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The John Deere Junior Open took place June 13 and 14 and one of Mount Ayr’s own took top honors, winning the 13 and under tournament.
Jaylee Shaffer (12), the daughter of Jason and Kelly Shaffer, played nine holes on day one, shooting a 42, while shooting a 44 on day two, giving her the win after a complete 86.
“Having a two shot lead going into round two felt good, however, I knew that I would need to shoot another good round or I wouldn’t win,” said Shaffer. “It felt really good to win, I’ve been working hard.”
The John Deere Classic is played on the TPC Deere Run in the quad cities community of Silvis, Illinois.
The course is part of the PGA Tour and most recently was won by Lucas Glover in 2021.
“It is an experience I will never forget,” said Shaffer. “This is a pro course, this is the John Deere Course and in a couple of weeks the pros will be playing the same course I played on.”
Jaylee began playing in the Iowa Jr. PGA league when she was eight years old.
Since turning 12, she moved to the Jr. Tour that consists of full nine or 18 hole tournaments between 5,000 and 5,600 yards.
Last season, Shaffer earned second in the 13 and under class.
In July, she will be competting and representing Iowa in Eureka, Missouri at Fox Run Golf Club in a Ryder Cup style tournament.
“Jason and I are super proud of her and how she works to get better,” said her mom, Kelly Shaffer, who is also the Mount Ayr Raider and Raiderette golf coach. “I am just so proud of her, the sport of golf is tough. You need precision and strength, but most of all is a solid head on your shoulders. It is very easy to get upset, frustrated with yourself, of mad at the course for ‘putting a tree or bunker’ in your way. I love that she is working through the ups and downs of the game of golf and becoming a mentlally strong athlete. In every other sport she plays, if she is having a down day, her teammtes are there to life her and help carry loads and I love that, however, in golf is her by herself. She has to build herself up or calm herself down on the course and I love that as well.”
Shaffer also recently competed in Marshalltown to qualify for the 2022 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships in Miami, Floria, where she will compete in the 13-14 year old division.