Sage Valley: Maguire looks to follow brother's win

Jack Maguire shot a 1-over 73 on Friday at the Junior Invitational.

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Jack Maguire paid close attention earlier this week as his older brother, M.J., a sophomore at North Florida, won his first collegiate individual title at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga.

Jack couldn't attend the tournament – even though Braselton is just less than three hours from Sage Valley – but he followed the action online. He was glued to the online scoreboard on Tuesday as M.J. shot 68 en route to becoming the Ospreys' first conference medalist in school history.

"It's his first college win," said Jack, who also mentioned that M.J. likely won't make the trip with their parents to Sage Valley to root on his younger brother. "He's always been up there and been finishing top 10 a lot lately. I've been playing really well, just haven't had a big win yet, so (M.J. winning) that really does inspire me."

Like M.J., Jack, who signed to play at Florida State this fall, has posted several solid finishes in the past year. He most recently finished T-8 at the Azalea Invitational. He also recorded top 10s at the FootJoy Invitational and Rolex Tournament of Champions, and top 15s at the Western Junior, Polo Golf Classic and New Year's Invitational in 2012.

But despite a win last October at the St. Augustine Amateur, he doesn't have that signature victory.

That could change, though, if another Maguire brother has his way on Sunday.

"(Sage Valley) it really suits my game," said Jack, who shot 1-over 73 in Friday's first round of the Junior Invitational. "There's not a lot of trouble far left or far right off the tee; it's pretty open. I hit my driver long and straight, so I should have a lot of wedges and short-irons into the greens."

But the real advantage for Maguire comes at the par 5s. He birdied all four of them during Thursday's junior-am, and even had an eagle putt lip out. On Friday, he birdied both par 5s on the back nine, Nos. 10 and 15.

"Those distances (at the par 5s) really set up well for me," Maguire said. "While most guys will be hitting 3-wood, I'll be able to hit 3-iron, which is probably the best club in my bag."

The make-or-break part for Maguire will come on the greens. He spent some time rolling the ball on some of the tougher greens Wednesday at Sage Valley, including the three-tiered 18th green.

"I was just getting the feel for them, finding out where the grain's going," Maguire said. "Especially getting over a big slope, I want to make sure that I have the speed to get over it and then control it so I don't run it too far by.

"With these big greens, lag putting is going to separate the people that go low from the people that don't."

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