Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:56

Edmondson swings his way to a productive summer

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Noah Edmondson will soon play in the Jr. PLAYERS Championship. Noah Edmondson will soon play in the Jr. PLAYERS Championship. Courtesy AJGA

Noah Edmondson was so young the first time he played in a golf tournament that he can't even remember the experience.

He was just 3 when he entered the Pepsi Little People's Golf Championship in Illinois, and between swings, he would get distracted as young kids often do. "By the second to last hole, his dad and I would have to bribe him just to finish the hole," says Noah's mother, Angela.

Sometimes, the Edmondson parents used ice cream to their advantage. Other times, Noah endured a round on a par 3 course just so he could play putt-putt afterward.

These days, though, no such incentives are necessary. Edmondson, 15, wants to be on the course as much as possible. And it's no wonder.

The Davidson resident has posted the two most significant wins of his career this summer and will play in the prestigious Jr. PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in early September.

"It's been a good summer," says Edmondson. "It really has."

Last week, Edmondson won the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship in Springfield, Mo. The lefty led the 54-hole, three-day event by five strokes entering the final round, having shot an opening-round 69, followed by his best-ever round, a 7-under 65 that included nine birdies and two bogeys.

"The putts just started to drop for me," says Edmondson of his second round. "I was seeing the lines really well."

A third-day score of 74, however, put Edmondson in a playoff against Grant Hirschman of Tennessee, who rallied from eight strokes down by shooting 66 on the final day to tie for the lead.

The two squared off on Rivercut Golf Course's No. 18 hole, and Edmondson's chance at winning nearly took a detour when his second shot, from an uneven lie just outside a bunker, landed in the water. But Hirshman also found water on his second shot, putting the players back on equal terms. Both eventually ended up with long par putts, with Edmondson sinking his from 23 feet. Hirschman then missed, giving Edmondson the win, just not exactly the way he envisioned it.

"It was a pretty weird playoff hole," says Edmondson, who considers that victory as special as the one he earned June 18-21 at the 32nd Bubba Conlee National Junior at Quail Ridge Golf Course in Bartlett, Tenn. There, Edmondson shot rounds of 68, 70 and 66 to win by five strokes.

Consistency, says Edmondson, is what has made him successful.

"I make enough birdies and not too many bogeys to go out and shoot a good round," he says.

The productive summer helped Edmondson earn a spot in the Jr. PLAYERS, which will include the top 60 U.S. players from the class of 2013 and younger along with 18 international competitors. Edmondson has played at Sawgrass before and parred the famous No. 17 hole featuring the island green. He's looking forward to getting back on the storied course and playing his first AJGA Invitational event.

He's also looking forward to next spring's high school season at Cannon School. The Cougars finished third in the state this past year and return a talented group of players, including Davidson's Will Gordon, Mooresville's Anthony Perrino and Cornelius' Grant deGorter. Edmondson, a rising sophomore, says the Cannon players push each other, and everyone benefits.

"It's very competitive so it definitely helps," he says. "I think we focus more on beating each other than beating the other team. We know if we beat each other, we had to have played well."

First, though, there's more offseason work to be done. Edmondson is set to play in the Webb Simpson Junior Championships near Greensboro next week.

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