Wright won the girls 16-18 age group on Monday with a 76 at a First Tee of Canton Junior Tour event at Tannenhauf Golf Course.

Jackson junior Avery Wright has only been playing golf for four years. You wouldn’t know that by looking at her scores and her success.


The two-time state qualifier added another accolade Monday by winning a First Tee of Canton Junior Tour event at Tannenhauf Golf Club. Wright shot a 76 to win the stacked girls 16-18 age group.


"I was able to hit the ball well today," Wright said. "I changed some things with my putting stroke and that is starting to feel more natural to me."


The changes to the way Wright putts should only make her better this fall for Jackson.


"We changed the stroke so I can get more arc on the swing when I putt," Wright said. "I’m getting used to the feel of it. It’s getting to where I want it to be."


It may seem like a lot of success in a short amount of time for a new putting stroke but that is nothing new for Wright, who adapted to golf quickly after picking up the sport in 2016.


"I played basketball when I was younger and had played into middle school," Wright said. "I think having an athletic background was what allowed me to make the switch. I’ve also put in a lot of hard work since getting into golf."


Wright credits area pro Doug Lemons with easing the transition.


"He helped me develop my swing," Wright said. "I tried to pick up on everything he showed me as quickly as I could. It was just a matter of putting in time."


It’s Wright’s commitment to excellence that should make Jackson one of the premier teams in the Federal League once again this fall.


There are other reasons for hope as well. Jackson teammate Abrielle Nikolaidis took second place in the age group with an 81.


"I think we have a really strong team," Wright said. "Abby had a great round today. I really hope that we get the opportunity to have a season."


That is an issue for another day, one removed from the sweltering heat at Tannenhauf.


"I just want to thank Terry (Taylor) and the First Tee for putting on such a fantastic tournament," Wright said. "It was a lot of fun."


MINERAL RIDGE SENIOR READY FOR SEASON


Tannenhauf is an important course for Mineral Ridge senior Jake Sylak. It is site of the Division III district tournament for his school and a place Sylak needs to master if he wants to reach the state tournament.


Consider Sylak ready for the fall season. He shot a 74 to win the largest boys 16-18 age group of the summer on the First Tee Junior Tour.


Sylak made four birdies on his way to an impressive finish.


"I felt really confident today in how I was playing," Sylak said. "I’ve been working on my ball striking. I’m a much better player when I’m in the fairway so I used less drivers today. I tried to set myself up with some makeable putts and I was able to read the lines well. I felt in control all day."


It’s been part of a spring of growth for Sylak, who hopes to attract the attention of Division I colleges.


"Everything going on with the coronavirus has given me a lot of time to focus on my game," Sylak said. "I’ve been able to work on a lot of the things I wanted to work on. It’s a terrible set of circumstances but it has provided me with the perfect excuse to work on my game. I want to play Division I golf and to do that, I knew I needed to get my scores down over the course of the summer."


Sylak is looking for an opportunity to show off his improvement against area opponents this fall.


"I really hope we play," Sylak said. "This is one of the sports I feel like you can effectively socially distance while playing. As a senior, I’ve been looking forward to this year for a long time. It would be devastating to lose out on all those memories and I’m trying hard not to think about it."


LEOPARD NATION MAKES WAVES


Louisville’s Erin Strouse won a shortened First Tee of Canton Junior Tour event at Arrowhead Golf Club two weeks ago. Not even the elements could stop her this time.


Strouse made two birdies and shot a 74 to win the girls 13-15 age group.


"It feels good to win," Strouse said. "I just try to get out and practice as much as I can. I’ve been working a lot on my hitting and my short game and I feel like I’ve made a lot of improvements this spring. I feel good about where I’m at."


Strouse was a key player on a Louisville team that reached the district tournament. The goals will be set higher this season.


"I can’t wait to see how the team does this year," Strouse said. "We’re really hoping to find a way to get out of districts and to the state tournament. That’s what all of us are working towards right now."


EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND


Green freshman Nathan Raymond had never seen Tannenhauf before Monday.


It’s a course he will get used to. The Federal League postseason tournament and the Division I sectional tournament have been held at the course often over the past few years.


The results on Monday should give Raymond and the Bulldogs something to feel good about. Raymond won the boys 13-15 age group with a 78.


"I liked it here," Raymond said. "It was a nice course. I felt like I was able to drive the ball well and putt well. My last few holes were a little shaky and there were some spots I could have done better but I’ll take it."


Raymond has also used the time off during the coronavirus to work on his game. It its something he hopes to show off this fall.


"I hope we are able to start the season on time," Raymond said. "I really hope the season is not canceled. All the coronavirus stuff slowed me down a bit early in the spring but I feel like I’m where I should be now."


EARLY BIRDS


Colton Gress won the boys 10-12 age group with a 36. Ellie Hutzler won the girls 10-12 age group with a 42. Golfers in this age group play only nine holes.


Monday was the largest field of the summer for a First Tee of Canton Junior Tour event. The organization had 60 golfers compete.


Reach Cliff at cliff.hickman@cantonrep.com


On Twitter: @chickmanREP


First Tee of Canton Junior Tour


at Tannenhauf Golf Club


Monday


Age group results


Boys


10-12 1, Colton Gress 36; 2, Gavin Gress 37; 3, Eddie Karam 47; 4, (tie) Hayden Higgins, James Yoder 49; 6, Thomas Mankowski 50; 7, Andrew Pucky 64; 8, Brock Shockleee 65


13-15 1, Nathan Raymond 78; 2, Jack Mayle 81; 3, Raffaele Scassa 84; 4, Blake Howard 91; 5, Andrew Arway 92; 6, (tie)William Bopp, Evan Raymond 93; 8, Daniel Gambone 95; 9, Caleb Harsh 96; 10, Evan Jordanides 97; 11, Conner Battershell 101; 12, Sam Boyles 102; 13, Anthony Morabito 107; 14, Matthew Chamblee 124; 15, Seth Anderson 152


16-18 1, Jake Sylak 74; 2, Ryan Aljancic 76; 3, Maddox Kruger 85; 4, Mitchell Pallotta 90; 5, (tie) Matthew Eversdyke, Austin Haig 92; 7, Arjun Bhatia 116


Girls


10-12 1, Ellie Hutzler 42; 2, Kamdyn Hershberger 53; 3, Leah Dang 54; 4, Brooke Shocklee 58; 5, Ava Potashnik 60; 6,Gia Remark 63; 7, Angelina Boyles 64; 8, Ava Schoeppner 72


13-15 1, Erin Strouse 74; 2, Hannah Higgins 83 ; 3, Ava Pulley 85; 4, Nina Shaffer 86; 5, Katelyn Potashnik 88; 6, Jayden Mitchell 89; 7, Ava Kemp 94; 8, Amanda Fedor 95; 9, Sydney Shocklee 112; 10, Kylie Porter 114; 11, Anna Eversdyke 128; 12, Mia Steigerwald 147


16-18 1, Avery Wright 76; 2, Abrielle Nikolaidis 81; 3, Campbell Young 83; 4, (tie) Jaden Eckard, Katie Bice 83; 6, (tie) Rachel DiDonato, Madison Gruber 84; 8, (tie) Olivia Swain, Lauren Petro 88; 10, Abigail Davis 90