On Thurs., January 15, the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour traveled to Orlando, Fla. to host the 54 Hole Challenge at Rio Pinar Country Club. With storms rolling in on Friday morning, our juniors watched carefully as Saturday approached. With beautiful, sunny skies and warm weather upon us at 8:00 am Saturday, it was game time! With a split-tee start off of No. 1 and No. 10, our juniors were able to take on the day on schedule. However, late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, Mother Nature struck again. Day two of the tournament began with a two-hour delay that made for a wet, cold and windy morning. By Sunday afternoon, our players received much-desired sunny Orlando weather once again. On day three on Monday, Mother Nature gave our players exactly what they wanted: sunny skies without a cloud in sight. The staff at Rio Pinar provided us with a great course to challenge our juniors over the course of the three-day tournament. The HJGT would also like to give a special thanks to Saddlebrook Golf Academy for partnering with us and granting not only our leaders, but also our most improved players of each division, with an all inclusive five-day/six-night stay at a golf camp at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Boys 16-18 Division
On Saturday, Trey Tussey, of Metamora, Ill., started off on the back nine and was a force to be reckoned with. With pars and birdies already in his pocket, Trey added an eagle to his collection on Rio Pinar’s second-toughest hole, the par-5 15th. Trey would go on to finish the day at one over par of 73, leaving him tied with Khavish Varadan, Chris Tanabe, and Anthony Colombino. Come Sunday, the two-hour delay, bitterly cold wind and wet playing conditions did not seem to affect Trey or Khavish. Although all four players were neck and neck at the start, Trey was able to inch ahead, taking the lead at one-under-par. As Monday rolled around, Trey and Khavish continued to battle it out, as Khavish continued to creep closer. Trey buckled down and put an end to the battle after sinking yet another eagle on Rio Pinar’s challenging 15th hole. After taking a two-stroke lead over Khavish, Trey was able to secure first place win with an impressive three-day score of three-under-par (213). Khavish Varadan finished in a close second, also with an impressive three-day score of even par (216). After making a seven-stroke comeback in round three, Cole Berger, was able to close his round at one-under-par (71), putting him in third place with an overall three day score of ten-over-par (226).
Boys 14-15 Division
Bryan Teoh Wiyang, of Jupiter, Fla., took an early lead after Saturday’s opening round. Bryan finished with a 69, three shots clear of Jim Cai of Bradenton, Fla. On Sunday, Tianyu Wu, of Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla., made a comeback when he came in with two birdies to leave him at four-over-par to Wiyang’s seven-over on day two. With the leaderboard featuring only a two-stroke difference between first and second place and five strokes between first and third, competition was tight entering round three. Wiyang was able to hold on to his lead and finished at eight-over-par (224). Coming in right behind him at eleven-over-par (227) was Tianyu Wu. Jim Cai finished two strokes behind Wu at thirteen-over (229).
Boys 11-13 Division
Five players, three days, one champion: who was going to pull out this close race to the finish line? The answer is Jake Peacock, of Alpharetta, Ga. Jake battled it out in the three-day tournament against four great golfers: Tiago Barni, Adam Kehoe, Leo Xu and Anthony Chen. In round one, Tiago had an impressive round of four birdies leaving him in first place at five-over-par 78, four strokes ahead of the next competitor. Rounding out day two, all of our competitors made a comeback, with Peacock shooting an incredible round of 76. Kehoe and Xu trailed closely behind. Round three came down to the wire, but Peacock was able to clinch his victory after shooting yet another impressive round of three-over-par 76 to finish at seventeen-over-par (233). Barni fell short only by few strokes to secure second place at 256. Five strokes behind Barni was Adam Kehoe, who tallied a 261 to take third place.
Girls 14-18 Division
The girls 14-18 division produced a very tight leaderboard race over the weekend at Rio Pinar. Xin "Cindy" Kou and Tianyi Zhuang grabbed hold of the lead after round one, with Erikah Neger only one stroke behind in second place. In round two, after a two-hour weather delay, our leaders slipped off allowing Caroline Hwang, Katie You, Sophia Trombetta, Izzy Pellot, and Victoria Hwang to inch within a few strokes of the lead. Who would pull out the three-day victory? Kou was able to hang on after an impressive six total birdies on the weekend, which led to a 14-over-par total of 230 and a victory. Just three strokes separated second-place finisher Victoria Hwang, who tallied two birdies and a bevvy of pars on the weekend en route to a seventeen-over-par total of 233. Rounding out the leaderboard in a tie for third place at 20-over-par (236) was Zhuang and Hwang.
Girls 13-Under Division
Heidi Christensen, of Coral Springs, FL, got off to a rocky start in round one, but she did not let that get in the way of victory at tournament’s end. Heidi was able to improve her score each day, with an impressive 15-stroke improvement from round two to round three, giving her a 104 in round three. Christensen finished with a 54-hole total of 344.
Weather January 16-18
Round 1: Low 55, High 79. Sunny Skies, Wind 5-10 mph Round 2: Low 54, High 70. Early Morning Thunderstorms, Partly Sunny Skies, Wind 10-20 mph Round 3: Low 45, High 61. Sunny Skies, Wind 5-10 mph
Tournament Division Yardages
Boys 16-18: 6,701 Yards Boys 14-15: 6,701 Yards Girls 14-18: 5,837 Yards Boys 11-13: 5,837 Yards Girls U13: 5,346 Yards
About the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) was founded in 2007 with the intention of providing junior golfers between the ages of 10-18 an opportunity to play exceptional courses in a competitive environment. The tour’s vision is to provide superb hospitality and make every event a memorable one. With play open to both males and females, nearly every junior golfer is eligible to participate on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour. Currently the HJGT is the largest junior golf tour in the United States hosting more 2-day nationally ranked events than another other tour. The HJGT has been able to achieve this goal by running the most professional events and providing an exceptional value to all of our players and families over the last 8 years. There are several factors that set us apart from the competition which we call #TheHurricaneDifference. Based out of Jacksonville, FL, the HJGT administers events all across the country. In 2016 the HJGT will expand to Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Washington as well as Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Mississippi, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Juniors will compete in 1 of 6 divisions which are: Boys 16-18, Boys 14-15, Boys 11-13, Boys U10, Girls 14-18, and Girls U13. Memberships for the 2016 season start at $159 and tournament fees range from $189-$229 for 36 hole events. The HJGT season is based on a calendar year and players earn points throughout the season towards year-end honors beginning January 1. Experience #TheHurricaneDifference