Central Alabama Junior Shootout
March 5-6, 2016 Backbreaker and Heartbreaker Live Up to Their Names
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour headed due west to Glencoe, Ala., for the Central Alabama Junior Shootout. A field of 33 golfers braved the tough 9-hole courses known as Backbreaker and Heartbreaker. The front nine, Backbreaker, displayed many elevation changes and beautiful scenery often stretching high in altitude. After the grueling physical demand, the “Heartbreaker” stood in front of the players for the back nine. The back nine may not have been as physically demanding but it made the golfers think on every shot with its challenging greens. Wet conditions caused from the weekday rain added to the course’s difficulty. Heartbreaker was a birdie heaven for most players. The HJGT would like to thank the personnel of Silver Lakes for the awesome playing conditions and great hospitality showed all weekend. Junior Golf Scoreboard Rankings were awarded to the Boys 14-15, Boys 16-18 and Girls 14-18 division. Additionally, winners in each division received an exemption into the 2016 Tour Championship on Dec. 3-4. Top-three finishers in each division received an exemption into the 2016 Mid Season Invitational at Chateau Elan on June 11-13. Finally, top-10 finishers received points towards year-end honors which include state teams, all HJGT teams and the Hurricane Cup.
Boys 16-18 Division
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Coming into the second round, Tommy Su knew he had the lead and did not let it go. Su came in town from Johns Creek, Ga., and went home happy this weekend. After shooting a 73 in round one, Su used 14 pars in round two to take home the two-stroke victory. His 150 was the lowest overall score for all divisions. In total, Su had 26 pars and three birdies for the weekend. Coming in second was the hometown boy, Jack Sims. With the help of three birdies, Sims moved from third to second in the second round. He had a 75 in round two and a 152 total. His birdie on No. 17 helped him edge out third-place finisher, Jordan Hartsell. Hartsell entered day two in second place but just could not keep up with Sims. Hartsell led the division with eight birdies on the weekend Six of those birdies came on the more gettable back nine; four on the first day and two on the second day. His 153 was a comfortable nine strokes ahead of fourth place.
Boys 14-15 Division
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In a dominating performance, Gage Smith of LaFayette, Ga., took home the division championship in the Central Alabama Junior Shootout with a round-two score of 73 and 154 overall. He brought a one-stroke lead into the second round and widened it to a nine-stroke victory. Smith had four birdies in the final round, including three during his final nine holes. Battling for second place was Dawson Garrett of Fort Payne, Ala., and local Glencoe native, Brock McNeely. Garrett used two birdies on his final three holes to surge to second place. Garrett had three birdies on the weekend, all coming on the back nine. McNeely took third place after consecutive rounds of 84 (+24).
Girls 14-18 Division
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Driving in from Hoover, Ala., Carson McKie came into round two trailing by one stroke, but was not fazed. McKie used three of her five tournament birdies on the back nine in day two to bring home the hardware, her second victory on the HJGT in as many starts. Her 79 in round two and 161 overall resulted in a five-stroke victory. Abigail Bolt entered round two in third place after her first-round 85. Aided by two back nine birdies, Bolt ended the weekend with a 166 overall. The Canton, Ga., native took home the second-place trophy. Sandy Springs, Ga., native Hannah Jones finished in third place. Her round one 81 left her in first place coming into round two, but an 89 resulted in third place. She had a birdie each day; one on the front nine and one on the back nine.
Girls 13U Division
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The smallest division of the weekend might have had the largest competition. The two-player field of Gentry Scott and Robyn Blakey battled it out until the last hole in round two. Both girls shot a 98 in round one so round two was the time to win it. Scott, from Jemison, Ala., birdied No. 17 for the lone birdie of her weekend, a deciding factor in determining a champion. After a great tee shot, she put her next shot in the water but finished strong in order to keep the lead. Her 195 for the weekend was two strokes better than Blakey. Blakey tried to make it interesting in the end and did all she could to give herself a chance to win. The Vandiver, Ala., competitor shot a 197 for the weekend. The two girls played against each other before at the Birmingham Junior Challenge on the HJGT in February and went to a sudden-death playoff where Scott prevailed, a scenario that nearly unfolded once more in this friendly rivalry.
Weather for March 5-6 Round 1: Low 34, High 67, 5-10 mph Wind, Partly Sunny Morning, Sunny Afternoon, Wet Round 2: Low 35, High 66, 5-10mp Wind, All Day Sun, Warm, Fair Conditions
Tournament Yardages 16-18 Boys Division: 6,661 yards 14-15 Boys Division: 6,661 yards 14-18 Girls Division: 5,505 yards 13U Girls Division: 5,505 yards