The stop on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour saw more than 90 players compete across four age divisions.
In the boys 15-18 division, Etowah golfer Nick Budd earned the title with a two-round total of 1-under 143.
Woodstock’s Kevin Burns was a stroke behind Budd, while another Etowah golfer, Jake Haggerty, was third at 6-over 150.
Despite playing at a nearby course, Burns said that didn’t help him out much.
“The greens were fast (at Bentwater), and that is something you usually have to get used to,” Burns said. “Nick Budd and Jake Haggerty both play at Eagle Watch, and their greens are similar to (Bentwater). I thought they had more of an advantage, so I spent a lot of time practicing on the greens to try to catch up to them.”
After the first round, Budd held a two-stroke lead over a group of five players, including Burns, but it didn’t last long.
Budd triple-bogeyed the par-5 No. 1 to fall a stroke back of Burns, but he got two strokes back with an eagle on No. 3, then parred the remainder of the front nine. On the back nine, Budd birdied 11 and 15 to finish the round at 1-under.
Burns, on the other hand, was anything but consistent.
Birdies on each of the first two holes gave him a multiple-stroke lead over Budd. However, he bogeyed two of the next three holes before birdies on 6 and 7. Burns’ performance was similar on the back nine, as he finished the round at 2-under and even for the tournament.
“I started out hitting the ball pretty good and making a few putts, but I was also missing my longer putts,” Burns said. “As the day went on, it got more and more exciting because Nick Budd starting coming back and was at 1-under, and I was 3-under, and we were fighting for the finish. It just couldn’t get any better than that. I was having so much fun. It was one of my favorite tournaments that I ever played in.”
Budd, Haggerty and Burns all have other events scheduled this fall before preparing for the high school season this spring. They expect to face one another again in many of the events — something Burns doesn’t mind.
“If I get to play them more, I love it,” he said. “I love the competition they give. That feeling is just fantastic.”
Among the other local golfers competing at Bentwater were Alex Burgess and Joe Burnett of Canton, and Josh Colley of Woodstock.