Spartanburg, S.C. - Fall temperatures have landed in South Carolina along with low scores as the 24th Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational has commenced. Competitors were greeted with an overcast morning, leading into a light rain and ending with the sun trying to peek through the clouds. Joseph Pagdin (Orlando, FL) and Fred Biondi (Port St. Lucie, FL) found themselves tied atop the leaderboard firing opening rounds of six under, 65 to take the early lead.
Pagdin led his charge early, carding three birdies on the front nine and four birdies and one bogey on the back nine. Biondi had a bogey on the par three third hole and never looked back. He gained a shot back on the par five fifth, and then made four more birdies and an eagle. Coming off a week at the Youth Olympics in Argentina, Pagdin would find himself in recovery mode as he contracted food poisoning while out of the country. Losing 11 pounds, muscle strength and energy were big concerns for the University of Florida commit leading up to the event. Pagdin stated the goal for this tournament was to stay in the moment and play each round as round one and will go into the finale with the same mindset.
Pagdin and Biondi are a shot clear of Alabama’s Gordon Sargent (Birmingham, AL) who sits alone in third and two shots ahead of Nathan Franks (Roebuck, SC). Sargent, a Vanderbilt University commit, would card five birdies and one eagle on his round to position himself in the final pairing and a chance to battle for the title.
The strongest and largest field in tournament history is a testament to commitment the Bobby Chapman Board and Country Club of Spartanburg. Traditionally held during September, the Board decided to permanently move the tournament to later in October to assure that the course is in optimal playing condition, providing the perfect test for the nation's top ranked junior players. This year, festivities kicked off at the players dinner Friday night. One of the most recognized PGA instructors, Butch Harmon, addressed the players to show support of the tournament, The Bobby Chapman Foundation and the late Rob Chapman. Players had a special opportunity to hear stories from Harmon during and capped off the night with a short question and answer session.
In total, 33 of the country's top 100 players are teeing it up in Spartanburg, testing their ability against the field and a Donald Ross designed course. Players are representing 23 states and 57 college commits. “This field represents some of the best players in the country and substantiates why the BCJI is recognized as the top ranked two-day junior tournament in the country,” noted Tournament Chairman Doug Smith.
Hear from the leaders in their post round interviews:
Fred Biondi: Click Here!
Joseph Padgin: Click Here!