MIDLOTHIAN, Ill. – Hans Risvaer is the newest fan of parkland-style golf courses.
The 18-year-old from Miami, Florida, arrived at Midlothian Country Club this week having never played the type of golf course that populates much of the Midwest. He walked away from Midlothian’s small, sloping greens and tree-lined fairways as the 105th Western Junior champion.
He carded a four-round total of 270 – 10 strokes under par and seven better than the field in his first Western Junior appearance.
“It’s awesome to win this tournament in my first time,” Risvaer said. “It solidifies all the hard work I’ve put in throughout the years, and it’s really an amazing feeling.”
The University of Central Florida commit was the only player to get into red figures in each round, posting scores of 67, 68, 66 and 69 on the par-70 layout. He joins Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk as a Western Junior champion.
Risvaer entered the third round Thursday morning with a one-stroke lead. Birdies on three of the first seven holes helped him break away from the field. With a six-stroke lead going into the final 18 holes, Risvaer leaned on his father, Oyvind, his caddie for the week.
“Instead of scoreboard watching, I just focused on hitting the next shot and talking with my dad to keep spirits high,” Risvaer said. “To share this one with him is amazing.”
The duo navigated their final 18 holes at 1-under par and put exclamation point on the week with a 40-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole Thursday afternoon.
Risvaer said his performance exceeded expectations after what he described as a “rough” practice round.
“Doing my job as a parent, I had to talk him off the ledge a little bit,” Oyvind Risvaer said. “He put in a lot of work on the range before the first round and now I’m just incredibly proud. This is what we work for in all those years of junior golf to give him an opportunity.”
Noah Kent – an 18-year-old from Naples, Florida – played his final nine holes in 4-under to leap into a tie for second place. After opening with rounds of 70-71, he finished five strokes better on Thursday at 67-69.
“Getting up-and-down for par on 10 from 100 yards out really got me going,” said Kent, a University of Iowa commit. “I just knew had to be aggressive and go low to give myself a chance. It worked out.”
Joining Kent in the tie for second was 18-year-old Jacob Modleski. The Noblesville, Indiana, native carded an even-par 70 in the final round to go with scores of 70-68-69.
Risvaer, Kent and Modleski all earned exemptions into the Western Amateur at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois in early August.
“It’s one of the biggest amateur events in the world,” Modleski said. “Getting the opportunity to tee it up against some of those guys from my performance this week is awesome, and I couldn’t be more excited.”
Coltrane Mittag, a 15-year-old from Ashland, Nebraska, finished at even par on the tournament to get into a tie for fourth place. Thailand native Supapon Amornchaichan, 16, joined Mittag at even par.
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