Cleveland Junior Classic
After spending two weeks in the snow and gusting winds in the Great Lakes area, the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour sent a team to the Signature of Solon Golf Club in Solon, Ohio, for a wonderful weekend. The 90-golfer field had premier conditions on a course that was in fantastic shape. Without a cloud in the sky, juniors jumped on the opportunity and shot some great scores. Everyone at the Signature of Solon was fantastic in aiding us to host a terrific event. Golfers had a lot to play for this weekend, as well. The American Junior Golf Association rewarded four stars to the top Boys 14-18 golfer, while the top five received one star. The Girls 14-18 division was rewarded three stars to the winner and one to the top three. Junior Golf Scoreboard ranking was awarded to the Boys 14-15, Boys 16-18 and Girls 14-18 divisions. Winners in each division received an invitation to the 2016 National Championship on Dec. 3-4. The top three in each division also received invitations to the 2016 Druh Belts Mid Season Invitational at Chateau Elan on June 11-13. Finally, the top 10 finishers receive points towards year-end honors which include state teams, all HJGT teams, and the Hurricane Cup.
Boys 16-18 Division
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With beautiful weather and a great course, the Cleveland Jr. Classic hosted a tight battle for the Boys 16-18 division. The top three all finished within three shots of one another. Evan Long (74-76) came from New Castle, Pa., with his pink pants and stellar shoes and left with the first-place trophy, his second in as many weeks on the HJGT. He also played in a playoff for AJGA stars and took home the overall Boys 14-18 victory this weekend. With six birdies, four coming in the second round, his 150 was the best this weekend. Coming in second place out of 43 was Westlake, Ohio, native Jules Blakely. Blakely tied for the low round of the event in round two with a 73, but untimely bogeys in round one kept him from the winner’s circle. Rounding out the top three was Hunter Bruce from McMurray, Pa. With four birdies for the weekend, Bruce played consistent golf shooting 76 each day.
Boys 14-15 Division
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The Boys 14-15 division was another tight battle that came down to the 18th and final hole. Entering with a three-stroke lead, things got interesting when Grant Engle of Springfield, Ohio, bogeyed the hole, while Max Watson of Ashland, Ohio, made birdie. While he had a scare, Engle held on. Engle (73-77) had five birdies during the weekend and an eagle on the par-4, No. 5. Second place went to Watson (73-78) with a 151 overall score after a personal best 73 in round one. Watson recorded an eagle on the par-5 No. 12, along with three birdies for the weekend. Finishing in third place out of 21 was Ali Khan of Westerville, Ohio, at 158. He improved his score by 6 strokes from round one to round two and his 76 in round two was the division’s low score of the day. This marked Engle’s second victory in as many starts on the HJGT in 2016.
Girls 14-18 Division
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Another competitor to have the lead for the entire tournament was Mikaela Schulz. The West Bloomfield, Mich., native came down to Buckeye Country and stole the show in her 2016 HJGT debut. The back nine was kind to her as it was where she recorded her three birdies for the weekend. A birdie on No. 18 iced her the tournament victory. Her best round was a 76 in the first day, aiding her way to a 154 for the weekend. Hot on her heels was Maddy McDanel of Aliquippa, Pa. McDanel had four birdies on the weekend, with three coming on the first day en route to a 158 total (76-78). Rounding out the top three was local Solon native Jennifer Wang. She missed second place by one stroke, carding rounds of 83 and 76. Her 76 tied for the division’s low round out of 21 competitors.
Boys 11-13 Division
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In our smallest division of the weekend, the three-player field was as exciting as any other. A two-hole playoff was necessary to crown Thomas Wong the division champion. Wong played solid golf this weekend and dialed it in in crunch time. He entered the second round five strokes off the lead after his 86 in round one, but hung in to post a 90 on day two that was enough to catch Bradley Chill of Columbia Station, Ohio. Chill led the division with two birdies and his first-round 81 was the low round of the division. He finished the weekend with a 176. Bringing home the third place trophy was Benjamin Dearth of Dublin, Ohio. Dearth completed a seven-stroke improvement in following up a 103 with a 96.
Weather for April 16-17, 2016 Round 1: Low 50, High 72, Winds 5 mph, Great Course Conditions, Perfect Weather Round 2: Low 50, High 75, Winds 5 mph, Great Course Conditions, Perfect Weather
Tournament Yardages Boys 16-18 yards: 6,604 yards Boys 14-15 yards: 6,604 yards Boys 11-13 yards: 5,601 yards Girls 14-18 yards: 5,601 yards