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Playing on his home course at Otter Creek, Christian Fairbanks felt he could make a run at one of two U.S. Junior Amateur spots from Monday’s qualifier.
Not only did Fairbanks make a challenge, he captured the second and final qualifying spot after 39 holes of golf. The Columbus North junior-to-be carded rounds of 72 and 74 to tie for second at 2-over-par 146, then won a three-hole playoff.
“I wasn’t really sure because it was pretty windy,” Fairbanks said. “But I got my swing together and just happened to play well that day. That was one of my better rounds, but I could have done better. I missed a couple of putts early.”
Classmate Michael VanDeventer, who teamed with Fairbanks to lead the Bull Dogs to a fourth-place finish in last week’s IHSAA state finals, caddied for Fairbanks on Monday.
“I think that probably played a big part in helping keeping Christian focused for 36 holes,” North coach Doug Bieker said.
Fairbanks won last year’s age-group championship and won his age division in the Junior PGA event. But qualifying for the U.S. Junior Amateur has been his biggest achievement.
“After a couple of wins last year, it got my confidence up, and I just thought I’d try to qualify for a little bit bigger tournament,” Fairbanks said. “It’s a big jump in my confidence definitely, just knowing I can qualify for a bigger tournament.”
The U.S. Junior Amateur will be July 16 to 21 at Golf Club of New England in Stratham, N.H.
“It’s a difficult tournament to make,” Bieker said. “Anything on the national level is very difficult to make, but he’s very capable of obviously shooting the numbers it takes to make it. He’s that caliber of player. He was able to get things going and do that, so I would say it’s not a surprise.”
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