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Improved Sheaffer wins Junior Masters title

August 06, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Brandon Sheaffer shot a 92 in the inaugural Junior Masters Tour tournament at Beaver Creek Country Club on June 17.

A likely choice to win the Masters championship based on that performance? Slim, at that time.

However, Sheaffer's game has come full cycle over six weeks, evidenced by his 5-over-par 77 on Thursday to become the first champion to have his name engraved on the Masters plaque, which will hang on the walls in the Beaver Creek pro shop.

Sheaffer, who will be a senior at Smithsburg High, was the only golfer to claim any birdies, and that was the difference in his two-shot win over Kim Eaton's 79.

Sheaffer had back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 on the way to a 37 on the front side, then birdied 15 as part of a 40 on the back side.

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At the turn, Sheaffer's 37 led Eaton, Andrew Mellott and Kevin Motz by two strokes.

"I wasn't hitting the ball well earlier," Sheaffer said of his initial struggles this season. "Lately, I've been striking the ball better and hitting greens. I hit the first six today."

Sheaffer's length came into play on his birdies.

On No. 4, a 354-yard par 4, he hit a 3-iron and then an 8-iron that set up a 12-foot putt. On No. 5, a 395-yard par 4, his 295-yard drive and 100-yard sand wedge left him with a 10-foot putt. On No. 15, a 480-yard par 5, he tattooed a 300-yard drive, hit a 6-iron over the green and then pitched to within two feet of the hole to set up another birdie.

Sheaffer will try to work off his best round of the year in next week's WACO Junior championship on Monday and the WACO championship Aug. 14-15.

Curtis Harsh, who will be a senior at Boonsboro, won the First Flight with a 49-44-93, one stroke better than Miles Brown.

The Junior Masters Tour idea was conceived by Smithsburg golf coach Dan Neff, who had the support of contributions and donations from several Washington County companies.

"I thought the year went very well," Neff said. "It showed the players what to work on. The goal of the Tour was to show them what they needed to do ... to be more consistent and to get to the next stage, which is getting to College Park (for the high school state championships)."

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