Cale Fends off Late Surges to take the GNCGA Jr. Shootout
Sloup Pulls Away Early at HJGT Event
Myrtle Beach, SC (June 22-23) – The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour journeyed to Grande Dunes Golf Club for the Greg Normans Champions Golf Academy junior Shootout. 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. On Sunday it cooled down for the morning tee times, but by noon, the heat was back and players were worn out. To make matters worse, storms looked to be on the horizon for much of the day. Luckily the storms held off and a light breeze rolled in, but players were visibly baking. Both days had little wind which allowed the competitors to play this beautiful course to its fullest. Grande Dunes was full of great holes that challenged the golfers to play to the best of their abilities. The long yardages, plenty of water hazards, and tight fairways 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 also received four American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) performance stars which will give him an exemption into an AJGA event as well as performance points which were awarded to the top 10 finishers in the age division. These points will go towards end of the year honors including HJGT State teams and the Hurricane Cup.
After the first day at the Greg Normans Champions Golf Academy Junior Shootout, it seemed that Chase Cale of Greenville, SC was going to run away with the tournament after shooting an amazing four under on Saturday in the rain. With clear skies on Sunday, it looked like Cale was well on his way after shooting even par through the first six holes. Then Cale carded a triple bogey and a bogey on holes seven and eight, but settled down on the back nine making three birdies and holding on to win comfortably by two strokes. Cale was spurred to victory by carding nine birdies over the course of the tournament. He was also the best on par fours averaging an impressive 3.85 per par four and finished in the top four in both par three and par five performances. Two players were playing catch-up all of Sunday and though neither caught Cale, they did provide plenty of competition for each other. Fran Hernandez of Cancun, Mexico and Drake Cassidy of Hartsville, SC ended up tying for second after both put in a round of par or better on the second day. Hernandez made five birdies and finished at even par for the day while Cassidy had two birdies and fifteen pars to finish at one under. Hernandez was the most consistent player from day to day shooting a 72 both days. Both Cassidy and Hernandez dominated the par fives as they were the only players to average under par and finished one and two respectively. Hernandez also tied for the lead in birdies with nine and Cassidy led the field in pars with 27 out of 36 holes. Harrison Hepner of Wilmington, NC won the Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week award after improving by 12 strokes from Saturday to Sunday.
Early on it was easy to tell that in the Girls 15-18 Division there would be a battle for second, but first place was all but wrapped up after the front nine on Saturday. Ashley Sloup of Southport, NC was already leading by six strokes after nine holes and was able to simply cruise through all of Sunday after a tremendous opening round of two under 70. It should come as no surprise that Sloup led the field in pars with 28 and also had the best par four and par five performances. She dominated these holes averaging nearly half a stroke better than any of her competitors on both. The race for second came down to the final two holes with Ashley Silvers of Naples, FL leading Pendleton Bogache of Myrtle Beach, SC by one stroke. After both bogeyed the seventeenth, Pendleton lost hope with an errant drive on eighteen. She ended up with a double bogey while Silvers had par and won second place. Bogache finished in the top three in birdies, pars, par three performance and par four performance. Silvers finished with the second most pars at 19 and also finished second in par four and par five performances. Kat Young of Holland, OH won the Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week after improving her score by five strokes.
The Boys 11-14 Division held the only comeback winner of the weekend as Michael Lubrani of Belle Vernon, PA came from four strokes down to win. Lubrani must not have been happy with his first round performance because he came out with a vengeance on Sunday. After shooting a 79, Lubrani shot the second best round of the tournament in his division at even par 72. On the front nine, Lubrani was striping the ball scoring three birdies while making only one bogey or worse. He cooled off on the back nine, but had gained enough momentum through the front nine to propel himself to victory. The leaders after Saturday all struggled on Sunday which gave Lubrani the chance to seize the win. Lubrani didn’t dominate any one aspect of the course, but he was one of the more consistent players finishing with 22 birdies and conquered par four holes averaging 4. Aman Gupta of Concord, NC finished second after making one of only two eagles in his age division. Gupta also finished second in par five performance and most pars while finishing first in par four performance. Finishing only two strokes behind Gupta was Ross Funderburke of Roanoke, VA. Funderburke shot a two over par 74 to put him in position to finish third. The Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week was awarded to Christopher Kaylor of Pawleys Island, SC after he improved by fourteen strokes.
The Girls 11-14 Division was dominated by Lizzie Win of Sylvania, OH who shot three strokes better than any of her competitors on both Saturday and Sunday. Lizzie was not flashy in her win, but was the most consistent finishing with eighteen pars, five better than any of her competitors. Win was also in the top three in birdies, par three performance, and par four performance. She also was the best on par fives averaging 5.12 per hole. Valeria Mendizabal of Guatemala finished second after shooting a division best, three birdies. Mendizabal was also the only player to average par on the par three holes. Finishing four strokes behind Mendizabal was Ashley Flynn of Dublin, OH. Flynn was in the top three in nearly every statistical category and finished first in par four performance. The Girls 11-14 Division saw two girls, Lizzie Win and Valeria Mendizabal, tie for Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week after each improved by two strokes after already impressive round one scores. Weather Saturday: Dreary, light mist, mid 80s, winds 10-25 mph Sunday: Partly Cloudy, mid to high 80s, winds 5-25 mph Tournament Yardages Boys 15-18: 6,851 yards Girls 15-18: 5,847 yards Boys 11-14: 6,175 yards Girls 11-14: 5,294 yards Tournament AwardsEFX Birdie Challenge
Boys 15-18: Chase Cale and Fran Hernandez Girls 15-18: Mckenzie Hedrick Boys 11-14: Dustin Blank and Christopher Kaylor Girls 11-14: Valeria Mendizabal Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week Boys 15-18: Harrison Hepner Girls 15-18: Kat Young Boys 11-14: Christopher Kaylor Girls 11-14: Lizzie Win and Valeria Mendizabal 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.