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Leaders Fend Off Chasers to Remain at the Top of the Junior Worlds Ranks

Junior Girls 18 & Under Round 3 Lead Card (left to right): Lily Marr, Kat Mertsch, Melody Castruita

Two days down and two to go here in Emporia, Kansas for the 2019 PDGA Junior Disc Golf World Championships. With most of the divisions now having three rounds in the books, we’re finally beginning to see some separation between the names near the top of the leaderboards and the rest of the field. The larger divisions still have three full rounds remaining until the final 9 showdowns on Saturday morning, so there’s still plenty of time for those in the middle of the pack to make a move.

While there was some shuffling of ranks by the end of the day on Thursday, a majority of the competitors that began the day as the overall leader also finished the day in the same position.

In the Junior 18 & Under division, Zach Arlinghaus spent his 16th birthday defending his lead over a slew of players trying to take it away from him. Starting the day five ahead of Levi Hancock, Arlinghaus battled to stay at the top of the leaderboard during their round at Emporia Country Club in the late afternoon. After a roller-coaster start to the round that included two birdies and three bogeys through the first five holes, Arlinghaus recomposed himself to finish the round with a 3-under par 62 reducing his overall lead to three by the day’s end.

The pattern of starting in the lead and staying in the lead continued throughout the day, as Junior Girls 18 & Under leader Melody Castruita did much of the same, adding three more to her lead in the end over Kat Mertsch. The Junior 15 & Under division has been dominated from the get-go by Iowa’s Gannon Buhr, who finished the day with 18 strokes ahead of the rest of the field in pursuit of his second junior world championships title.

Junior 12 & Under - Round 3 - Lead Card - Peter Pan Park

The Junior Girls 15 & Under division saw Hope Brown extend her lead to 14 heading into Friday’s round four while the Junior 12 & Under division saw 11-year-old Kolby Sanchez add an additional stroke to his lead over Juan Anthony Cruz. When they begin their fourth round on Jones West, they’ll be separated by just three strokes with Carter Ahrens and Carver Whitford right on their heels. Haley Castruita has a battle just as tight in the Junior Girls 12 & Under division, heading into round four at Peter Pan on Friday afternoon with a two-stroke lead over MaryJane Stevens.

In the youngest and smallest divisions, two of the three races are still up for grabs. Wyatt Mahoney and Uriyah Kelley have been battling all week in the Junior 10 & Under divisions while Kaidin Bell and Jackson Green have been doing much of the same in the Junior 8 & Under division. Up until round three, Zoey Lynn Martinez and Ava Meyer were in a close race, but Martinez pulled away on Thursday shooting eight better than Meyer to take an overall lead of 11.

This year’s PDGA Junior Disc Golf World Championships will see no semifinals, so all that remains are the rounds taking place this morning and/or afternoon, plus one more full round on Saturday morning to determine who will make it to the finals. Follow the scores on to see how everything shakes out!

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