New Jersey Spring Challenge, April 29th-30th, 2017

New Jersey Spring Challenge–

Hopewell Valley Golf Club

(April 29-30, 2017)

  The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour traveled to Hopewell, NJ to host the New Jersey Spring Challenge at Hopewell Valley Golf Club. Friday night before the start of the event, heavy thunder, lightning, and rainstorms hit the course, making for extremely wet conditions. Despite tough course conditions, players fought hard and competition levels were high. With cooler Sunday conditions and the course dried out, players were able to be more aggressive, and the lower scores showed it. This weekends event featured a fantastic -1 round score by the Boys 16-18 champion William O’Neill and a one hole, sudden death playoff between the Boys 11-13 age division. The HJGT would like to extend a warm thank you to the staff members at Hopewell Valley Golf Club for providing at excellent course to host an event at. What was at stake during this event include an invitation into the HJGT Midseason Invitation on June 11-13 for the top three finishers in each division, 2017, an invitation to 2017 National Championship December 2-3, Junior Golf Scoreboard Rankings, and points for top 10 finishers that go to end of the year honors. Play was exceptional all across the leaderboard, making for a competitive event.   Boys 16-18 Division

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The Boys age 16-18 division featured 21 players all poised to take on the challenging Hopewell Valley course. With very thick grass, missing any fairway could result in a bogey, if not worse, which our champion William O’Neill kept in mind during the weekend. O’Neill posted the lowest score of the first round for all divisions with a one over 73, but still had some magic in store for Sunday. Coming back even stronger, he posted the only round under par of the weekend with a one under 71 to finish the tournament at an even par 144 for the weekend. Great play and great scores are becoming a regular thing with this great player. Putting the pressure on O’Neill for the majority of the tournament was your second place finisher, Tyler Gerbavsits from Huntington, NY. Gerbavsits played consistently all weekend, shooting consistent rounds of 75-75 to finish 6 strokes back of the leader in second place. After a one under par first nine on the second day, Gerbavsits couldn’t keep the momentum going on the backside. Rounding out the oldest boys division was Brandon Valvano from Franklin Lakes, NJ. Valvano posted a two-day total of 153 over the weekend, which was just enough to place in the top three and earn an exemption into the HJGT Midseason Invitational and National Championship. Fourth place finisher Bobby Greer III posted the second lowest round of the weekend with a second day even par 72.   Boys 14-15 Division

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The Boys 14-15 division was made up of 16 players this weekend, making them the second largest division of the event. Things came down to the wire in this age division, with second place finishers Stephen Lorenzo and Cade McLaughlin putting pressure on the leader George Roessler throughout the final round. Roessler, from New York, NY, may have given the field a better chance then he would have liked, but he kept calm enough to earn himself the first place trophy. Roessler could not have done it without the help of an opening round 77, which gave him a three-stroke lead over the field after day one. Stephen Lorenzo, t-2 finisher, got off to a rocky start on the final round Sunday, giving up 6 strokes in the first four holes. After that, Lorenzo settled down to finish with a second round score of 82, giving him a two-day total of 162 to earn him a share of second place. Matching Lorenzo’s total score was Cade McLaughlin from Princeton, NJ. McLaughlin did not play up to his capabilities on Saturday, posting a first round score of 83 and no birdies, but came back Sunday with a 79 and two birdies to give himself a shot at the lead. The Boy’s 14-15 division was tight all weekend, making for a very exciting Sunday finish.   Boys 11-13 Division

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The Boys 11-13 division was a close battle at the top of the leaderboard this weekend, ending with a fantastic putt by Champion Austin Liao in a sudden death playoff hole. Austin Liao has been a presence amongst the top of the leaderboard in just about every event he has played in this year, so the victory should not come as a surprise. Liao managed to earn the victory after trailing by three strokes after the first round, thanks to a second round, 5 over 77. Coming up just short in the one hole playoff after an incredible weekend was Paul Ulanich from Warren, NJ. Ulanich was the outright leader after day one after an opening round score of 78, but couldn’t keep the momentum on his side entering the final round as he finished with an 8 over 80. Ulanich was very gracious in his sudden death defeat to Liao, showing great sportsmanship and class. Missing the playoff by just two strokes was third place finisher Isaiah Marseille from Linden, NJ. Marseille posted scores of 81-79, giving himself a shot at first place. Entering the final stretch, back to back bogeys on 17 and 18 left Marseille just short of the playoff. The Boys 11-13 division never disappoints to provide a showcase of sportsmanship and competition in its purest form.     Girls 14-18 Division

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The Girls 14-18 division was a tight race at the top of the leaderboard, with each of the top 3 scoring within four strokes of each other. Champion Kara Kniezewski, from Blue Bell, PA, entered the clubhouse after the first round with a one stroke lead over the field. Despite intense pressure from the field, one stroke was all Kniezewski needed to win, as she finished with scores of 82-83 to finish as champion of the Girls 14-18 division. Coming in second place just one stroke behind Kniezewski was Casey Oppenheimer from Conshohocken, PA. Oppenheimer posted consistent scores of 83-83 to put herself into the final grouping come Sunday. Wrapping up the Girls 14-18 division with a two-day total of 169 was Sarah Houle from Sandy Hook, CT. Houle could not find a rhythm on the golf course all weekend, making her scores of 84-85 even more impressive given a trying weekend. Early in the season, all three of these finishers look to be in for an impressive upcoming summer season.   Girls U13 Division

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The youngest girls division this weekend was full of great shots and great competition all across the leaderboard. Leading the way and taking home the first place trophy this weekend was Elizabeth Beek from Blue Bell, PA. Beek has a well-rounded game that can adapt to just about any course she plays, which was apparent once again this weekend. Beek posted identical scores of 80-80 to finish with a two-day total of 160 and a first place trophy. Coming in second place with a two-day total of 166 was Megan Meng from Pennington, NJ. Meng played well given the conditions on Saturday, posting a first round score of 85 to put her in the thick of things. Come Sunday, she turned it up a notch and posted a second round score of 81 to grab the second place trophy. Finishing in third place with a two-day total of 170 was Nicole Criscone from Clifton Park, NY. Criscone found herself outside the final pairing come Sunday after an opening round 87, but this seemed to help her focus more, which is evident in her second round 83. Yet again, the Girls U13 division proved they could play well on any course and in any condition.    

Weather: April 29th and 30th, 2017

Round 1: Low 86, High 61. Sunny with partial clouds

Round 2: Low 65, High 51. Sun with partial clouds

Tournament Division Yardages

Boys 16-18: 6,645 yards

Boys 14-15: 6,645 yards

Boys 11-13: 5,648 yards

Girls 14-18: 5,648 yards

Girls U13: 5,351 yards

About Hurricane Junior Golf Tour

In 2017, The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour announced a partnership with Nexus, an international hospitality and entertainment company backed by financier Joe Lewis and Tavistock Group, golfing great Tiger Woods and musician and entertainer Justin Timberlake, which will further our collective goal of growing the game of golf, broadening the Tour’s reach across the U.S. and around the world.   The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) was founded in 2007 with the intent of providing junior golfers between the ages of 11-18, and now 10 and under, an opportunity to play exceptional courses in a competitive environment. Golfers who participate on the tour will compete in one of six age divisions: Boys 16-18, Boys 14-15, Boys 11-13, Boys U10, Girls 14-18, and Girls U13. Based out of Jacksonville, FL, the HJGT administers events all across the nation, with stops in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. In 2016, we have now expanded to the west coast and cover California, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, and Oregon.   For more information regarding the 2017 HJGT Tour, please visit our website at, call the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour headquarters at (904) 379-2697, or email  

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