While most kids his age were down at the beach soaking up some rays the past two days, Jamison Randall was at Potowomut Country Club playing with some of the top amateur golfers in Rhode Island.
And, after a shaky opening start, the recent Cumberland High grad and individual state champion has manufactured a pair of solid rounds at the 106th annual R.I. Amateur Championship.
The 17-year-old Randall shot an opening round, even-par 71 on Tuesday. He followed that up yesterday afternoon with a 72 to finish stroke play tied with Metacomet’s Steve Meriuzzo for fifth place at 1-over 143. Jonathan Bartlett of Carnegie Abney and 2009 titlist Bobby Leopold of the host course tied for first at 136.
Randall begins match play of the five-day tourney this morning at 9:36 when he plays Metacomet’s Derek Corrente.
“On Tuesday, I was happy with my round. I felt like I played better than I did on Wednesday,” said Randall, from his Cumberland home. “I just didn’t feel like I had a good round today, but I still shot fairly well.”
Randall, the youngest player to make the cut that was set at 9 over, didn’t get off to the type of start he anticipated in his first appearance at the event. He fired a 3-over 38 on the front nine that included a double-bogey 6 on the 429-yard first hole and a bogey 5 on the 362-yard second.
The trouble on the first hole was partly due to a late arrival at the course. Randall was warming up at Alpine Country Club in Cranston before his round and miscalculated the distance to the Warwick course.
“I got to the course about 30 seconds before my tee time,” he said. “I thought it would be less time from Alpine to Potowomut. I got to the first tee and duck-hooked my drive and just got it over the pond. I hit my third shot in a bunker and two-putted.”
Randall was four over after eight holes and registered his first birdie at the ninth, a 445-yard, Par 5.
“I was just waiting for one birdie to get me in a zone,” he said. “It happened at nine and then I birdied the tenth.”
Randall also had birdies at the 14th, 15th and the 17th to finish the back side with a 3-under 33 and even par for his round.
On Wednesday, the former Clipper standout started his round on the back nine where he had seven pars, a birdie and a bogey. He shot even par on his last nine, but had a string of three straight bogeys between holes five and seven.
“I think down the stretch I started to get a little tired and my legs felt a little weak because of the sun,” he said. “It doesn’t usually happen to me. I just felt I was getting a little tired and started to spray my shots a little.”
Randall finished up his second round on a positive note with a birdie. His drive went to the right of the tree on the fairway. He punched a shot through the trees that landed next to the green. He chipped to within six feet of the flag, he estimates, and putted the ball into the cup for his four.
Randall, who recently won the Big I qualifier at Potowomut with rounds of 73 and 70, now partakes in the match-play portion of the tournament, beginning with the Round of 32. If he wins his first match this morning, he’s back on the course again in the afternoon for another one-on-one duel in the Round of 16. On Friday it will be quarterfinal and semifinal matches and a 36-hole final match will be played on Saturday.
In last year’s tourney, former St. Raphael Academy star Garrett Medeiros hoisted the championship trophy.
“I do like match play a little more than stroke play,” Randall admitted. “In match play, it’s just you and your opponent.”
What does he feel about his chances of being the next local player to prosper at the R.I. Amateur?
“It really depends on how I play,” he said. “If I play around the same as stroke play, anything can happen in match play. I am just going to see what happens. I’ll just play my best and see what happens.”
DIVOTS: Kyle Hoffman of the Pawtucket Country Club finished stroke play in a three-way tie for tenth with a 146. He shot a 2-under 69 on Wednesday. Also tied at tenth was two-time champion Brad Valois of Metacomet. Valois, who won back-to-back crowns in 2006-07, had rounds of 75 and 71. Hoffman plays Jason Kalin of Metacomet in his Round of 32 match this morning at 8:33.