Burns Consistency Proves Vital in Coastal Carolina Jr. Challenge Win
Bogache Outlast Three Others to take Trophy at Wexford
Hilton Head Island (July 13-14) - The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour journeyed to Wexford Golf Club for the Coastal Carolina Junior Challenge. The weather on Saturday was less than desirable with a light mist soaking the course for most of the day. At all other times of the day, the temperature was in the mid to high 80s leaving players wet and warm. No one could have known that would be the more desirable day of the tournament. The second day was muddled with rain delays and cloudy skies. The day started with an hour and a half rain delay pushing all tee times back. For the rest of the day the skies opened and closed with some of the most bizarre weather the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour has seen. Luckily, the heavy rain only came around a few times after the initial delay allowing the round to be completed. Though dark and dreary throughout, the final four pairings enjoyed sunny skies for their last couple holes. Wexford Golf Club was full of great holes that challenged the golfers to play to the best of their abilities. The tight fairways, ample hazards and out of bounds, and especially challenging greens gave plenty of challenges to go with the great views and stunning estates that lined the course. This tournament was ranked by the Junior Golf Scoreboard (JGS). The top twenty in all four divisions earned South Carolina Junior Golf Association Heritage Points while the top ten in each division accrued Tarheel Youth Golf Association Points. Winners also receive an automatic bid to the 2013 Tour Championship. The winner of the Boys 15-18 Division and Girls 15-18 Division also received four American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) performance stars which will give each of them an exemption into an AJGA event while the winner of the Boys 11-14 Division won one AJGA performance star. The top 10 finishers in the age division were awarded performance points as well. These points will go towards end of the year honors including HJGT State teams and the Hurricane Cup.
For the first time this summer, no one in the older boys division shot a round of par or better which is a testament to the difficulty of the course as many of the competitors had previously shot below par rounds at other courses. The rain did not help either, but rising above the rest of the field was Kevin Burns of Canton, GA. Burns fired the second lowest scores on both Saturday and Sunday and was one of the most consistent players finishing tied for first with 21 pars. Burns was also the best performer on par three and par four holes. Despite this impressive performance, going into the final nine holes, two other competitors were tied for the lead; Lucas McNellis of Charleston, SC and Chase Cale of Greenville, SC. Both McNellis and Cale were two shots up on Burns, but could not carry their momentum into a win. McNellis four putted on the tricky thirteenth green to finish with a triple bogey for the hole and could not catch up while Cale went bogey, double bogey, and bogey on holes twelve, thirteen, and fourteen. Meanwhile Burns scored par on each of these and carded a birdie on seventeen to solidify the win. McNellis did most of his damage on par five holes finishing with the best average for the tournament at 4.62. He also had the most birdies during the tournament with seven. Cale was also very consistent finishing tied with Burns for the most total pars. The Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week was awarded to Braylon Floyd of Aiken, SC after he improved by sixteen strokes.
The Girls 15-18 Division featured one of the most exciting finishes in the history of the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour. As the final threesome walked up the fairway to the ninth green (eighteenth hole of the day), all three were looking at possible birdie putts to tie the leader, Pendleton Bogache of Myrtle Beach, SC and force a sudden death playoff. All three putts were ten feet or farther out, but all were sinkable opportunities, yet Kylie Nizoleck of Bluffton, SC, Gabriela Victoria of the Dominican Republic, and Caroline Crouch of Jacksonville, FL each just barely missed giving Bogache the win. Bogache was not in the final pairing after shooting an 84 on Saturday, but she came out firing on the rainy second day striping the ball beautifully for a second round best score of 79. Pendleton dominated the second day finishing four strokes better than any of her competitors. She was spurred to victory by finishing in the top three in pars, birdies, par four and par five performances. Gabriela Victoria had been leading for most of the tournament, but a double par, ten on the fifteenth hole shot her into second where she would stay. Victoria was the most consistent in the older girls division finishing with 19 pars while scoring the best on par four holes. Nizoleck finished second because of her second place average on par fours and her 18 pars. Crouch was the big hitter off the tee outdriving her competitors leading to her division best average performance of 5.12 on par five holes. The Girls 15-18 Division saw three girls, Megha Saluja of Fleming Island, FL, Macy Cochran of Evans, GA, and Nellie Brunson of Aiken, SC tie for the Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week award after improving their scores by eleven strokes.
The Boys 11-14 Division also featured a great finish as it came down to the final hole like the older girls division. Without older brother Alec in the field after turning fifteen, Drew Weary was given the perfect opportunity to win and he would not let this opportunity slide. Heading into the final two holes, however, Drew Weary of Bluffton, SC and Kyle Spencer of Mt. Pleasant, SC were tied. After a par by Weary and a bogey by Spencer, Weary would not relinquish the win as both finished with a par on their final hole of the tournament. Drew was easily the most consistent player of the tournament finishing with 24 pars, three better than any of his competitors. He was also dominant on par five holes finishing as the only player with a sub-par average. He and Spencer were also fantastic on par four holes as Spencer finished with an average of 4.15 while Weary finished at 4.25. Spencer was the leader after the first day, but could not carry that momentum into the front nine on Sunday as he shot a 42 on the front. On the three other sets of nine holes, Spencer shot a 33, a 41 with a double par eight, and a 37. There was a tie for third as both Cody Maddox of Guin, AL and Will Rawlings of Sandersville, GA shot 157 for the tournament. Both made four birdies over the weekend and Rawlings finished in the top three in par three performance while Maddox finished in the top three in total pars and par four and par five performances. Maddox also shot the low round of the second day with a 74. Connor Fischer of Richmond Hill, GA won the Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week after improving his score by fourteen strokes.
The Girls 11-14 Division featured one of the only players to finish with the same score for both days. Kayla Kozak of Bluffton, SC shot an 81 on Saturday and when asked what she thought she shot on the second day, she replied “probably the same as yesterday.” She was correct and took the tournament by three strokes over second place finishers Laura Garcia and Elena Ybarra of Spain. Kozak was able to win after finishing in the top three in par three, par four, and par five performances. Also, with a four stroke lead heading into day two, Kozak was able to more or less cruise to victory on the second day even though both Garcia and Ybarra had better second day scores. Garcia was propelled to second after a first day score of 88 by shooting more birdies on Sunday than any other competitor had for the whole tournament. She was also the top performer on par three and par five holes. Ybarra was the steadiest player in the division as she shot 16 pars, the most for the tournament. She was also the top performer on par four holes. The Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week was awarded to Laura Garcia after she improved by eleven strokes from Saturday to Sunday. Weather Saturday: Overcast, light rain, low 80s, winds 10-25 mph Sunday: Cloudy, heavy and steady rain, low to mid 80s, winds 15-25 mph Tournament Yardages Boys 15-18: 6,808 yards Girls 15-18: 5,855 yards Boys 11-14: 6,189 yards Girls 11-14: 5,203 yards Tournament AwardsEFX Birdie Challenge
Boys 15-18: Lucas McNellis Girls 15-18: Caroline Holloway and Samantha Metzger Boys 11-14: Kyle Spencer Girls 11-14: Laura Garcia and Sophie Guo Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week Boys 15-18: Braylon Floyd Girls 15-18: Megha Saluja, Macy Cochran, and Nellie Brunson Boys 11-14: Connor Fischer Girls 11-14: Laura Garcia About Us: The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) was founded in 2008 with the intention of providing junior golfers between the ages of 11-18 an opportunity to play exceptional courses in a competitive environment. Golfers who participate on tour will compete in one of four age divisions: Boys 15-18 Division, Boys 11-14 and Girls 15-18 Division and 11-14 Division. Based out of Jacksonville, FL, the HJGT administers events all across the southeast as well as Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.