29 Jul Perdue plays flawless, fearless golf for GJT title
LEXINGTON, Ky. – On a bright Monday afternoon at the University of Kentucky Club, Justin Perdue was easy to spot. He was the player wearing the white bucket hat and kelly-green shorts – the one hitting nearly every green.
The Golfweek Junior Tour Championship represents new territory for Perdue, a soon-to-be high-school senior from Dublin, Ohio. He took a one-shot lead into Monday’s final round and succesfully protected it. Perdue has won tournaments before, but had never taken the lead into the final round until this weekend.
Given that new territory, Perdue was able to keep his mind on his own game. He posted 3-under 68, his best round of the tournament to finish 54 holes at 4-under 209. That increased his one-shot lead to a three-shot victory.
“I didn’t really feel nervous at all today and that’s something to be proud of,” Perdue said.
Perdue had only two bogeys on the day, at Nos. 4 and 7. He rallied with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 9 and 10, then made 20-footers for birdie at Nos. 15 and 18. He also birdied the sixth.
Perdue is a quick yet methodical player with a sweet swing. When his driver got him into trouble early in the day, he bagged it in favor of a 3-wood. As he got his confidence back, he began to pull driver again late in the round. He hit 17 greens and had 32 putts.
Playing in the group ahead, Tyler Pearson posted the round of the day, a 4-under 67, to rise from a tie for fifth to solo second. He had five birdies and only one bogey, but it wasn’t quite enough to catch Perdue.
Though Pearson, a Ball State commit, was trying to charge, it wasn’t an easy day to do it. Paul Huber, the first-round leader, shot 1-over 72 and Nick Cortez, who posted a 32 on the front nine in Round 2, were also putting on a show.
“It was kind of hard, we looked back and almost every time they were throwing darts,” Pearson said of the leaders behind him.
Huber and Cortez finished third and fourth, respectively. Neither those two players nor Perdue have committed to a college, though all will enter their senior year in the fall.
Perdue plays primarily in Ohio, and around the rest of the Midwest, but his parents also own a home in North Carolina and a membership at Pinehurst. Perdue has played there often, and also has logged many rounds at Mid-Pines and Pine Needles in Southern Pines, N.C.
Perdue works with Don Sargent out of Sciota Country Club back in Ohio, and has made great strides in course management thanks to his high-school golf coach. Homes in two golf-rich areas of the country have also helped expose Perdue to an above-average number of golf experiences. For many years, he and his father attended a practice round for the Memorial Tournament, played at nearby Muirfield Village Golf Club.
He most envies Adam Scott’s swing on the PGA Tour because it’s so perfect to watch. He also admires Jordan Spieth, a player only three years older, because of his fearlessness.
“He’s not afraid of anything, and that’s something to aspire for,” Perdue said.
Monday’s performance suggests he’s well on his way.
CONGRATULATIONS, Justin Perdue!!!!
As an aside note and congratulations. Justin just committed and received a scholarship to play golf at Guilford University in Greensboro, North Carolina.