MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The Pines Country Club set up perfectly for Austin Root and the 18-year-old golfer from Williamstown took advantage after turning in the low score for the opening round of Thursday's West Virginia Junior Amateur Championship.
Root hit all but two fairways and finished with a 2-under par 69.
"This course sets up for a draw off the tee for right-handers, and I hit a big draw so that helps," said Root, who posted a 76 at the same course the previous day during a Top Flite Junior Tour event. "The course is narrow, but I learned that if you hit the fairway, you have a wedge into every hole.
"Today was one of those days where everything clicked."
Root, who leads the 17-18 age division by two strokes over Morgantown's Hunter Woods, started on the back nine and was sitting at 1-over until he made birdie at No. 1.
"I hit a driver to within 15 yards of the green then almost chipped in for eagle," Root said.
Root, who hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation, added a second birdie at No. 7 after leaving his approach shot to within 10 feet of the pin.
He converted the putt then followed with his third and final birdie on the eighth hole after making a putt from 6 feet.
"This is definitely the best I have ever done at the Junior Am," Root said. "I don't think I have ever finished in the top 10."
For today's final round, Root will be paired with Woods, Morgantown's Eric Wirth (72) and Scott Depot's Chris Williams (73) in the featured group set to tee off at 9:40 a.m.
"My approach is to just go out and do the same thing," Root said.
The leaderboard for the girls division also contains local flavor as Vienna's Lauryn Davidson leads the 15-18 age division after shooting an 89, while Elizabeth's Adeena Shears tops the charts for the 10-14 division with a 75.
Additional age group leaders in the boys field include Oceana's Colin Bowles (73) in the 10-12 division; Bridgeport's Marco Oliverio (78) in the 13-14; and Wirth in the 15-16.