Kiawah Island Junior Challenge (February 4-5, 2017)

Kiawah Island Junior Challenge at Kiawah Point Golf Resort – Turtle Point

(February 4-5, 2017)

  On Friday February 3rd, the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour traveled to Kiawah Island, South Carolina to prep for the Kiawah Island Junior Challenge on the Jack Nicklaus designed Turtle Point course. The weather was beautiful on the Friday before the event, but took a turn for the worse Saturday morning, as temperatures dipped into the low 40s with strong winds coming off the Atlantic Ocean reaching 20 mph at times. Players still battled through the difficult opening round and were rewarded with a warmer Sunday that reached the 60s during the warmest parts of the day. Additionally, wind was nearly non -existent on Sunday, giving all players a real chance to jump up the leader board. The HJGT would like to thank Kiawah Island Golf Resort for allowing us to host our tournament at such a great venue, and especially the staff at the Turtle Point golf course.  The Kiawah Island Junior Challenge featured a field of nearly 80 players of varying ages. At stake during this tournament was 4 AJGA performance stars for the Boys 14-18 champion and 1 AJGA performance star for a top 10 finish. Additionally, the top 3 in each division will receive 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 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 came to life on Sunday after struggling through the Saturday conditions. Each competitor knew that posting anything in the 80s Saturday could be just enough to take the top spot on Sunday with the forecast predicting better weather. After 36 holes, a three-way sudden death playoff was needed to determine the winner. By dramatic fashion, Jeremy Sisson from Skaneateles, NY conquered the field by shooting an impressive 81 on Saturday and an outstanding 75 on Sunday. Sisson hit many good shots throughout the weekend, including hitting 7 of 9 greens in regulation on the back 9 Saturday, but no moment was bigger than a 25 foot eagle putt on hole 10 in the playoff to secure the victory. Sisson played smart all weekend and stepped up when it mattered. Coming in a tie for second after the sudden death playoff was Tyden Wilson from Winchester, MA and Jack Towarnicky from New Bern, NC. Wilson and Towarnicky both posted identical first round 79’s followed by a pair of 77’s. Towarnicky struggled on the front 9, posting a 5 over 41 but dominated the back side, posting 3 consecutive birdies on 15, 16, and 17 to cap off an even par 36 on the back 9 and put himself in contention. Wilson started strong on the front 9 with three birdies but ran into trouble on number 9. Unfazed, Wilson posted a strong 37 on the back 9 to place himself in the playoff. Both competitors played well and earned 625 points each for their efforts. Overall, the 16-18 Boys Division provided great competition and a very exciting Sunday for all of our wonderful spectators.     Boys 14-15 Division T

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he Boys 14-15  Division provided more drama on Sunday in addition to the boys 16-18 group, with a playoff of their own that needed two holes of sudden death play to determine the winner. Facing off in the playoff was Aidan Lafferty from Downers Grove, IL and Lindsey Cordell from Rome, GA. After both bogeying the first hole of the playoff, Aidan managed a par on the second hole to win the playoff and take the 1st place trophy home. Lafferty and Cordell were both at the top of the leaderboard all weekend, posting scores of 82 the first day and 78 the second. Lafferty started strong with a birdie on hole #1 and finished with 11 pars in the second round to push himself in the playoff. Despite bogeying the first playoff hole, Lafferty kept his composure and played the long par five number 2 perfectly to win the playoff. While Cordell fell short in the end, showed that he is competing to win with his low 78 on the second day to match his pairing partner Lafferty. The front 9 on day one took a toll on Cordell but he stayed focused and did his job to put himself in a position to win. Expect to see Cordell atop the leaderboard in future events. Rounding out the top three in the 14-15 Boys Division with a total score of 162 was Jonathon Griz from Hilton Head Island, SC. On Sunday Griz managed to birdie holes 1, 2, 4 and 14, and found a rhythm that lifted him to the third spot. In future tournaments, don’t be surprised when Griz walks away with the first place trophy.     Boys 11-13 Age Division

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The Boys 11-13 Division featured three players all capable of posting low scores at any given time. The first place winner Sung Ho Lee played consistently both rounds, posting scores of 90 and 92 to walk away with the champion trophy without much stress. Throughout the round, sparkles of Lee’s great short game were apparent with multiple approach shots that led to easy one and two putts on very difficult greens. Coming in second from North Augusta, SC was Mitchell McNeil.  McNeil fought through the cold, windy conditions Saturday and posted a 110 score only to come back Sunday and fire a 97 on a beautiful Sunday. McNeil wishes he could have a few holes back but his efforts will not be overlooked and he earned 770 points. Bringing home the third place trophy and 550 points, Jae Young Park played better than his score of 116 and 107 would indicate. Despite not playing as well as he would have liked, Park made the most of his time on the challenging Turtle Point golf course. In the end, any of the scores posted by all three competitors were great with all factors considered. These three names will be in the mind of all competitors in the next events they compete in.     Boys U10 Division

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Turtle Point proved to be challenging for the Boys U10 Division with yardages being pushed to the limits and with wind controlling their shots. Jackson Armbruster from Simpsonville, SC earned the first place trophy by posting scores of 105 and 109. Armbruster played an incredible ocean hole 16 perfectly during the first round and posted the only birdie of the weekend. Coming in second place, Christian Haskins from Johns Island, SC played great for his first event in difficult conditions. Haskins did not show any signs of nerves throughout the round and expect his score to drop as his experience increases.     Girls 14-18 Division

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The Girls 14-18 Division finished the drama off of the three sudden death playoffs that occurred at Turtle Point over the weekend. Yoon-Kyong Kim and Hanna Kiefer, from Kronberg, Germany both posted scores of 155 after the weekend, sending the two into the playoff, where Kim won with a par after playing the hole perfectly. Kim posted three birdies on Sunday at 3, 10, and 13 that were crucial to here success. Kiefer battled valiantly, even posting an eagle on 13 on Sunday but fell short by one stroke in the playoff. Despite the difficult lost, expect Kiefer to still be in contention in every event she competes in. Coming in third place from Mars Hill, NC was Castilla Rice, who posted a score of 81 and 78, totaling 159 after the two days. Rice played very well on Saturday and Sunday but fell just short of the playoff, despite posting 2 birdies on the back nine on Sunday. The Girls 14-18 Division was close down to the final pairing and spectators should expect to see the same in coming events.     Girls U13 Division

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The U13 Girls Division featured two players, Jia Lin Shen and Chae-Yoon Um. Both players struggled through difficult conditions Saturday and came out Sunday confident. Shen posted a first round score of 90 then bounced back with an incredible 77 on Sunday. Boosting Shen to victory was an impressive even par 36 on the back side, where Shen showed her full potential in crunch time. Um faced many struggles on the first day of the tournament as she shot a 110 but came back strong with a 95. Um showed the potential to shoot much lower throughout her round, with glimpses of a strong short game and presence on the green that should be expected to only get better as her tournament play increases this spring. Be on the look out for both names as the season continues, you won’t be disappointed.      

Weather February 4th and 5th, 2017

Round 1: Low 40, High 52. Cloudy and Windy

Round 2: Low 40, High 62. Sunny with clouds

Tournament Division Yardages

Boys 16-18: 6601 yards

Boys 14-15: 6601 yards

Boys 11-13: 5, 659 yards

Boys U10: 5,110 yards

Girls 14-18: 5,659 yards

Girls U13: 5,110 yards

 

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