Buchanan Earns Exemption to Junior Championship

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WCAV) -- Each year, five golfers between the ages of 16 and 18 from around the country are named to the Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team, based on academic accomplishments and a record of community service.

This year's team includes St. Anne's-Belfield junior Ian Buchanan.

"It's a really big deal. I'm really looking forward to it," Buchanan said Wednesday at Birdwood Golf Course. "It's a testament to all the hard work I've put in, in the classroom and the golf course."

"All of the hard work he's put into it, it's just, it's been a long time coming for him," said Blake Ware, Buchanan's golf coach at STAB. "And it's a really good testament and indication of good things that come with hard work."

That All-Scholastic Team selection comes with an exemption to compete at July's Optimist International Junior Golf Championship in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Buchanan will compete at the Boys 16-18 tournament, which tees of on July 28.

Buchanan qualified for the Boys 14-15 tournament two years ago. After struggling through his first two days, Buchanan said he shot the low round of the tournament on his final round.

"It's a very tough golf course down there," he said. "I'm really looking forward to playing it again. Hopefully I can stay out of the hazards down there. Lots of water on that course. So I'm really looking forward to it."

He also said he's a better golfer heading into his second Optimist appearance.

"I think I've grown a lot, both in terms of actual skill set, and mentally," he explained. "I think I'm a stronger mental player now. I think bad shots don't bother me as much. I think I've learned to kind of relish the good shots, and really harness that positive energy as I play."

Buchanan was an all-state selection for the Saints this spring, after leading the team with a 37.9 stroke average. He was a medalist four times, and shot four rounds at or below par, including a nine-hole round of 33 at Birdwood.

"Ian's the guy who, he's going to put in the extra hours to just really ensure that his game is just crisp, and there," said Ware. "He just came off of a really, really great season with STAB. And I'd put him up against anyone."

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