Kelly holds on to lead Totland wins her second tournament of the year
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour traveled to Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey on April 5-6 for the NJ Kickoff at Twisted Dune. This tournament marked the first time the HJGT has hosted an event in New Jersey. Players battled extremely windy conditions during the first round but all were able to finish 36 holes. Winners in all four divisions received an invitation to the 2014 Mid-Season Invitational and Tour Championship. All divisions were also ranked by the Junior Golf Scoreboard. Additionally, the top 10 finishers received points towards year end honors which include state teams, ALL HJGT teams, and the Hurricane Cup.
At the end of the first round, Ryan Kelly of Annapolis, MD held a slim one stroke lead over the field which he was able to hang onto to win first place in the Boys 15-18 divison. Kelly had a first round score of 81. The wind was around 20 mph all through the first round with gusts around 25 mph. Kelly managed the conditions well, and actually had more birdies on Saturday than he did on Sunday. The three shot improvement he had from Saturday to Sunday came as he was able to eliminate bogies off of the scorecard on Sunday. Kelly was the leader in par four scoring for the field and was tied for the lead in birdies made with one of the second place finishers Logan Sabins of Spring Lake Heights, NJ. Both Sabins and Kelly had five birdies throughout the weekend. Sabins finished with rounds of 84 and 77 for a weekend total of 161, two strokes behind Kelly. Starting off Sunday with some fantastic play, Sabins was one under par through nine holes. However, the statistically tougher back nine tripped him up. Sabins bane all weekend was the 14th hole where he was six over par between the two days. Sabins made all five of his birdies on Sunday, but could not avoid the big numbers down the stretch to catch Kelly. Sabins was the leader in scoring on the front nine for the weekend, and his seven stroke improvement on Sunday was enough to earn him a tie for second place with George Cultraro of Wyckoff, NJ. Cultraro was two strokes behind Kelly after the first round and matched Kelly’s second day score of 78. Cultraro dropped in two birdies each day, including one on the tough par three 16th hole in the windy conditions. This was the only birdie on that hole the entire day. The birdie propelled Cultraro into the lead in par three scoring for the field, as well as the lead in scoring on the back nine for the weekend.
In the Girls 15-18 division, Nicole Totland from Tinton Falls, NJ slept on a three stroke lead after a first round score of 90. She extended the lead to eight on Sunday to cruise to an easy victory. Totland improved her score on Sunday by three strokes, all of which came on the back nine, where she had a 10th hole birdie on Sunday. Totland was able to gain and hold the lead by staying around par, making the most pars in the field. She also stayed away from big numbers which put her atop the leaderboard in front and back nine scoring. Sandrine Yesilian of Edgewater, NJ fought from seven strokes back to earn herself the second place trophy. She had an 11 stroke improvement the second day by scoring an 87. Yesilian had an extremely up and down round on Saturday highlighted on the front nine with an eagle and two birdies, but coupled that with some big numbers. Yesilian did have the most birdies in the field and ended the weekend the leader in par five scoring. Ashley Mayse of Cecilton, MD was extremely consistent throughout the weekend, firing duel rounds of 93 to finish in third place. The highlight of her weekend came at the latter part of the round Sunday where she poured in a downhill, sloping putt on the tough par three 16th hole.
Christopher Gaeta of Lincroft, NJ started the second day of competition two strokes off the lead but improved his first round score of 90 to an 81 to come from behind for the victory in the Boys 11-14 division. Gaeta was able to win not because of firing at the pin, but by managing the course and making a lot of pars along the way. He had ten pars on Sunday alone and led the field for the weekend in pars made as well as par four scoring. The finish came down to the wire between Gaeta and Jonathan Prussel of Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Prussel ended up finishing just one stroke behind Gaeta with a weekend total 172. Prussel had a one stroke lead with two holes to play but posted a double bogie on the 17th hole while Gaeta had a par to put him ahead. Prussel had two birdies on Sunday but finished with a streak of double bogey, bogey, double bogey. Prussel led the field in birdies made, par three scoring, and back nine scoring as well. Finishing in third place was Toby DiPaolo with rounds of 98 and 88. His ten stroke improvement, eight of which came on the front nine, was enough to earn him the most improved honors in the boys division.
Lauren Peter of Carmel, NY ran away with the tournament in the Girls 11-14 division. Peter won by 15 strokes and was the only player in the tournament with both rounds in the 70’s. Her 79 and 76 was extremely impressive as was her ability to lead all statistical categories. She led the field in pars and birdies made, par three, four, and five scoring, as well as front and back nine scoring. Sisters Alice and Caroline Hodge of Larchmont, NY tied for second place. The girls ended with weekend totals of 170. Alice improved her score by ten strokes on Sunday while Caroline was able to knock in three birdies over the course of the weekend, tying her for the lead in birdies made. Weather: Day 1: Mid 50’s, Wind Gusts up to 25 mph Day 2: Low 40’s in the morning, high 50’s in afternoon Tournament Yardage: Boys 15-18: 6,850 yards Boys 11-14: 6,100 yards Girls 15-18: 5,750 yards Girls 11-14: 5,150 yards About us: The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) was founded in 2008 with the intention 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 four age divisions: Boys 15-18, Boys 11-14, 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, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Connecticut. For more information regarding the 2014 HJGT Tour, please visit our website at www.hjgt.org, call the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour headquarters at (904) 379-2697, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.