Eastern Shore Junior Challenge August 15-16

The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour traveled to Berlin, MD on August 15-16 for the Eastern Shore Junior Challenge. The weekend’s rounds began right on time at 12:30 PM both days with golfers eager to take on the challenge of Rum Pointe Seaside Golf Links. Rum Pointe was in fantastic condition, setting the stage for two competitive rounds of junior golf. Trophy winners in all five divisions received automatic qualification to the 2015 HJGT National Championship. Additionally, top finishers in each division received points towards year end honors which include state teams, ALL HJGT teams and the Hurricane Cup. Junior Golf Scoreboard Rankings were also at stake.

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The Boys 15-18 division was the deepest age group and we knew it was going to be very competitive before the tournament even started. The older boys did not disappoint, as there was three players tied for the lead at 78 and a fourth player only three shots back. Sunday promised to produce a lot of fireworks with so many players bunched together at the top of the leaderboard. As it turns out, Danny Parker of Bishopville, Maryland brought his A game with him to the course on Sunday and pulled off a one shot victory. With a two day total of 151 (78-73) Parker would take him the first place trophy. Parker started out hot on the second day with a front nine total of 2-under par and then held on despite a few two double bogies on the back nine. Parker had 7 birdies on the weekend that helped him to the first place finish. Coming in second place was the Rockville, MD resident Joey Voyta. Voyta went into Sundays round tied for the lead and improved his play by 4 shots but came up just one shot short in his quest for victory, finishing with a two day total of 152 (78-74).  He played his best golf of the weekend on the back nine on Sunday, shooting an even par 36 to finish just out of first place. Voyta played some really solid golf all weekend to finish in second place. Finishing in third place was Berlin, Maryland native Matt Kristick. Kristick, with one second place finish under his belt on the Hurricane Tour this summer, was also tied for the lead after day one. He was really consistent for the weekend shooting 78-78 for a total of 156, five shots out of first place. Kristick featured two birdies in both rounds and was very solid on the par 5s, playing them a combined 2 under par for the weekend. The Boys 15-18 division was very competitive and we are were happy to welcome all of the players to the Hurricane Tour for the weekend.

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In the Girls 15-18 division, Arisa Kimura took a seven shot lead into the second day and never looked back. Kimura, a Bethesda, MD resident, shot 74 on the first day to surge out in front of the field and would shoot an 80 on the second day for a total of 154 and a six shot victory. Kimura would light up the scoreboard on the first day with four birdies en route to a 2 over par round, with a 37 on both nines. The second round was less eventful but did feature an eagle on the par 4 16th hole to finish with an 80. Kimura separated herself on the par 3s this weekend, playing them even par. Finishing in second place was a familiar face on the Hurricane Tour this summer, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania native Bridget Merten. Bridget has been a solid player on the tour all summer so her performance at Rum Pointe was not a surprise. Bridget shot an 81 (39-42) on Saturdays round to head into the second round in solo second place, seven shots out of the lead held by Kimura. Merten was able to improve on her play and edge Kimura by one stroke during play on Sunday as she finished a 7 over par round of 79 (38-41). Merten was unable to make up all seven shots but her solid play this weekend led to a great second place finish as she had a two-day total of 160. Merten was able to take some momentum into her next event as she birdied the final hole of the tournament on Sunday. Finishing with a two day total of 166 and coming in third place was Pennington, New Jersey resident Bella Bettino. Bettino featured consistent rounds of 83-83 this weekend that led to her solid third place result. Bettino, another familiar face on the Hurricane Tour, was really solid off the tee this weekend that led to her great play on the par 5s, playing them even par for the event. Bettino featured one birdie on the weekend and will no doubt carry the momentum of a third place finish into her next event on the Hurricane Tour. The girls played really solid golf this weekend and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next time we see them.

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Arguably the most impressive performance came from the Boys 13-14 age division with Great Falls, Virginia resident Nikita Gubenko finishing two under par for the weekend. Gubenko shot a two under par 70, that featured a three under par round of 33 on the back nine on Saturday. Saturday’s round featured four birdies and just two bogies. Gubenko took a seven shot lead into Sundays round and he was able to play great golf once again with an even par 72. Gubenko had three more birdies on Sunday’s round and was able to extend his lead and finish in the first place spot. Gubenko played the par 4s and par 5s in 1 under par for the weekend and was even par on the par 3s. It is great performances like this one that makes the Hurricane Tour so competitive. Finishing in second place was Carlo Pizzano with a two-day total of 154. Pizzano, a College Park, MD native, shot consecutive 77s to finish alone in second place and just 12 shots behind Gubenko. Pizzano featured three birdies on the weekend and was able to play the par 5s in 1 under par. Finishing in third place at Rum Pointe was Jacob Horton. Horton brought his game from Silver Spring, Maryland and played some very solid golf on the weekend. Horton had a two-day total of 188 with a round of 92 on Saturday and 96 on Sunday. Horton was very solid on the greens all weekend that led to his third place finish. The Boys 13-14 division was very solid with a great individual performance and we look forward to seeing these players again.

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Finishing in first place in the Boys 11-12 age division was Ryan Feldman with a two-day total of 170. Feldman, who hails from Rockville, Maryland, was able to improve his play by 10 shots from day one to day two. Feldman went into the second round trailing by three shots but he saved his best for last as he shot a second round 80 to take home first place. Feldman finished with four birdies on the weekend and definitely had the highlight of the entire tournament with his hole-in-one on the par 3 14th hole during Sundays round. Feldman was able to peak at the right time, shooting his best 9 hole score of 38 on the back nine Sunday to leave with the first place hardware. Coming in second place was Easton, Maryland resident Matt Messenger. Messenger shot an 87 on the first day to take a three shot lead into play on Sunday but was overtaken by the great play of Feldman. Messenger finished with a  93 on Sunday’s round and played his last five holes in even par to take some momentum into his next event. These two competitors in the Boys 11-12 age division showed what  a great future they have in golf and we look forward to seeing them compete on the Hurricane Tour for years to come.

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In the Girls 11-14 age division familiar face Kayla Perkins was able to blow away the field with a great performance in both rounds. Perkins finished with a two-day total of 161 (84-77) to win by a wide margin and take her first place trophy back to her home in Bethesda, Maryland. Perkins was solid on day with an 84 (43-41) but was phenomenal on day 2 with two birdies that led to a 5 over par 77 (39-38). Perkins is a repeat winner on the tour this summer and we are confident we will see her win again in the future. Finishing in second place was Quantico, Maryland resident Savannah Scott. Scott played very consistent golf, with rounds of 94-95 that led to her total of 189. Scott was able to hold onto second place with a solid second round that featured her best 9 hole score of 46 on the front nine. Scott had one birdie on the weekend, the par 3 5th hole during Saturdays round. Taking home third place was Liv Schwandt. Schwandt, who traveled to Rum Pointe from Wilmington, Delaware, was able to improve her play from round 1 to round 2 as she was four strokes better on Sunday. She had a two day total of 202 (103-99) and was very solid in all facets of her game. Schwandt featured one birdie on the weekend and played her best golf on Sunday that allowed her to hold onto third place. The Girls in the 11-14 age division were very competitive and we cannot wait to see how their games will improve throughout the years.   Weather: Saturday: Mid 80’s, Clear, Wind 0-5 MPH Sunday: Mid 80’s, Sunny, Wind 5-10 MPH   Tournament Yardages: Boys 15-18- 6,740 YDS Boys 13-14 – 6,211 YDS Girls 15-18/Girls 11-14/ Boys 11-12 - 5,698 YDS   About Us: The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) was founded in 2008 with the intent of providing junior golfers between the ages of 11-18 an opportunity to play exceptional courses in a competitive environment. Golfers who participate on the tour will compete in one of five age divisions: Boys 15-18, Boys 13-14, Boys 11-12, Girls 15-18, and Girls 11-14. Based out of Jacksonville, FL, the HJGT administers events all across the nation, with stops in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information regarding the 2015 HJGT Tour, please visit our website at www.hjgt.org, call the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour headquarters at (904) 379-2697, or email info@hjgt.orgExperience #TheHurricaneDifference

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