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Young Guns Keep Their Cool While Playing Hot


Junior 18 & Under leader Trenton Wilbanks putting at Peter Pan on day one.

As the afternoon rounds came to a close at the 2018 PDGA Junior Disc Golf World Championships, it was easy to see that the intense heat from the day had taken its toll on many. Two rounds of disc golf in 100+ degree temperatures is a challenge all its own. Add to that the stress and pressure of a world championship on the line and you've got yourself a recipe for a physically and mentally exhausting day.

Those competitors that can’t take the heat better find a way to adjust their game plan quickly, because it’s not going to cool down anytime soon. Between now and the finals on Saturday, even the lowest high is still a scorching 95 degrees. With today’s forecast being the most physically punishing, the Junior 18 & Under, Junior 15 & Under, Junior Girls 18 & Under, and Junior Girls 15 & Under divisions are the fortunate ones, as they will play only one round today while the rest of the field plays two.

The 18 & Under and 15 & Under girls both have close races at the top of the leaderboard as they head into their third round this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. CDT at Peter Pan Park. Louisiana’s Esther Schultz, the older sister of the Junior 15 & Under division’s Silas and Simeon Schultz, leads by two over Missouri’s Cynthia Ricciotti.

A similar situation is taking place in the Junior Girls 15  & Under division, as Illinois’s Lydia Lyons leads also leads by two over Arkansas’s Edie Heard after their rounds at Peter Pan and Jones West on the opening day. They will join the 18 & Under ladies at Peter Pan once again this afternoon.

Both the 18 & Under and 15 & Under boys are taking on the Emporia Country Club today with tee times going off every ten minutes. The 15 & Under competitors will get to play in the slightly cooler temperatures of the morning and are facing a slightly shorter layout. With the heat index approaching 105 degrees by the time the 18 & Under lead card tees off at 1:00 p.m. CDT, the term “hot round” is going to take on a whole new meaning.

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Julian Celis jump-putting on 17 on the lead card during round two at Peter Pan.

After taking on Jones East and Jones West on Wednesday, Kentucky’s Zach Arlinghaus leads the 15 & Under division by just a single stroke. The cards at the top of the leaderboard are extremely close, as 18 players are all 10 or less off the lead. With Emporia Country Club giving favor to bigger arms, it will be interesting to see how the round this afternoon mixes things up.

The same can be said about the 18 & Under division. Power players are going to have a chance to make some moves, but only if they can keep it on the fairway, all while making sure to keep their cool while cooking in the sun. Oklahoma’s Trenton Wilbanks fought through the Wednesday rounds at Jones East and Peter Pan to emerge as the leader, just two ahead of both Idaho’s Trenton Higley and Finland’s Mikael Hakala. Joining them on the lead card will be Louisiana’s Jordan Smith, but much like the 15 & Under division, there are dozens of players within striking range.

Follow along as the PDGA Junior Disc Golf World Championships presented by Dynamic Discs continues here in sunny Emporia, Kansas. Live scores will be up and running all day on pdgalive.com, and make sure to follow Dynamic Discs and PDGA online for updates, pictures, and videos.

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