The only thing junior about Sylas Elliott’s golf game is his age.
The 16-year-old Cullman High golfer was lights out for a second straight round to run away with the Alabama Junior Golf Association’s Open Championship on Wednesday at the TP Country Club.
He followed Tuesday’s 1-over 73 with a 2-under 70 to wind up as the only player in the red after 36 holes. The next closest golfer in the 16-19 boys division was Lee Lann, of Haleyville, who finished six shots back at 5-over.
“It means a lot,” Elliott said of the victory. “This is a big confidence builder to be out here and play in this tournament and end up winning it.”
Elliott also grabbed the AJGO Open Championship title at Point Mallard in 2010. He did not play in last year’s event.
“It feels really good to go 2-for-2 in this tournament,” he said. “It’s going to look really good on a resume for college golf.”
The Bearcat junior rebounded from a bogey on his first hole, which was No. 4 because of an early-morning shotgun start, by firing off three straight birdies on holes 6, 7 and 8. Elliott’s only other dropped shot came on the par-5 18th, but he quickly responded at No. 1 with his fourth and final birdie.
“This was one of my better tournaments for sure,” he said. “I still need to touch up my game a little bit more, but that’s always something you have to do in golf.”
Elliott was pleased with the way he hit the ball on Tuesday but hadn’t felt so hot about his performance on the greens. He couldn’t complain about either aspect of his game after Wednesday’s round.
“The putter was definitely a lot more on today than it was yesterday,” Elliott said. “I was putting the ball closer to the pin, which made it a lot easier to two-putt than yesterday.”
Three golfers — Tanner Dixon, of Hoover; Mitchell Sandlin, of Gardendale; and Will Datuin, of Rogersville — tied for third in the 16-19 boys division at 6-over.
Cold Springs High’s Layne Rice and Cullman High’s Colby Sandlin were both near the top of the leaderboard after Day 1 but struggled in their second rounds to end up in the middle of the pack. Rice tied for 13th at 13-over (75-82), and Sandlin was all by his lonesome in 15th at 14-over (74-84).
Although he surely would’ve preferred a higher finish, Sandlin’s day was not all doom and gloom. The Bearcat managed to sink a nifty chip shot from just off the green on the 16th hole.
Cullman High’s Lee Mattox carded a pair of 82s to finish tied for 22nd at 20-over.
With both rounds completed, the top three in the boys 13-and-under division were Padraic Sim, of Spanish Fort, 8-over; Sam Murphy, of Decatur, 9-over; and Mac Murphy, of Decatur, 13-over.
The top three in the boys 14-15 division were Garrett Johnson, of Kimberly, 6-over; Matthew Lorenz, of Gulf Shores, 8-over; and Reagan Harrell, of Guntersville, 10-over.
The top three in the girls 14-and-under division were Grayson Gladden, of Helena, 31-over; Caroline Waldrop, of Birmingham, 33-over; and Madison Sanders, of Clanton, 44-over.
The top three in the girls 15-18 division were Micheala Williams, of Athens, 9-over; Hannah McCracken, of Trussville, 19-over; and Ashton Maddaloni, of Eclectic, 21-over.
The AJGO also recognized its 2012 Players of the Year in five divisions following the Open Championship. They were Jordan Hartsell, of Hartselle, 13-and-under boys; Brett Batchelor, of Madison, 14-15 boys; Phillip Fitzgerald, of Decatur, 16-19 boys; Gladden, 14-and-under girls; and Williams, 15-18 girls.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at email@example.com.