BRYAN, Texas — Brad Dalke put a different spin on the age-old golf adage, “I’d rather be lucky than good,” in the second round of the 40th Junior PGA Championship on Tuesday. He was both.
He blitzed Miramont Country Club with a front-nine 29 on his way to a bogey-free, championship- and course-record 9-under-par 62. That gave him a two-day total of 12-under-par 130 and he did his best to threaten to run away with the boys competition.
He was six strokes in front of Kaiwen Liu (69-67) of San Diego, Calif., and seven ahead of first-round leader Philip Barbaree (71-137). Wilson Furr (70) of Jackson, Miss., and Houston’s Cole Hammer (68) were at 4-under-par 138 and the only other players within eight of Dalke.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Dalke, who was third in last year’s Junior PGA, also at Miramont. “I made some early birdies, which set the tone for the round. I tried to put 59 out of my mind, and for the most part I think I did a pretty good job of that. It was a lot of fun; you don’t get too many rounds like that.”
Low rounds are nothing new for Dalke, who heads to his freshman year at the University of Oklahoma in a few weeks. He shot 29 in a U.S. Kids Golf event when he was 7, and he had multiple rounds of 61 in high school events.
“When I made the birdie at 9, it was kind of an unexpected birdie because that’s such a tough hole,” he said. “But I knew I had three par 5s on (my) back nine, so that’s when it  started to creep into my mind. Then I made the birdie at 10, and a birdie at 12, and I started thinking about it, maybe a little too much. It’s tough not to think about it in that moment.”
In Monday’s opening round, Dalke reeled off a run of six straight birdies, then stumbled with a double bogey. There were no such obstacles on Tuesday — only good fortune.
At the 440-yard 12th, Dalke thought he hit his approach 10 or 12 feet beyond the hole, but when he walked onto the green he was pleasantly surprised to see his ball within kick-in range. “I see it’s one foot away,” he said. “That’s when I knew it was going to be a special round.”
There was more good luck ahead to supplement his nine birdies, six of which were inside 10 feet.
At the par-4 17th, he mis-hit his approach and thought it was in a creek that runs in front of the green.
“And I get up there and, luckily, it’s 6 inches away [from the water],” he explained, “kind of hanging on.”
Dalke thinned his third, but the ball slammed dead-center into the flagstick and stopped 5 feet away, from where he made the putt and saved par.
“I guess when you have rounds like this you have to have a few lucky breaks,” said Dalke. “You can’t go through the whole round playing perfectly.”
Dalke’s 36-hole total of 130 is a Junior PGA Championship record, lowering by three strokes the mark previously shared by Joe Monte (2005) and Chris DeForest (2007).
In the girls competition, first-round leader Yujeong Son of Norman, Okla., maintained her lead despite a 1-over-par 72 on Tuesday. Her 36-hole total of 5-under-par 137 leads Elizabeth Wage (70) of San Marino, Calif., by one and Kaitlyn Papp (71) of nearby Austin, Texas, by two. Mariel Galdiano of Pearl City, Hawaii, whose 1-under 70 was one of only two subpar rounds on the day, was tied for fourth at 2-under-par 140 with Thailand’s Fai Khamborn (73), the winner of the Women’s Western Amateur earlier this summer.
“There was more out there,” said Galdiano, the winner of last week’s Canadian Women’s Amateur who closed with bogeys at two of her final three holes. “Even yesterday, with that triple (bogey), it was like, ‘What was that?’ ”
Son survived despite a double-bogey 7 at her ninth hole of the day, the par-5 18th. “I had three three-putts today, which really busted my round,” she said, “and the 18th, that was stupid. I missed a putt from 2 and a half, maybe 3 feet — I came up out of it — but there’s nothing I can do about it now. Overall, my shots weren’t all that good. But I’ll come out early tomorrow, practice my putting. Let’s hope for a better tomorrow.”
“I’m just thinking we’re all even,” she continued, “and it’s a new day. Anything can happen in golf. I’m going to try to keep my pace, not worry about the others, do my best and grind at it.”