Andrew Walker qualifies for US Jr. Amateur, competes at Western Junior this week
Royal Oak – Andrew Walker, one of the state’s top amateurs from Battle Creek, took a roundabout way to compete at the 99th Western Junior amateur at Red Run Golf Club in Royal Oak on Tuesday.
Walker is one of 10 players from Michigan in the field of 156 competing at the nation’s oldest junior amateur tournament.
Walker graduated from Battle Creek Lakeview this past spring and will attend Michigan State in the fall.
On Monday he and his father, Fillmore Walker III, were in Carlisle, Pa., for the U.S. Junior Amateur qualifying at Carlisle Country Club. Walker shot even par in the 36-hole qualifier and his second-place finish was good enough to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur to be held July 18-23 at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn.
The Walkers left Carlisle, located approximately in the middle of the state, at 7:30 p.m. The 470-mile trip to Detroit should take seven hours or so but traffic difficulties made it a 9½-hour ride. With Walker scheduled to tee off at 8:10 a.m., most of his time sleeping was done in the car.
“He wanted to do it,” Fillmore Walker said. “I’m just the driver.”
Walker shot 1-over 73 and is four shots behind the leaders in the 72-hole event. The field of 156 will be trimmed to low 44 and ties after Wednesday’s second round.
“I don’t remember getting here,” Walker said. “I think we checked into the hotel here around 3:30 or 3:45. I’m a little tired.”
He made three birdies and four bogeys in his round. He made a 40-foot putt from the fringe on No. 2 for birdie and made a 45-footer for birdie on No. 12. He made bogey and Nos. 16 and 17 before sinking a 9-foot putt for birdie on the 552-yard par 5 No. 18.
At age 14, Walker was the youngest African-American to qualify for the U.S. Amateur. Tiger Woods, at age 18, was the youngest player to win the U.S. Amateur.
The 2013 U.S. Amateur was held at the Charles River Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Walker shot a two-round 153 and missed the cut.
Walker was medalist at the Division 1 finals each of the past two seasons.
Among the other Michigan entries is Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood junior Devin Deogun. Deogun was medalist at the Division 2 final held at Bedford Valley Golf Course on June 4. Deogun shot a two-day total of 139. Eric Nunn of St. Johns also shot 139 and Deogun won in a playoff.
Deogun has had a fine junior year earning medalist honors at the district and regionals, plus two invitationals in addition to the state final.
Deogun shot 76 on Tuesday.
“My first goal (here) is to make the cut,” he said. “I’ve got some work to do to do that.”
Deogun will also compete at the Michigan Junior Amateur to be held July 22-25 at Point O’ Woods Golf and Country Club in Benton Harbor.