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Junior golfer plays, wins way through school break

Wednesday probably seemed a bit odd to Sean Bolen.

The high schooler from Lawrenceville spent one of the few days of his summer break off the golf course, opting instead to head to Six Flags with some friends. Just another fun day of summer for most his age, but for Bolen it was a vacation.

Like many Gwinnett golfers, especially junior golfers, Bolen plays in tournaments almost constantly. He doesn't spend too many days without a club in his hand and it's paying off for Bolen in his results.

Since the beginning of summer, Bolen has played in two to three tournaments every week and spent his non-tournament days playing rounds with his father at courses across Gwinnett or practicing at Collins Hill Golf Club.

"I try to get out every day and practice. I am out on the golf course most of the time," Bolen said. "Me and my dad, we do last minute tee times so we play all over the place."

But there isn't that much time for practice with his tournament schedule. Bolen's Wednesday roller coaster excursion fell the day after he finished tied for second in the 16-17 age division of the two-day Junior Sectional Challenge Match at Savannah Quarters Country Club.

Just earning a spot in the Georgia Golf Association event is an honor. It brings together the top four point earners in GSGA events throughout the seven sections of Georgia. Points are based on finishes in five qualifying tournaments throughout the summer. The only other Gwinnett golfer to earn his way to the event was Emerson Newsome of Dacula who finished 15th in the boys 12-13 division.

"I played pretty good in the Georgia State ones," Bolen conceded.

That's a bit of an understatement. Bolen only needed to play in three of the five qualifiers to earn his spot at the Challenge Match. He won the qualifier at The Chimney's with a 71, came in second at Monroe Country Club with a 75 and won with a 75 at Chattahoochee.

And it wasn't just GSGA tournaments either. With his first place finish at the Atlanta Junior Golf Association's Atlanta-Kauai Team Challenge qualifier, he shot 71-72 to win his age division and earn a trip to Hawaii this November. Duluth's Ryan Adams also qualified for the Hawaii trip.

He is also playing in the AJGA's Grand Championships starting Tuesday at Chateau Elan.

It never stops for junior golfers like Bolen. The summer is a busy time. Days at Six Flags are rare.

But, even he admits, his busy life ain't so bad.

"I like playing all the different courses just to see how nice they are," Bolen said. "I guess I am really lucky how many good golf courses I am playing in the summer. I am really lucky."

Werhnyak qualifies

for Senior Amateur

Championship

It took a playoff, but Lawrenceville's Darlene Werhnyak secured a return trip to the USGA's Senior Women's Amateur Championship with a 77 on the Plantation course at Sea Island Golf Club.

Werhnyak edged out Kristine Berger of Hilton Head, S.C., making her one of only two Georgians to earn a top-4 spot at the Sea Island qualifier.

The Senior Women's Amateur Championship is

Sept. 1-6 at Sunriver Resort in Oregon.

Buford girl wins

Nine-Hole Classic

Ashley Frier of Buford shot 46-49 at the City Club in Marietta to win the Atlanta Junior Golf Nine-Hole Classic.

Frier, who won the girls

7-18 division, beat out Hannah Earle of Cumming by two stokes.

In the boys 12-and-under division, Duluth's Zachary Pritchard shot 41-39 to finish tied for third and then edged out Aaron Sanders of Cumming on the first playoff hole. Dylan Pence of Duluth shot 43-39 to finish tied for fifth.

Stone Mountain's D.J. Boutte finished second in the boys 13-and-over division shooting 46-39 to finish four shots back of Marietta's Brandon Beatty.

Suwanee's Shanahan wins AJGC Championship

In a tie with Cumming's Isabella Skinner after shooting an 85 on day 1, Suwanee's Sloan Shanahan stormed through the second round with an 81 to win the Atlanta Junior Golf Club Championship at Stone Mountain Golf Club.

Playing in the 18-hole, girls 7-18 division Shanahan won the event by seven strokes thanks to her second day low round.

Dacula's Melanie Garland shot 96-92 to finish fifth.

Lilburn's Saari qualifies

for Georgia Open

John Saari of Lilburn finished tied for fifth, shooting a one-over 73 to qualify for the Georgia Open in a qualifier at Barnsley Gardens Resort in Adairsville.

Saari was the only Gwinnett player to qualify for the event at Barnsley. Michael Dausch (80) of Norcross and Faiyaz Amlani (84) of Lawrenceville also played in the event.

Duluth's Yang goes

low at Sugarloaf

In Flight 1 of the Amateur Golfers Association's third major event at the TPC Sugarloaf Duluth's Byung Yang won by a stroke.

Yang's 73 bested a pair of 74s from Josh Gilbert of Athens and Matt Oxford of Rocky Face. Buford's Paul Chung finished fourth in the flight with a 75.

Golfing Gwinnett is a weekly column that highlights golf in the area and welcomes contributions from courses and individuals. To be included in the column, fax information to (770) 339-8081 or e-mail to ben.beitzel@gwinnettdailypost.com.