A roller-coaster tourney for Elliott
It was a tale of two rounds for Scappoose High's Chase Elliott at last week's Southern Oregon Junior Championship at Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford.
After dominating with a 1-under-par 71, Elliott shot a 10-over 82 for a total of 153.
He tied for 10th out of 31 starters in the Boys Open 14-18 division of the two-day Oregon Golf Association tournament.
Elliott was third after the opening round, two shots behind Riggs Loftin, who went on to place second at 143, three shots behind the winner, Graham Moody (70-70—140).
"It was a very roller coaster-type tournament," Elliott said. "Overall not very good. I played really good the first day. Second day, absolutely horrible. So pretty opposite days."
The first day, Elliott had plenty of success with his irons, which put him close to the hole and allowed him to capitalize on birdie opportunities.
"I wasn't having to putt from not that far away, which took a lot of stress off my putting," Elliott said. "I was scrambling really well when I needed to. I was getting up and down, and I got a couple good breaks."
A point of emphasis for Elliott this summer has been improving his driving distance. On the first day of this tourney, "I hit my driver a lot better, which obviously showed in the score," he said. "I was hitting fairways, so I was able to attack the greens, and since I was hitting driver I was closer to the hole, which translated to being able to hit shorter irons."
Elliott consistently hit his driver 270 to 280 yards, a distance he's been trying to reach all summer. Even shots that went off the clubface poorly or hooked more than they should have ended up all right.
But golf is a fickle game, and those breaks that helped him so much in the first round were not prevalent in round two.
"I got a lot of unlucky breaks," Elliott said. "The first day, where I would hit a drive and it would clear the trees, the second day I would like barely nick the tree and it would drop down."
Elliott had several miscues like that, such as on the fourth hole, where his ball got plugged next to a tree and he was forced to punch it out. He also didn't have the same success in the short game that he had in the opening round, failing to get his irons close to the hole and settling for three-putts.
Even with the slip-ups, Elliott felt he wasn't hitting the ball horribly.
"It was a weird round, because I really wasn't hitting it that bad," Elliott said. "I was hitting my clubs decent. Probably felt like I maybe should have shot like a 78, something like that, but just had some bad mistakes. Just kind of spiraled down."
Rogue Valley was yet another new course for Elliott to master. Compared to previous courses, Elliott wasn't as much of a fan of this one.
"I honestly didn't really like the course that much," Elliott said. "It really wasn't that tough of a course. It wasn't that long, but there's a lot of out of bounds, which came into play."
There were plenty of blind tee shots where Elliott could lose his ball and not see where it landed. The hazards weren't a problem, but having out of bounds on both sides of the hole narrowed the course and the margin for error. In situations like that, Elliott likes to rely on his 3-wood.
"When there's out of bounds on both sides, I'm almost always going to hit 3-wood," Elliott said. "I'm pretty confident that I'm not going to hit my 3-wood out of bounds and the holes are really short, so I could afford to hit a 3-wood or a 2-iron."
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