Sage Valley: Connelly battles illness for 4-over 76

Austin Connelly hits the first tee ball to open the competition at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley on Friday in Graniteville, S.C.

Austin Connelly hits the first tee ball to open the competition at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley on Friday in Graniteville, S.C.

Boys Rankings »

#NameYearStateRating
1Scott Scheffler2014TX67.29
2Zecheng Dou2015CA67.78
3Andy Zhang2016FL68.36
4Brad Dalke2016OK68.49
5Austin Connelly2015TX68.51

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. –– Austin Connelly held a share of the lead at the Junior Invitational early on Friday, but come the end of the round, he was just happy to finish.

"I'm not in great shape," said Connelly, who shot 4-over 76 and is T-26 after the first round. "I woke up this morning and my throat hurt really bad. I didn't have a lot of energy. Thursday night, I was very shaky and weak, had a fever and I just didn't feel well."

Connelly, who won the Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship last week in McKinney, Texas, was given some antibiotics on Thursday night, and they seemed to do the trick early – he was 1 under through his first five holes.

But he recorded five bogeys the rest of the way, including bogeys on each of the last three holes, to fall out of the lead.

"The medicine helped me until about (hole No.) 13 and then I just crashed," Connelly said. "I was sitting down on tee boxes, every chance I got to sit. Tried to drink as much water as possible. Come (Nos.) 16, 17 and 18, I was just beat."

After taking more medicine on Friday night, Connelly said his health had improved.

"I'm feeling much better now," Connelly said. "I got some more medicine in me. Hopefully, I'll sleep well tonight and play better tomorrow."

Even with good health, Connelly will have to battle a tough Sage Valley course if he wants to win for the second time in as many weeks. He's drawn some inspiration from his girlfriend, too. Taylor Coleman shot 68 Thursday at the North Texas LPGA Shootout and despite the amateur adding a 77 on Friday to miss the cut by two shots, Connelly was still impressed.

"It's so awesome," Connelly said. "I'm really proud of her."

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