Jake Kittner had never broken 80 in his life heading into Wednesday’s George Hannon Junior at Morris Williams Golf Course.
And after bogeying the par-3 eighth — Kittner’s 17th hole of the day — to fall to 9 over on his round, another day of not being in the 70s was about to pass by again (Morris Williams is a Par 71).
When he arrived at his 18th hole of the day, the par-4 ninth, Kittner knew exactly what he needed to do — and that’s when the pressure started to settle in.
Kittner piped one of the most nervy tee shots of his life down the left side of the fairway. Step one was complete. He left himself just a flip wedge into the ninth green, much needed considering that the pin stood at the front part of the green.
Kittner refocused himself for his second shot and threw a dart, stopping his ball on a dime less than four feet underneath the hole. He converted the birdie to get him back to 8 over, finishing with a number less than 80 for the first time ever — a 79.
“It was sweet. It was very nerve-wracking the whole time,” Kittner said. “I had to give it everything I had.”
For anyone who has ever played golf, breaking 80 for the first time is an incredible achievement. Back at the clubhouse, an elated Kittner immediately called his father to update him on what just happened.
“He was super happy for me,” Kittner said. “He’s out of town right now, but he was super happy.”
The celebration didn’t last too long for Kittner, though. Even after his win and breaking a golf milestone, Kittner, agitated by some missed putts during the round, already had his mind focused on improving as he headed for the parking lot.
“I need to work on my putting,” Kittner said. “That’s where I’m going right now, is to the putting green.”
For the full results from the 2018 George Hannon Junior, click here: leaderboard.htm
The Austin City Junior Championship will be July 24-25 at Jimmy Clay Golf Course.