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North senior challenges at junior golf event

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With birdies on two of the first four holes Thursday morning, Michael VanDeventer appeared ready to challenge for the lead at the Under Armour/Jeff Overton Championship hosted by Otter Creek.

But Braden Thornberry was playing too well to give it up.

Thornberry, from the Memphis suburb of Olive Branch, Miss., fired a final-round 3-under-par 69 to hang on and win by four shots in the American Junior Golf Association event.

VanDeventer, who will be a senior at Columbus North, had a 73 and finished in a tie for eighth.

VanDeventer shot even-par 72 both Tuesday and Wednesday and was tied for sixth going into the final round, just one shot out of second. He birdied No. 1 and No. 4 to get to 2-under but bogeyed No. 6, No. 9 and No. 12. He recovered with a birdie on No. 16 but bogeyed No. 17.

“I hit the ball well and consistently all week, really,” said VanDeventer, who   finished at 1-over 217. “I had so many chances I missed out on, so it was a little frustrating that some of the putts didn’t fall.

“But if you would have told me at the beginning that I’d be 1-over after three days, I’d have taken it,” he said. “I can definitely build off this and get some good confidence going into other tournaments this summer.”

Thornberry, who will be a junior at DeSoto Central High School, shot 70 in each of the first two rounds and finished at 7-under 209. He was making his first visit to Indiana.

“It’s a great course,” Thornberry said. “It fits my game good, and fortunately I was hitting all the fairways.”

Dawson Armstrong of Brentwood, Tenn.; Daniel Wetterich of Cincinnati and Nick Carlson of Hamilton, Mich., finished in a tie for second at 213. Dylan Meyer of Evansville; Jackson Moss of New Albany, Ohio; and Johnny Watts of Fishers tied for fifth at 215.

Two other Columbus golfers played in the final round after making the cut after 36 holes. Christian Fairbanks, who will be a senior at North, carded a 77 and finished in a tie for 37th at 229.

“Just really dumb mistakes late in the round cost me three or four shots,” Fairbanks said. “I didn’t play very well this week, and my score showed it.”

Recent Columbus North graduate Ian Smith, who is headed to Eastern Kentucky University, had an 80 Thursday and tied for 44th at 231.

“I hit my driver well today,” Smith said. “I just didn’t hit greens, and it killed me. The first and third days, I would have liked to have played better.”

No locals made the cut in the girls division. Shawn Rennegarbe from the southern Illinois town of Addieville, carded three rounds of 72 to win by five shots.

Rennegarbe, who will be a senior at Nashville High School, has committed to Arkansas.

“I didn’t really have anything too crazy,” Rennegarbe said. “I just tried to focus on a lot of pars and hitting fairways and hitting greens. I just tried to focus more on myself against the course rather than how I was doing compared to other people.”

Maddie Rose Hamilton of Louisville finished second with a 221. Erin Harper of Dublin, Ohio, and Hanna Lee of Cincinnati tied for third at 222.

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