Grandover Junior Challenge, February 25-26, 2017

Grandover Junior Challenge at Grandover Resort – Grandover West Course

(February 25-26, 2017)

  On Friday February 24th, the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina to prepare for the Grandover Junior Challenge at the renowned Grandover Resort West course. Heading into the weekend, the forecast predicted high temperatures Saturday, but glimpses of rain and thunderstorms that could potentially cause delays. Luckily, the weather narrowly avoided the course and no delays were needed, however strong gusts of wind up to 20 mph still affected play. Sunday temperatures dipped into the high 30’s during the first tee time and never got higher than mid 50’s, which led to players bundling up for the second round. The HJGT would like to thank Grandover Resort for allowing us to host the tournament at such a great venue that was in such great condition during this the time of year. The Grandover Resort Junior Challenge featured a field of 41 players of varying ages and from varying locations around the US. At stake during this tournament an exemption into the 2017 National Championship December 2-3, 2017 and exemption into the 2017 Mid Season Invitational at Sea Island Plantation, June 11-13, 2017, Tarheel Youth Golf Association Points, South Carolina Junior Golf heritage Points, as well as points for top 10 finishers that go to end of the year honors. With so much as stake, players made sure to bring their best game both days.   Boys 16-18 Division

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The Boys 16-18 Division featured competitive play on both Saturday and Sunday, with the anyone shooting in the mid 70’s to mid 80’s on Saturday having a chance to take home the first place trophy. The competition in the oldest boys division was so close that a one hole playoff was needed in order to decide the champion. In the end, Gee Hoon Yu from Cornelius, NC beat Karsen Rush from Chambersberg, NC on the first hole of the playoff after both shooting a two day total of 152. Yu played consistently all weekend, finding himself in the final pairing Sunday and grinding until the end. The name of the game all weekend for Yu was to commit very few mistakes and pick up strokes when they presented a good opportunity. Yu did just that, birding the 17th hole on Sunday to boost him to a great 76 and eventual victory. Rush’s two days were a bit of a rollercoaster ride at times, with four birdies and an eagle over the entire tournament. Despite a second place finish, Rush showed that he can post low scores and come out ready to compete on Sunday. Rounding out the top three in the oldest boys division was Carson Castelli from Greensboro, NC. Castelli worked his way into the final group on Sunday and it was clear by his game why he was there. After a slow start of 6 over on the first nine on a cold morning Sunday, Castelli dialed in his game on the back 9 to finish just 5 over on the round thanks to 3 birdies on the last 4 holes. Strong competition in the oldest boys division was expected and they did not disappoint at any point of the tournament.     Boys 14-15 Division

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The Boys 14-15 Division proved they could compete even with the oldest boys, posting multiple scores in the 70s both days. Leading the way from the start was your boys 14-15 champion, Randall Hudson from New Bern, NC. Hudson posted a first round score of 77, a lead that Hudson never gave up. Come Sunday, Hudson hinted that the wind felt more consistent all day and it made the cold conditions more severe. After going 6 over during the first 9, Hudson settled down to finish with a score of 79 and a winning two day total of 156. Coming in second from Canton, GA was Tyler Latimer. Latimer showed flashes of a great short game all weekend that could be dangerous in future events if the rest of his game is dialed in. Walking away with the third place trophy this week was Sean Anderson from Jonesborough, IN. Anderson struggled on Saturday, posting a score of 89 after struggling to get into a rhythm. The second day was a completely different story, as Anderson posted a very impressive 79 to sneak into the top three and walk home with some hardware. Overall, the Boys 14-15 Division brought some serious game and any name on the leaderboard has the potential to take home a championship trophy in one of the future HJGT events.     Boys 11-13 Age Division

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The Boys 11-13 Division did not seem to be bothered by the not ideal conditions at any point during the weekend, bringing some youthful fire to the golf course that was expected and appreciated. The winner of the Boys 11-13 division Ryan Macri posted the tournament low score of 73 on the Sunday round to secure his first place finish. Macri, from Wake Forest, NC., was just one stroke back going into the Sunday round after posting a first day score of 78. After playing the first nine on Sunday two over, Macri really turned up his game to finish the second nine one under, with the help of a pair of birdies on 16 and 18. Finishing in second from Jacksonville, NC was Tyler Jones, who played consistently great on both days. Jones shot the boys 11-13 Saturday low of 77 and came back Sunday with a 79. Early bogey’s proved to haunt Jones’s chance at first, but an early season second is nothing to complain about. Taking home the third place trophy from Freehold, NJ was Paul Ulanich, who finished the tournament with a first round 82 and second round 79 for a total of 161. Ulanich competed very well for one of his first tournaments of the season, which gives promise for only higher finishes and lower scores. As weather improves, the Boys 14-15 Division will only get more competitive and exciting to watch.     Girls 14-18 Division

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The Girls 14-18 Division finished the weekend with lower scores and competitive spirits. In the end it came down to one stroke that separated the tournament champion. Walking home with the first place trophy from Mars Hill, NC was Castilla Rice. Rice is a familiar face in the HJGT leaderboards, most recently taking home the third place trophy at Turtle Point Golf Course in Kiawah Island, SC. Rice posted a first round score of 75 and followed that performance up with another low round of 79. Rice is accustomed to playing to win and she did not seemed phased at any point during the tournament. Her low round of 75 featured third front nine birdies and a total of 12 pars. Coming in second with a two day total of 155 from Summerfield, NC was Olivia John. Battling the wind Saturday, John posted a first day score of 80 to put her self in contention. After posting a second day score of 75, which included a one under back nine, John showed why she was deserving of the second place trophy when it was all said and done. Finishing in the third spot from Charlotte, NC was Nina Kouchi, posting two day scores of 78 and 81. Despite a disappointing 81 on Sunday, Kouchi displayed her full potential multiple times throughout the tournament, most noticeably with 4 birdies during her Saturday round. Kouchi will be amongst the top of the leaderboard frequently in future tournaments.   

Weather February 25th and 26th, 2017

Round 1: Low 50, High 75. Sunny, Cloudy and Windy

Round 2: Low 33, High 55. Sunny with clouds

Tournament Division Yardages

Boys 16-18: 6,668 yards

Boys 14-15: 6,668 yards

Boys 11-13: 5,690 yards

Girls 14-18: 5,650 yards

   

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