NORMAN — The season is long over, but Norman’s high school golfers were still busy out on the course on Tuesday.
A handful of Norman golfers competed in the U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifying tournament, where 42 players competed to earn to spots to the prestigious Junior Amateur Golf Championship. The tournament has been played since 1948 and has occasionally served as a glimpse into the sport’s future. David Duval won the event in 1989, while Tiger Woods won three straight years from 1991-93.
On Tuesday it was a pair of out-of-staters who took down the top two spots and the qualifications that came with them. Nathan Jeansonne of Keithville, Louisiana, won the event, shooting a 69-66-135 to win the title by two strokes. His eight-under-par performance will send him, along with second-place finisher Ryoto Furuya, to Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas, for the July 21-26 tournament.
It was an especially satisfying victory for Jeanssone, who nearly qualified last year but lost in a playoff for second place and the final qualification, even if he didn’t reflect on the two events until after wrapping up the tournament.
“It wasn’t on my mind out there,” he said. “I knew it would take a pretty low score today, and I just felt pretty good out there.”
On the girls’ side, Hailee Cooper of Montgomery, Texas, won the event with a one-round score of 68, while Courtney Dow was second with a 70. Yujeong Son and Kenzie Wright earned the alternate spots with a 74 and 76, respectively. On the boys’ side, Tyson Reeder and JC Campbell earned the alternate spots with matching scores of 141. Norman North’s Kaitlin Milligan was the only area competitor, and she finished just outside the top five with a round of 81.
Several area athletes competed at the tournament, which is open to all amateurs who would be under the age of 18 on the final day of the national tournament. Norman North’s Thomas Johnson led the way with a 151, shooting a 75 on the first round and finishing the day with a 76. It wasn’t a bad performance, but it left a disappointed Johnson short of his goal.