EAST AURORA - After an exciting first day at the 2012 International Junior Masters at the East Aurora Country Club, Western New York was well represented by a number of impressive scores from local participants.
North Tonawanda native James Blackwell posted the best score of the day with a 2-under par 69. Despite being on top of the leader board after the first day, it is very apparent that Blackwell is a fierce competitor and is not satisfied quite yet. "I'm focused on the end goal right now and not so much what it is at this present time," Blackwell said. "Successful would be winning. I'm not out here to come in second or third place, I'm out here to win."
Although he was pleased with his driving, ball striking and approach shots today, Blackwell says putting is the key to his success. "I just have to make some more putts. There you go, that's all it is."
Blackwell is a recent graduate of St. Joe's and will play collegiate golf at Ball State University in the fall. As he will continue onto collegiate golf, Blackwell says his round today is an indication that he's almost there, but has to improve in order to compete and be successful. "It's okay for right now, but as I continue onto the next level and hopefully onward, 2-under par is not going to cut it. There's still some work to be done."
Jacob Kreuz of Amherst was not far behind Blackwell as he shot an even-par score of 71. Buffalo native Corey Cullen shot a 76 and Brad Belote of Lancaster finished the day with a score of 77. Andrew Romano from Depew High School shot a nine over 80.
Chandler Kraska of Eden and Marc Holzhauer of Clarence both shot a 79 today as well. The 13-year old Holzhauer is tied for the youngest participant in the field.
Match play begins tomorrow. The finals are Friday afternoon.