For the second straight year, the Sea Pines Junior Heritage started off with cold, breezy weather. With winds gusting upwards of 15mph and soggy fairways limiting the roll of drives, Davis Love III’s Atlantic Dunes Golf Course played much longer than the 5,900 yards for the girls and 6,930 for the boys. The seaside course played incredibly difficult with the boys scores averaging 77.5 and the girls averaging 79.78.
After 18 holes, Saint Simons Island, Georgia native, Jackson Byrd was the only golfer — boy or girl — in red numbers with a 1-under 71. Byrd had it rolling early in his round, quickly getting to 4-under after his first eight holes before dropping a shot at the tricky par-5 ninth hole. Byrd is one shot clear of Greenville's William Jennings, who is the top-ranked player in the field at No. 18 in the Golfweek junior rankings.
It is shaping up to be a great weekend for the Byrd family. Byrd’s father, Jonathan Byrd, a South Carolina junior golf legend and veteran PGA Tour professional was tied for 21st heading into Sunday’s final round at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Another PGA Tour pro’s son made waves early in the round on Saturday, as Jake Maggert, son of three-time PGA Tour winner Jeff Maggert, made the turn at a respectable 1-over 37 before closing with a gritty 40 on his back nine. Maggert’s 77 was good enough for a tie for 22nd heading into Sunday’s final round.
One of the trio of boys who had a playoff for last year’s title, PJ Maybank is at it again with a strong 1-over par 73. The Cheyboygan, Michigan, native is tied for third as he looks to avenge his playoff loss in 2021 to Florida’s Jack Turner. Maybank, who has made a verbal commitment to the University of Oklahoma, will once again find himself in one of the final groups with a chance to win the Junior Heritage.
Over on the girl’s side, One Kashima (Howey in the Hills, FL) and Macy Pate (Winston Salem, NC) are the clubhouse leaders at 1-over 73. Kashima had one of the most consistent rounds of the day with only two bogeys and one birdie on her card. Pate’s round of 73 was a little more adventurous with three birdies and four bogeys in windy conditions. The two leaders have hardly separated themselves from the pack. There are eight golfers within four shots of the lead.
Among them is Bluffton’s Camila Burnett. Burnett, a Furman commit and Hilton Head Prep star, fired a 5-over 77 and is tied for ninth. Burnett struggled a bit on her front nine, which was the extra breezy back nine at Atlantic Dunes, with two costly double bogeys on the 12th and 18th holes. However, the future Furman Paladin grinded out a strong one-over 37 on her finishing nine, including a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole.
Other locals in the star-studded field include Bridget Wilkie (81), Kylie Bowes (83), Grace Smith (85), and Robbin Zetrouer (88).
The final round tees off at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at Pete Dye’s masterpiece Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort.