Oceana 14-year-old Colin Bowles was all ready to play in his first State Open Championship July 21-25 at the Resort at Glade Springs but he has a scheduling conflict.
The rising freshman at Westside High School will be in Texas playing in the United States Junior Amateur.
Bowles, whose home course is the family owned Clearfork Valley Golf Club in Oceana, qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur during a 36-hole qualifier on June 30 at the Parkersburg Country Club.
It was 36 holes in one grueling non-stop day of golf.
“It’s not very fun to walk,” Bowles said. “But, it’s in really good shape. The first 20-some holes I played really good. Toward the end I got a little tired, made a few stupid mistakes.”
Bowles’ expectations for himself weren’t high.
“I didn’t think I would qualify,” he said. “It was a strong field with a lot of out-of-state golfers.
“After I shot a 71 I was tied for the lead and knew I had to shoot another round close to that to make it. I shot a 74 in the second round. We got in and I heard the guy who shot a 71 had a couple birdie holes coming up so I didn’t think I was going to get in.”
That guy was Chris Sadd of Lexington, Ky. He birdied the final hole to force a playoff, which was being played on No. 1.
Sadd hit his driver in the right rough in the playoff and was blocked by a tree and was forced to hit a high shot. His second shot put him about a 40-foot putt from the hole.
Bowles’ drive sat in the middle of the fairway and his second shot – after aiming for the middle of the green – was 15 foot away. He two-putted to win on the first playoff hole.
“I was overwhelmed,” he said. “I just had to kind of take it all in.”
His brother Corey, a recently graduated basketball star for Westside, was caddying for Colin.
“I didn’t think Corey was going to make it,” Colin said. “He just had knee surgery after basketball season.”
The victory sends Colin Bowles to the U.S. Junior Amateur July 21-26 at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas. The tournament has twice been won by current PGA Tour player Jordan Spieth (2009, ’11).