Recent Oneonta High School graduate Evan Sitts finished up play at the Junior PGA Championship Wednesday, July 31, totaling a four-over-par 144 over two rounds to miss the cut by three strokes.
“I thought I played pretty well,” Sitts told The Daily Star. “Everything (on the course) was laid out perfectly for my eyes, I just made a few mistakes that were really costly.”
Sitts tallied two rounds of 72 at par-70 Keney Park Colf Course in Hartford, Connecticut to finish at four-over 144. The result marks the second time that Sitts has failed to make the cut at the event after missing the cut by 15 strokes with rounds of 77 and 86 when he last qualified in 2017.
The North Franklin resident cut 19 strokes off his two-round score, and 15 strokes to par from his 2017 performance at the Country Club of St. Albans in St. Albans, Missouri. The 2017 tournament was played on the par-72 Lewis and Clark Course.
In 2017, the cut was 149, or five over par. Unfortunately for Sitts, the cut dropped all the way to one over par in Hartford.
“I was looking at the scores and any other year I am making the cut by three or four strokes,” Sitts said. “This year just happened to be the year I shot 144 and didn’t make the cut.”
Sitts’ weekend was consistent, as he did not score worse than bogey on any hole, but he said a few missed putts that stopped him from gathering any momentum.
His first nine holes of the tournament opened with two bogeys, followed by three birdies in six holes. But just as he looked set to reach the second nine under par, he missed a par putt on his ninth hole.
“I knew bogeys are gonna hurt, but I knew I could avoid the doubles and triples and play to my strength. When I was in tough spots I just tried to put it in my best spot. I made some good scrambles,” Sitts said.
His scoring never really accelerated, however, due to difficulty scoring on the par fives. As a shorter hitter, Sitts said he relies on the par fives to score, but he finished at two over on those holes.
“The par fives weren’t very long, I could get to almost all of them in two. I just didn’t really take advantage,” Sitts said. “I made some small mistakes in there, missed a few putts. One or more of those drops and maybe that momentum builds up.”
Sitts said he hit a good amount of greens in regulation and more than 20 fairways during his 36 holes. The performance leaves him in a good position ahead of the New York State Men’s Amateur, which begins Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Crag Burn Golf Club in East Aurora.
“I’m pretty excited. I feel good about my game,” Sitts said. “A lot of these kids are going to end up playing professionally. To compete and be in striking distance of the cut is a great compliment and a huge confidence booster.”