WILLIAMSBURG Northern Virginians Nathan Chuwait, 16, of Herndon and Matthew Brittain, 17, of Ashburn each shot second round totals of 6-under-par 66 and share the lead entering Thursday's final round of the 62nd Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship being conducted at Williamsburg Club.
Chuwait and Brittain, who matched the low round of this year's championship, stand at 6-under 138. Defending champion Logan Yates, 16, of Ruckersville is the co-leaders' nearest pursuer at 3-under 141 (71-70). Andrew Spiegler, 16, of Abingdon logged 3-under 69 and is four off the pace at 2-under 142, along with first day leader Tom Crow, 16, of Virginia Beach, who followed his first-day best 66 with 76 on day two.
After hitting 17 greens on the opening day, Brittain came into the second round with confidence and the putter started rolling in birdies. Starting his round on No. 10, Brittain closed strong, birdieing four of the final six holes.
'Yesterday I had all kinds of birdie looks. They just didn't fall.,' Brittain said. 'My goal today was to just keep hitting fairways, keep hitting greens and having looks for birdies. Today they just happened to fall in.
'There are certain stretches on this course where you can make a lot of birdies. On that stretch in particular I knew I could make a lot of birdies. I was just trying to hit it in the fairway and get my iron shots close enough to make the putt.'
Brittain also birdied each of the layout's four par 5s. He says his strategy won't change in the final round.
'It gives me great confidence to know that I can shoot a low number out there,' Brittain said. 'All I need to do is keep it in the fairway, hit greens and I'll be all right. To be tied for the lead is good, but I just have to go out and play the golf course. I can't worry about what everyone else is doing. I'll stick to my game plan and hopefully it will turn out well.'
Chuwait played solidly the whole way, registering seven birdies against a single bogey.
'Going into today I just wanted to shoot another good round and see where I would stand going into the final round. I was really happy with the way I played today,' Chuwait said. 'I was definitely striking the ball well and my putting was really good today. It was a good combination of hitting the ball well and then having to make the putt.'
Chuwait was able to record some key par saves as well, something he wasn't able to do during day one. The wedge and putter were instrumental to Chuwait's success.
'Today I managed to get up and down pretty well to save myself from making those bogeys. I putted a lot better today than yesterday,' he said.
Like Brittain, Chuwait knows that he must stay focused on playing the course well in the final round and not get caught up with the scores of his fellow-competitors. Chuwait will be in the final group of three with Brittain and Yates on the last day.
'I just want to stay calm and stay relaxed and keep doing what I've been doing. Hopefully I can go out tomorrow and shoot a great number,' Chuwait said.
Spiegler was three under in Wednesday's round, accounting for the third-best score of the day behind Chuwait and Brittain's scores of 66. Spiegler's round was highlighted by a hole-in-one at the par-3 fifth hole where his 8-iron tee shot from 152 yards landed on the green and spun back into the hole for his first career ace. He coupled that gem with two birdies to offset a bogey.
Following Wednesday's second round, the field was reduced to the low 45 competitors and ties for Thursday's final day with 45 players at 10-over 154 or better making the cut.
WILLIAMSBURG Results from the second round of the 62nd Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship at Williamsburg Club (6,744 yards, par 36-36 72) on Wednesday, July 30.
Matthew Brittain (Ashburn), 72-66 138
Nathan Chuwait (Herndon), 72-66 138
Logan Yates (Ruckersville), 71-70 141
Andrew Spiegler (Abingdon), 73-69 142
Tom Crow (Virginia Beach), 66-76 142
Mark Lawrence Jr. (Richmond), 72-72 144
Connor Burgess (Lynchburg), 72-72 144
Colton Grow (Henrico), 74-70 144
Charlie Musto (Sterling), 73-72 145
Kurt Funkhouser (Potomac Falls), 74-71 145
Connor Messick (Oak Hill), 73-73 146
Connor Rinoski (Yorktown), 73-74 147
Bryce Johnson (Oakton), 74-73 147
Fitz Woodrow (Charlottesville), 74-74 148
Ty Olinger (Blacksburg), 74-74 148
Trey Wren (Suffolk), 71-77 148
David Rabil (Fairfax Station), 74-74 148
Austin Fockler (Richmond), 73-75 148
Adam Szwed (Woodbridge), 75-73 148
Jake Miles (Spotsylvania), 74-75 149
Joey Jordan (Glen Allen), 74-75 149
Larkin Gross (Center Cross), 76-75 151
Adam Hade (Glen Allen), 76-75 151
Alston Newsom (Chesapeake), 74-77 151
Vishal Giri (Chantilly), 75-76 151
Brandon Weaver (Purcellville), 79-72 151
Josiah Singleton (Brookneal), 74-78 152
Brandon Yoon (Brambleton), 74-78 152
Ryan O'Sullivan (Leesburg), 78-74 152
Parker See (Verona), 80-72 152
Zeke Shen (Forest), 77-75 152
Ian Hildebrand (Purcellville), 75-78 153
Christopher Angelelli (Virginia Beach), 77-76 153
Michael Mead (Spotsylvania), 75-78 153
Teddy Hoffmann (Virginia Beach), 76-77 153
Boyd Peete (Richmond), 76-77 153
Ryan Muthiora (Zion Crossroads), 79-74 153
Keith Cooper (Suffolk), 81-73 154
Jordan Plogger (Staunton), 73-81 154
Will Coggins (Chesapeake), 79-75 154
Ben Ramsey (Bluefield), 77-77 154
Will Snyder (Clifton), 78-76 154
Sam Comer (Roanoke), 76-78 154
York Beights (Afton), 77-77 154
Jamie Agnew (Fairfax), 78-76 154