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Chaminade's Walsh fires even-par 70 at Gateway PGA Junior tournament after long layoff

Chaminade's Walsh fires even-par 70 at Gateway PGA Junior tournament after long layoff

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS — Ryan Walsh was chomping at the bit for his sophomore golf season to get into full swing.

Walsh and the Chaminade Red Devils finished second at the 2019 Missouri Class 4 championships and were gearing up for another run at it in 2020.

And then the world turned on its ear.

The coronavirus pandemic put everything on hold, including high school sports, meaning there would be no shot at the state crown.

“It was pretty rough,” the 15-year-old Chesterfield resident said. “I was really wanting to get back there and hopefully get some revenge. Obviously, when they called off the season, it was pretty disappointing.”

After what he called a “boring spring,” Walsh was back on the course in a competitive tournament for the first time in at least five months on Tuesday when he competed in the first round of the Gateway PGA Junior Tour two-day tournament at The Quarry at Crystal Springs Golf Club.

“I have been able to play a lot with my friends,” he said. “It’s fun to play matches with them, but it’s definitely different when you’re in a tournament environment. It feels good to be back.”

Walsh, who finished in a four-way tie for third as a freshman at the Class 4 tournament, likes the opportunity a competitive environment provides to see where his game stands.

“In tournaments, you really see what you need to work on, but when you’re just playing by yourself, if you hit a bad shot, you don’t really care,” he said.

Walsh looked in midseason form after carding an even-par 70 at The Quarry.

He birdied two holes and parred the other seven on his way to a 2-under 32 on the front nine. He had just one birdie on the back nine, but it came at an opportune time on the 17th hole, one hole after a double-bogey, allowing him to finish his round at even par.

“On the front nine, I was doing very well,” Walsh said. “I think I hit every fairway and every green. I missed a few putts, but overall I was pretty happy. When the back nine came, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start thinking about a low round out there and I hit a few errant shots.”

Heading into the final round, which tees off Wednesday, Highland senior-to-be Evan Sutton sits just one shot back of Walsh, and Westminster junior-to-be Jack Wooldridge is three strokes back. No one else is within five shots of the lead.

Walsh said his plan heading into the final round is much like it was when he teed off in his first competitive tournament in months.

“I’m just going to try to keep doing what I’m doing,” he said. “Just try to keep hitting those greens and make a few more putts, and hopefully be pretty good.”

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