HUDSON: It was a good day for several local golfers and a great day for a private academy from Florida at the Hudson Junior Invitational on Thursday.

Braden Smith, who will be a senior at Smithville High this fall, fired a 3-under-par 69 for a three-day total of 215 (1 under par) to tie for third in the boys division at the Country Club of Hudson.

That made him the best area finisher in an event that began in 1979 and annually attracts a strong field from across the country. Past winners include eventual PGA stars Phil Mickelson, John Daly and Rickie Fowler.

“I’m really happy,” Smith said. “I’ve never played in this tournament before. I played really solid all three days. I hit the ball really good today.”

The big winners this year both attend the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Kyo Morishita, a native of Japan, posted a 3-under 213, 1 stroke better than Drew Salyers of Howard, Ohio, and 2 shots ahead of Smith and Anthony Ricaurte of Columbus.

And Deborah Chang, originally from Seoul, South Korea, fired three consecutive 70s for a 6-under total of 210, a girls tournament record. That was 8 strokes better than Manhu Chen of Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

Tops among area girls were Jenn David, a senior from Hudson High, and Madison Reemsnyder, who will start her freshman year at GlenOak High. Both tied for sixth with 228 totals.

Players enjoyed nearly ideal conditions on a warm, sunny day, in contrast to Wednesday’s off-and-on rain.

According to Country Club of Hudson golf pro Jeff Camp Jr., the invitational gets “better and bigger” every year.

“This year, we had some 140 kids play,” Camp said. “We battled some weather [Wednesday], but we were happy to get it in,”

Morishita, a junior, shot a final-round, even-par 72 over the approximately 6,700-yard course. Ricaurte, the second-round leader, had a 4-over 76 despite a hole-in-one at No. 11.

“Kyo has played really great this summer,” said Caroline Westrup, IMG golf coach. “He’s actually won in every event this summer he’s played in.

“We have this summer program for IMG, the full-timers there the whole year. There are seven of them and we’ve traveled for four weeks now to different tournaments. This summer’s a little bit better competition, too. It’s nice for him to see he can win in bigger events.”

Smith won the Wayne County League tournament last fall and tied for fifth in the state Division III tournament at Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course.

He credited strong play with his irons in Thursday’s round.

“I missed some putts today and could have been right there at the top,” Smith said.

Chang’s score of 70 was the low round of the week on the girls side, and she did it all three days over the 5,700-yard distance from the gold tees.

“I guess my short irons and pitch shots worked really well,” said Chang, a junior at IMG. “Today I struggled a little bit. I started with a birdie but bogeyed the next three holes. I was trying to get back on track and make birdies, and I made four more and got back under par.”

Both David and Reemsnyder actually had their best rounds on Wednesday, shooting 73s in the rain.

“It wasn’t easy conditions but it wasn’t hard conditions,” David said. “It was a steady, light rain all day so by the back nine we were used to it.”

Reemsnyder, just 14, said she enjoys playing with girls older than her.

“I can learn from them and they have great attitudes all the time,” she said. “I really love this course and I hope I can play it again.”

Maxwell Moldovan, who won the Division I state championship last fall, will be a junior at Green. He tied for ninth Thursday with a 2-over 218.

“I played OK,” Moldovan said. “I had a couple good holes, a couple bad holes. But overall, I’m not disappointed.”