Hilton Head Junior Shootout
Island West – Bluffton, S.C. (March 19 - 20)
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour traveled to the Island West golf course in the beach community of Blufton, S.C. Designed by major champion Fuzzy Zoeller, Island West provided a unique test for all competitors. Narrow fairways and small greens challenged players’ skillsets. Island West is a shot-maker’s paradise as the course rewards efficient and consistent play. A big field brought out the best in everyone and the weather cooperated as best as the HJGT could hope. The field included a variety of talents from all over the globe, with three international competitors nabbing victories. The tournament concluded with close races at all divisions for the titles. AJGA stars were awarded to several division winners and Junior Golf Scoreboard ranking was awarded to those competing in the Boys 14-15, Boys 16-18, Girls 13 and under and Girls 14-18 divisions. Winners in each division received an invitation to the 2016 Tour Championship on Dec. 3-4. Top three in each division received an invitation to the 2016 Druh Belts Mid Season Invitational at Chateau Elan on June 11-13. Top 10 finishers received points towards year-end honors which include state teams, all HJGT teams, and the Hurricane Cup.
Boys 16-18 Division
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Mark Goodall[/caption] The Boys 16-18 division belonged to Mark Goodall from Scotland. A masterful Sunday performance led Goodall to the first place finish. After a 77 in round one left him six off the lead, Goodall improved by 10 strokes in the final round to shoot a bogey-free five-under-par 67. Entering Sunday, Goodall was outside of the top 10 in a division of 48 golfers, but knew he had a chance if he stuck to his game and did he ever as he finished with a tournament low total of even-par 144. He never faulted down the stretch as he held off Arjun Puri of New Delhi, India, and TJ Nolan of Rapid City, S.D. Puri and Nolan finished tied for second. Finishing with a two-day total of 145, the duo fought hard to overtake Goodall, but could not figure out the right formula. Goodall rolled in nine birdies and 19 pars, while Puri (six birdies and 24 pars) and Nolan (six birdies and 23 pars) made one too many bogeys. Nolan and Puri are both victors on the HJGT this season, with Nolan owning four top-five finishes and Puri with two.
Boys 14-15 Division
The Boys 14-15 division crown was captured by Carlos Garre of Altorreal, Spain. Consistency reigned supreme for this division as Garre scored a four-over-par 76 on both days en route to a two-day total of eight-over-par 152 and a four-stroke victory in a divisional field of 11 golfers over second-place finisher Bumin Choi of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, and third place Aidan McCloskey Northboro, Ma. A roller coaster final round and an uneven front nine derailed McCloskey’s and Choi’s chances, respectively. Garre played steady as he kept his errant shots at a minimal and made no big mistakes that could have led to his demise. Choi netted a total of 12-over-par 156, while McCloskey finished two behind at 158.
Girls 14-18 Division
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The Girls 14-18 division featured another international star in the form of Hanna Kiefer from Kronberg, Germany. A brilliant Sunday allowed Kiefer to surge to the top of the leaderboard and stay there. A strong front nine allowed a double bogey on the back go unnoticed. Kiefer finished with an impressive two-day total of six-over-par 150 to take home the crown. Entering Sunday down four strokes to eventual second-place finisher Ankita Kedlaya of Hilton Head, S.C. Kiefer stayed within herself and came up with clutch shots. Kedlaya was leading down the stretch until a bogey-double-bogey stretch on the back nine led to her finishing in a tie for second with Sophia Burnett of Blufton, S.C. Burnett and Kiefer led the division of 19 golfers with 26 pars. Kedlaya led the division with four birdies.
Boys 11-13 Division
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The Boys 11-13 age division posted a runaway winner in Jonathan Griz, a hometown player from Hilton Head, S.C. The battle wasn’t close from the get-go as Griz took charge and never looked back for his third win on the HJGT this season. Coming into Sunday, he had a 10-stroke lead, but that only grew during the final round as it ballooned to 15 by the end. Putting it all together from driving to chipping to putting, Griz breezed through the tournament to be the champion over three other golfers after posting a four-over-par 148 total. Fellow Hilton Head native Max Green and Pierce Grieve of Lake Forest, Il., took home second and third, respectively. Neither could keep up with Griz, but did battle each other for second. With a three-stroke lead over second place intact from day one, Green knew if he played his cards right, the rest would take care of itself. Griz led the division with 29 pars, followed by 19 for Green and 17 for Grieve
Girls 13U Division
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Nicole Adam[/caption] The Girls 13 and under division was captured by Nicole Adam, from Pinehurst, N.C. Steady play and constant pars were the formula Adam used to overwhelm her competition. She topped the leaderboard on day one and never let that lead slip, instead stretching it as much as possible. A four-stroke advantage quickly turned into nine as the tournament wound down. A 14-over-par 158 was enough to stay out in front of Savannah Hylton of Hilton Head, S.C., and Kennedy Anne Noe of Knoxville, Tenn., who finished second and third, respectively. Lots of double bogeys filled Hylton’s and Noe’s round two cards after a steady day one. Leading the division of seven golfers with 22 pars, Adam found the recipe for success and stuck to it. Noe and Hylton did everything they could to remain close and within striking distance, but could not ever take that leap.
Boys 10U Division
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Michael Gavin[/caption] The last champion from Hilton Head came from the Boys 10 and under division and that was Michael Gavin. Gavin outshot his only fellow competitor, James Carr, by 11 on day one, and eventually cruised to a 13-stroke victory. Gavin shot a 60-over-par 204 overall, while Carr ended up posting a 73-over-par 217. The two battled both days, but Gavin ended up making the shots he needed to pull away from Carr. Gavin knocked in five pars compared to Carr’s two.
Weather for March 19-20
Saturday: High-Low 60-70s, Mostly Sunny, Winds 5-15 MPH
Sunday: Low-Mid 60s, Overcast, Winds 10-20 MPH
Boys 16-18- 6,695 YDS
Boys 14-15- 6,695 YDS
Girls 14-18/Boys 11-13- 5,696 YDS
Boys 10U - 4,841 YDS
Girls 13U - 5,200 YDS