Greenville Junior Shootout – February 21- 22, 2015
Bentley pulls it out in a playoff Thompson holds off Branum for victory
(February 22, 2015) The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HGT) traveled to Greenville, South Carolina on February 21-22 for the Greenville Junior Shootout at Willow Creek Golf Club. Players battled cold and very wet course conditions for the two rounds until all players finished 36 holes. Winners in each division will receive an exemption into the 2015 National Championship December 5-6, 2015. All divisions were ranked by the Junior Golf Scoreboard. They also received South Carolina Junior Golf Association Heritage Points (SCJGA) and Tarheel Youth Golf Association Points (TYGA). Additionally, the top ten finishers in each division received points towards year end honors which include state teams, ALL HJGT teams and the Hurricane Cup. The top 3 in each division will receive an exemption into the 2015 Mid Season Invitational at Chateau Elan June 20-22, 2015.
The Boys 15-18 division came down to the last shot as Reed Bentley and Nick Willis ended up duking it out on a playoff hole. Willis, who is from Cowpens, SC, came into Sunday down three strokes to Bentley, who is from Welford, SC and was our round one leader after posting a 73. After an hour-long delay due to wet course conditions, Bentley would spend the totality of the second round trying to fend off a comeback bid from Willis. Coming into the 15th hole, Bentley was still in command with his initial three-stroke lead. However, Bentley would bogey 15 and 16 and Willis would par both to trim Bentley’s lead to just one with two holes to play. They both dropped pars on 17 allowing the two to come to 18 with the championship hanging in the balance. Following a par by Bentley, Harris would sink a clutch attempt for birdie forcing the two to a sudden death playoff. The playoff was played on the par five first hole. Both players would send their tee shots into the left hand rough. Harris decided to lay up with his second shot 160 yards short of the green. Bentley decided to go for it and sent his second shot off-right and ended up behind a tree. Harris then sent his third shot onto the green and left himself about a 15 foot attempt for birdie. For his third shot, Bentley had to chip out around the tree and leave his ball 25 feet from the pin in the rough. With Harris looking at a likely two putt for par, Bentley needed to go up and down to force a second playoff hole. But Bentley would see to it that a second playoff would not be needed as he miraculously holed out his chip from off green. Harris, who saw likely victory just snatched from his grasp, missed his 15 foot putt to force another playoff and Bentley was crowned champion. Benltey would finish with a 73, 73, 146 for first, Harris a 76, 70, 146 for second, and third place belonged to Patrick Talledo of Blythewood, SC who had a 76, 75, 151.
The Girls 15-18 division would see a come from behind victory from our champion Skylar Thompson from Buford, GA. After posting an 82 on Saturday, Thompson would come into Sunday two strokes behind Saturday’s leader Alexis Gopfert of Dahlonega, GA. Thompson displayed a calm, cool, and collected manner Sunday. After posting nine bogeys or worse on Saturday, Thompson only put up four bogeys on Sunday leading to a division-low round of 74 for her. She also led her division with the most pars or better (23), average par three score (3.2), and average score on the back nine (37.5) As Gopfert slipped from contention, she was replaced by Thompson’s main competitor on Sunday, Madison Branum of Lexington, SC. Branum’s Sunday success mirrored that of Thompson’s as she went from 10 bogeys Saturday to five on Sunday. Branum kept within striking distance most of the day but saw the door for first close when Thompson birdied their 16th hole all but clinching the championship. Branum finished Sunday with a 75, a two day total of 158, and ended leading her division in birdies for the tournament (4) and average par 5 score (5.0). Rounding out the top three was Keagan Dunn of Buford, GA who posted back to back 81s and finishing six strokes behind Thompson with a two round total of 162.
In the Boys 13-14 division, the end of Saturday’s round left the top two finishers only one stroke apart setting up for an entertaining Sunday between the round one leader Shyam Joshi of Dacula, GA and Thomas Hollingsworth of Spartanburg, SC. With both players battling tough, wet course conditions, first place would end up going to the player who could limit their mistakes the most. When it was all said and done, Hollingsworth would pull away with a tight two-stroke victory over Joshi. Hollingsworth would limit himself to only five bogeys or worse while Joshi would finish Sunday with eight. Hollingsworth and Joshi would tie their division lead for most birdies with three each, but Hollingsworth ended up leading the field with the most pars (21) and the longest bogey free streak (8) proving to be the difference makers and setting himself apart. Hollingsworth finished with a 79, 79, 158 and Joshi finished with a 78, 82, 160. Coming in at third was Brandon Yau of Dacula, GA who finished with a 83, 87, 170 and 12 strokes back of first place.
The Girls 11-14 division saw Alexis Sudjianto of Charlotte, NC all but run away with first place here at the Willow Creek Golf Club in Greenville, SC. Sudjianto came into Sunday as her division’s round leader after an impressive 89 on Saturday and an eight stroke lead over the eventual second place finisher Abbie Claire Boozer of Bishop, GA. Sudjianto led her field with the lowest average score on all par 3s, par 4s, and par 5s (3.9, 4.8, 5.9), had the longest bogey free streak (4), and also scored her division’s only birdie on hole 14 on Sunday. Sudjianto finished with an 89, 84, 173 for first, Boozer finished with a 97, 92, 189 for second, and finishing in third was Caroline Martin of Jefferson, GA who finished with a 103, 101, 2014. Even though the course was playing wetter and tougher on Sunday, all three girls remarkably improved on their Saturday scores, a stupendous feat as a group for sure. Weather: Day 1- Low 40’s and overcast, winds 0-5 MPH Day 2- Mid 50’s, overcast and slight rain, winds 5-10 MPH Tournament Yardages: Boys 15-18-6,489 yards Boys 13-14-5,796 yards Girls 15-18, Girls 11-14-5,485 yards 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 email@example.com Experience #TheHurricaneDifference