The artist formerly known as ‘Cheese’ grabs co-lead at Golfweek International Junior Invitational

(Tracy Wilcox)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The day didn’t seem like it would get off to an auspicious start.

Brett Inserra hit a solid opening drive, only to see his good work end in the fairway bunker. Facing 210 yards for his second shot, Inserra didn’t expect too much.

“My plan was just to hit it somewhere on the left side of the green and two-putt for birdie,” Inserra said.

Instead, Inserra lasered a 4-iron to 10 feet and drained the putt for an opening eagle. OK, then.

It wasn’t nearly that easy the rest of the way. Inserra would bogey No. 9 and then drain a 20-footer for par at the next at Disney’s Palm Golf Course just to stay under par. The par-saving putt boosted the Saddle River, N.J., product, who would birdie two holes coming in to post 3-under 68, which would not be beat.

Through 18 holes at the Golfweek International Junior Invitational, Inserra is tied for the lead with Germany’s Jan Schneider. Five players are tied for third at 1 under.

With one round to go, Inserra could be on his way to a monumental win. And that’s in a week he entered with his confidence not fully in tow.

“Coming into this event, I was a little nervous about my ball-striking,” Inserra said.

That’s because Inserra made a significant swing change just three weeks ago. The problem was his action was getting too long, leading to plenty of hooks and some strikes that came off a tad thin. Working with coach David Louys-Moroney, an instructor at Bishops Gate Golf Academy where Inserra is in his second year as a student, Inserra made his swing a little shorter and wider at the top. That’s led to fewer hooks and the elimination of thin contact.

What may also have helped Inserra, 18, so far this week is knowing a long process will soon come to an end. National signing day for college golfers is Wednesday, Nov. 8. On that day, Inserra will sign with Loyola (Md.). The Greyhounds offered Inserra a future spot in recent months and he verbally committed.

But that only came after a long process in which Virginia and Elon showed interest before a rough summer threw Inserra down the radar.

“(Signing day) is definitely going to relieve a lot of stress I’ve built up the last two years,” Inserra said.

When he does go off to college, Inserra probably has a good guess what nickname his future teammates may choose for him.

Inserra went to the International Junior Golf Academy for two years before moving over to Bishops Gate.

In his time at the IJGA, he earned the nickname “Cheese,” in a manner one might call bizarre. Or at the very least hilarious.

“There was this kid (at the IJGA) who thought my name was ‘Bread,’ ” Inserra said. “And then he’s always like, ‘I like cheese, Bread.’ So everyone started calling me ‘Cheese.’ ”

Well that’s a new one. Unfortunately, that nickname – which Inserra always enjoyed – hasn’t really carried over to Bishops Gate. But when Inserra encounters his IJGA friends, they still refer to him by the moniker.

If Inserra continues his strong play in the final round, we could be in for one “Cheese”-y Sunday.

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Final-round tee times, pairings

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