Junior notes: Murray qualifies for Nationwide event

Grayson Murray

Boys Rankings »

#NameYearStateRating
1Andy Zhang2016FL67.66
2Robin Wang2017FL67.93
3Doug Ghim2014IL68.11
4Cameron Champ2014CA68.25
5Austin Connelly2015TX68.36

The first time Grayson Murray competed in a Nationwide Tour event, he made the cut at 16 years old – becoming the second youngest to accomplish the feat.

Two years later and the now 18-year-old Wake Forest signee will make his second Nationwide start.

Murray won the Rex Hospital Open Junior Invitational on May 27 at TPC Wakefield Plantation in Winston-Salem, N.C. He shot a 5-under 137 to secure a spot in this week’s Rex Hospital Open May 31-June 3 at the same course.

“The first time, when I was 16, I was in awe of the whole thing. It was kind of surreal,” said Murray, who competed in the Rex Hospital Open in 2010 and made the cut behind a strong second round in which he shot a 5-under 66. He finished T-55 at 2 under.

“But now it just seems like another tournament. I still have nothing to lose though.”

Murray has enjoyed a successful year so far since graduating high school in January and moving to West Palm Beach to live with a friend.

He finished 11th in a U.S. Open local qualifier in Jupiter, Fla. He also notched a sixth-place performance at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, where he finished ahead of Golfweek’s top two ranked juniors, Shun Yat Hak and Beau Hossler.

But he still had not found the win column since winning the North Carolina High School Invitational more than a year ago.

“It had been a while since I’d won a tournament,” said Murray, ranked No. 52 in the Golfweek/Sagarin junior boys rankings. “I’ve been playing well. Not even just the fact that I qualified for the Nationwide event, but just winning feels pretty good.”

Murray qualified for match play at the U.S. Junior in each of the past three years, part of his impressive resume that he will take to Wake Forest this summer.

Murray plans on taking summer classes and working on his game to prepare for the fall season. He also has aspirations of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur in August.

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HITCHNER GETS FIRST WIN: Tyler Hitchner carded a final-round, 3-under 68 to win the AJGA Preseason Junior at Chateau Elan May 26-28 in Braselton, Ga., and claim his first career AJGA victory.

Hitchner led from the start of the 36-hole event, shooting 69-68 to finish at 5 under and beat runner-up Jack Larkin by four strokes. Hitchner’s final round included six birdies.

“Every putt I had within 10 feet went in,” said Hitchner in an AJGA release.

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LOOKING AHEAD: With several junior tournaments finishing on Memorial Day, there’s not much on the docket this upcoming week. One of the few ranked events is the AJGA Preseason Junior at Nemacolin, which will be held June 2-3 at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort’s Links Course in Farmington, Pa. It is part of the IMG Golf Academy Preseason Series.

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