Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local Sports

July 31, 2013

Grayson’s Gillum wins playoff in EKJGA event

July 31, 2013 — A made-to-order weather day at Eagle Trace Golf Course produced some great finishes to match.

Grayson’s Ryan Gillum and Ashland’s Tate Justus won playoffs in the two oldest boys’ divisions Monday at the Eastern Kentucky Junior Golf Association Walmart Tour event.

Neither playoff carried beyond the No. 1 hole.

Gillum, Ashland’s Evan Cox and Irvine’s Andrew Farmer tied for the top spot in the Grade 11-12 group with 2-over par rounds of 74. Tournament director Tom Cooksey said he couldn’t recall a previous three-way playoff to determine an EKJGA winner.

On the playoff hole, Gillum sent his drive down the middle of the par-4, then lofted a wedge shot that rested within six feet of the hole. Meanwhile, Cox and Farmer found trouble and each settled for bogey. Gillum safely two-putted for his par and the title.

“It feels good, because I was in a playoff with two very talented players that played well (Monday),” Gillum said. “Evan’s a really good golfer. He almost always shoots low scores. He makes it tough.”

It took some work for Gillum to boost himself into contention after shooting 41 on the front side — thanks to three double-bogeys.

“Going to No. 10, I was basically trying to reboot,” said the Elliott County sophomore. “I had to go back to the basics and try to shoot a low number on the back.”

Rally he did, firing a 3-under 33 on the back nine, including a string of three birdies beginning on No. 13.

“I stuck my approach shots fairly close,” Gillum said of 13, 14 and 15. “I think the most I had for a putt was 10 feet. I knew I had to give myself some pretty decent chances because I hadn’t been putting well.”

Gillum’s opportunity for a fourth consecutive birdie lipped out on No. 16. He also parred the last two holes after having looks at birdies.

“Conditions were good,” Gillum said. “The greens were firm, and I like that. I think it will be good conditions going into Friday.”

The boys area high school golf season opens that morning with the Eagle Trace High School Invitational.

It’s been a terrific summer for Gillum, who tied for eighth in the prestigious Bluegrass Junior at Bellefonte Country Club in June.

“That really helped my confidence,” he said. “I competed against some of the top juniors probably in the southeast. That helps you mentally.”

Gillum also placed in the top 10 of his age group (15-16) at the Kentucky Junior Amateur.

Likewise, Justus is another player on the rise in 2013. Monday marked his sixth EKJGA Walmart Tour Grade 9-10 victory in seven tournaments. He won two of them by shooting under par — 69 at Paintsville Country Club and 71 at Hidden Cove.

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