MIDLOTHIAN, Ill. (June 21, 2023) – Hans Risvaer took advantage of his morning tee time Wednesday, firing a 2-under 68 to jump into the lead after two rounds of the 105th Western Junior at Midlothian Country Club.

Long before the wind arrived, Risvaer – the 18-year-old from Miami, Florida – rebounded from a bogey on his third hole by recording back-to-back birdies. The University of Central Florida commit leaned on his putter and finished his final 15 holes in 3-under par.

“I started off a little slow, but I stayed patient and rolled in a few good putts,” Risvaer said. “Getting those birdies back allowed me to cruise in and make some good up-and-downs.”

Risvaer is 5-under par through 36 holes, one stroke clear of first-round leader Cooper Claycomb of Bowling Green, Kentucky. After opening with a 5-under-par 65 on Tuesday, the 18-year-old Claycomb said he was disappointed with his 1-over 71 on Wednesday.

“Today was just a battle playing in the wind this afternoon,” said Claycomb, a University of Louisville commit. “All I can ask for is being high up on the leaderboard, though. I’m really looking forward to going out tomorrow morning and trying to light it up.”

The 36-hole cut came at 5-over par, with 47 players advancing to the final 36 holes on Thursday. Third round tee times begin at 7 a.m., with the final round to follow.

Ryan Shellberg, of Prosper, Texas, bested his first-round 69 with a 2-under 68 on Wednesday to jump to solo third place. Shellberg, 17, is 6-under par on Midlothian’s front nine, the lowest of any player in the field. He came to the par-5 seventh hole at even par and striped a 3-wood from 262 yards, leaving a tap-in for eagle.

The low round of the day belonged to Ryan Banas, of Winnetka, Illinois. Banas needed only 66 strokes to navigate his second lap of the course, besting his first-round score by six. He’s tied for fourth at 2-under par.

The Marquette commit made four birdies and an eagle on the seventh hole after his tee shot bounced off the lip of the left bunker and bounded an extra 30 yards down the fairway. A 250-yard 2-iron set up a 15-foot putt that the 17-year-old was able to roll into the cup.

“I definitely have a lot of confidence going into tomorrow after my round today,” Banas said. “Anything can happen in 36 holes, so I just need to keep playing my game and see how it all works out.”

Anything can happen, indeed.

Last year, Camden Smith erased a six-stroke deficit over the final 36 holes at Naperville Country Club to force a playoff with eventual champion Eduardo Derbez Torres. In 2021, Caleb Surratt mounted an eight-stroke comeback on the final day to emerge victorious at Onwentsia Country Club. Twenty-six players sit within eight strokes of Risvaer.

Joining Banas in a tie for fourth at 2-under are Chase Kyes, of Birmingham, Alabama; John Daniel Culbreth, of Thomasville, Georgia; and Jacob Modleski, of Noblesville, Indiana. Culbreth shot a 3-under 67 on Wednesday, and Modleski recorded a 2-under 68.

Modleski’s round featured two eagles, including a hole-out from 84 yards on the 424-yard, par-4 fourth. Mason Kucia, a 16-year-old from Indian Land, South Carolina, added to the fireworks with a hole-in-one on the 160-yard 12th.

The winner this week will join Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk as a Western Junior champion. The top three finishers and ties receive exemptions into the Western Amateur at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois, in early August.

Attendance and parking at the Western Junior are free. 

For the full leaderboard, click here.

For tee times, click here.