GRANITEVILLE — Augusta’s Greyson Sigg took a look at the leaderboard next to the Sage Valley clubhouse and saw a red 5 at the top.
“I’m not so sure about that 5,” he said after signing for 1-under-par 71 midway through the first round of the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley on Friday.
Sigg didn’t believe the 5 – which belonged to England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick and indicated he was 5-under-par for this round while still on the back nine – would be there at the end of the day because of the tough finishing holes.
It wasn’t – Fitzpatrick bogeyed No. 17 and made triple bogey on No. 18 and shot 71.
It left him tied for fourth place with Sigg, who made a 45-footer for eagle on No. 4 and 35-footer for birdie on No. 16.
Sigg and Fitzpatrick are in a four-player group three shots behind leader Sam Horsfield, who was among the few players to have a strong finish.
Horsfield, who was born in England but has lived in Orlando, Fla., since he was 4 years old, birdied No. 17 and scrambled for par from a fairway bunker on 18 to complete 68.
California’s Rico Hoey is in second place at 69, which featured 2-under 34 on the back nine which he saw for the first time on Friday.
Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola had 70.
The 16-year-old Horsfield, who is a sophomore in high school, has won more than 100 junior events around the Orlando area and last year played in the U.S. Junior Amateur and the U.S. Amateur Public Links.
“I’m trying to play more higher amateur events,” said Horsfield, who calls this Sage Valley field’s the toughest he’s faced “junior-wise.”
He is friends with PGA Tour star Ian Poulter, of England, who also lives in the Orlando area.
“I see him quite a bit when he’s off,” said Horsfield, who beat Poulter when Horsfield was 13 at Lake Nona in Orlando.
“We played nine holes and I played one tee up and beat him 1-up in match play,” Horsfield said.
Hoey played in the final pairing on Friday and will join Horsfield in the last group today, going off at noon.
This is Hoey’s first visit to South Carolina, which has caught him by surprise.
“I’m shocked,” said Hoey, who is from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. “I’m not used to this kind of course or environment. I’m used to California. The atmosphere here, with the trees, it’s hard to think about golf. It was awesome playing out here.”
Defending champion Zachary Olsen started his round bogey -double bogey and was 8-over after eight holes. He played his final 10 holes in 2-under to finish at 78.
That comeback was nothing compared to that of Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura. He was 5-over after six holes and played his final 13 holes in 6-under for 71.
Starting on No. 8, Ventura birdied seven of his next eight holes.
“I knew it was real bad but I talked to my caddie and said ‘I’m going to come back,’ ” Ventura said. “I was just patient and things went my way.”
NOTE: Benjamin Griffin, of Chapel Hill, N.C., made a hole-in-one on the 16th hole. Griffin, who shot 74, used a 4-iron to ace the hole, which was playing at 225 yards on Friday. It is the first ace in the three-year history of the tournament.