Jacksonville Junior Shootout
Rain, What Rain?
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour hosted four different tournaments this weekend from Jacksonville, Fla., to Phoenix, Ariz. The Jacksonville Junior Shootout looked like it would be very soggy based on the radar. However, when Saturday and Sunday rolled around, the rain dissipated and the weather was absolutely perfect. The 42-person field hit the course that played extremely fair and recorded dozens of birdies, pars and even a few eagles on the scorecards. The beautiful weather highlighted the great course put forth from the Cimarrone crew. We cannot thank the staff from Cimarrone enough for all they did this weekend. The course was in great shape and the great weather really made the weekend that much better. The American Junior Golf Association awarded four performance stars to the Boys 14-18 division champion while the top five each earned one star. The Girls 14-18 champion received four AJGA stars with the top three getting one. Junior Golf Scoreboard ranking was awarded to those competing in the Boys 14-15, Boys 16-18 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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Jason Jin[/caption] After round one of the Jacksonville Junior Shootout, Jason Jin entered round two with ground to gain. After a 73 in round one, his 144 was enough to get the tournament championship, just edging out the second-place finisher. The Windermere, Fla., native, playing up a division as a 15-year-old, used six total birdies for the weekend and shot even-par for his overall score. Jin started each round with a bang by tallying a birdie each day. Coming into round two, Chris Tanabe was tied for the lead and felt confident in his game, talking during his practice round about how well he was playing. The Sewickley, Pa., native also recorded six birdies for the weekend but bogeys on the last two holes kept him from the championship. His 71 in round one was the foundation for a 146 overall total that was one stroke ahead of third place. Neptune Beach, Fla., resident Andrew Porter also saw his tie for the lead disappear during round two. Porter also had six birdies, but could not replicate the magic from his first-round 71. A bogey on No. 18 ultimately kept Porter from a tie for second place.
Boys 14-15 Division
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Grayson Maddox[/caption] Playing from the same yardages as the 16-18 year-olds, Grayson Maddox scores this weekend would have been enough to compete with the big boys. Maddox traveled to the Jacksonville Junior Shootout from Tampa and fired a pair of even-par rounds of 72. His 72 in round was one off the lead entering round two, but he stayed consistent and within his game to erase the one-stroke deficit to take the championship. He used five birdies, two coming in round two, to get the trophy. To add a cherry on top, Grayson was the top boy overall in the tournament after a two-hole playoff with Jason Jin. Matt Soucinek of Lake City, Fla., used four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 first hole to get a 71 in round one. His lead, however, quickly disappeared as he finished with a 151 overall, giving him the second place trophy. He had four birdies in round one and one birdie in round two. Rounding out the top three was Alex Whitehead from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Whitehead surged at the end of round two, carding four birdies in his last five holes to cinch third place. Whitehead finished the second round with a 73 and 155 overall.
Girls 14-18 Division
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Ami Gianchandani[/caption] Entering round two, two juniors were tied for first and two juniors tied for third in the girls division of the Jacksonville Junior Shootout, making it anyone’s race. Ami Gianchandani of Short Hills, N.J., ended round one with a 76 and sat one stroke off the lead. Two birdies on the front nine and eight pars on the back nine helped her bring home the championship. She finished the weekend at eight-over-par and rolled in three total birdies. Two competitors finished the weekend tied for second. Both girls shot a 75 in round one and 77 in round two. Lake Mary, Fla., native Hella Zhou had five total birdies in the weekend with three of them coming in the last five holes. She needed a little extra work in order to get to second place, but did what it took. Nathaly Munnica of Columbus, Ind., also ended the weekend with a 152. She racked up three birdies with two in round two in her trophy-earning weekend.
Girls 13U Division
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Chloe Kovalesky[/caption] Words cannot describe the enthusiasm and energy these two girls played with. After finishing 36 holes of golf, Chloe Kovelesky and Bela Mead both ran to the scorer’s tent! The Boca Raton native, Kovelesky posted two rounds in the 70s and finished the weekend with a 154. Her second round of 75 was highlighted by 13 pars and a birdie. The Boca Raton, Fla., native was always running from shot to shot, talking, having fun and making some crazy shots. Kovalesky had a birdie in each round of the tournament. The 9-year-old youngster also used some magic when her ball had just enough room to get a club on it and she put it close to the pin. Bela Mead of Aventura, Fla., also had a great accomplishment this weekend. For the first time in her young career, Mead broke 90 when she shot an 86 on day two. The 12-year-old junior used plenty of pars to finish the weekend with a 183. These two juniors have a bright future ahead of them.
March 19-20 Weather
Round 1: Low 63, High 80, Wind 5-10 mph, Cloudy Morning, Sunny Afternoon, Dry Conditions Round 2: Low 48, High 75, Winds 15-20 mph, Cloudy Morning, Sunny Afternoon
Boys 16-18 Yards: 6,630 yards Boys 14-15 Yards: 6,630 yards Girls 14-18 Yards: 5,650 yards Girls 13U Yards: 4,978 yards