East Amherst’s Ben Reichert opened the first round of the American Junior Golf Association’s New Era Championship with a 3-under 69 to share the lead at River Oaks Golf Club on Grand Island.
Reichert is tied with Michael VanDerLaan of Southbury, Conn., while Hamburg’s Sara Riso leads the girls division after a round of 1-under 71.
Reichert, who has top-10 finishes in his first two AJGA events, carded two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 third hole.
“I went into today just wanting to make some good swings. You can’t control what score goes up on the board. At the end of the day, you can only control what kind of shots you hit,” Reichert said. “Going into tomorrow I have pretty much the same mindset.”
Three other local players – Williamsville’s Gregory Sibick, Elma’s David Hanes and Grand Island’s Kevin Borowicz – are part of a tie for 42nd in the 71-player field after they opened the 54-hole tournament with rounds of 8-over 80.
Riso made her first career hole-in-one on the par-3 eighth hole to highlight her round.
“Going into today I was really nervous, and after I started playing well on the first few holes I started to become even more nervous because the pressure to continue playing well grew,” she said. “This season hasn’t been the best for me. Today I kind of broke through and it was amazing. I never expected to be here and I feel so lucky to have played that well.”
Ana Paula Ramirez of Pachuca, Mexico, birdied four holes to card a first-round 1-over-par 73 and finish the day in second. Lewiston’s Maren Cipolla is tied for fourth at 4-over 75, while Lancaster’s Chelsea Dantonio is sixth at 5-over 76 and Hamburg’s Marah Penn is tied for seventh at 6-over 77.
The second round begins today at 7 a.m.
Doyle leads state amateur
Incoming Niagara University freshman Emily Doyle carded a 3-over-par 74 to hold a one-shot lead after the first round of the 85th New York State Golf Association Women’s Amateur on Tuesday at Dutchess Golf Club in Poughkeepsie.
Crag Burn’s Kit Creighton is just a shot behind after a 4-over 75, while Gowanda’s Kim Kaul is tied for ninth in the 68-player field after opening with an 8-over 79. Kaul leads the state women’s mid-amateur (for players 25 and older), which is being played concurrently.
Doyle, who attended Horseheads High School, finished sixth this spring at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls championship.
Ditcher wins Junior Tour event
Randolph’s Nolan Ditcher continued his strong summer of play by winning the Western New York PGA Junior Tour Niagara Falls Country Club Invitational on Tuesday.
Ditcher carded a round of 3-over 73 Tuesday for a two-day total of 4-over 144. First-round leader Matt Vona of Angola shot a 75 Tuesday to finish one shot back at 5-over 145. It ultimately was a two-player tournament as Elma’s Steven Kaufman and Buffalo’s Connor Quarantillo were the next closest competitors at 12-over 152.
Other age-group winners included: Pittsford’s Jack O’Donovan and Clarence Center’s Randy Felber (tied in boys 13 to 15 at 14-over 154), Lake View’s Sarah Beckwith (girls 13 to 15, 159) and Rochester’s Emily Doell (168).