New Jersey Spring Challenge
Hopewell Valley Golf Club – Hopewell, N.J. (April 30 - May 1)
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour ventured to the historic Hopewell Valley Golf Club in Hopewell, N.J. The open course allowed for a relaxed feel and comfortable atmosphere to have fun, while golfing at a championship course. The course was designed by Thomas Winton in 1927. Lush landscape, the winding Stony Brook and an abundance of trees present unique challenges at every turn. Open fairways with few obstacles allowed some mistake on drives, but a thick rough killed a lot of swings. Weather was ideal for the first half the weekend as Saturday brought a wonderful day for golfing. Sunday was quite the opposite as rain poured in just about all day, but the juniors fought through. Winners of each division received invitations to the HJGT’s National Championship on Dec. 3-4. Top three in each division also received invitations to the HJGT’s Druh Belts Mid Season Invitational on June 11-13. Junior Golf Scoreboard ranking was awarded to the Boys 11-13, Boys 14-15, Boys 16-18 and Girls 14-18 divisions.
Boys 16-18 Division
The Boys 16-18 age division came down to the last hole, but not even that was enough to crown a champion; so a playoff was needed. William O’Neill of Morristown, N.J., and Cole Berger of Malvern, Pa., needed an extra hole to decide the contest after Berger, the clubhouse leader coming into Sunday’s action, doubled the 18th hole. O’Neill took advantage of the slip-up and carried his momentum into the playoff, where he only needed just one hole to beat out Berger. Both players posted a two-day total of 150 (+6). Berger bested O’Neill in birdies (five to three) while O’Neill collected more pars (24 to 22). Berger posted the lowest single-round total with an even-par 72 on Saturday, but faulted in the final round. O’Neill played well both days, but scored a 73 during Sunday’s round. Colin Peters of Mendham, N.J., played consistent golf to take home third out of 20 in the division. Peters posted a 155 (+11) total, including a pair of birdies and 23 pars.
Boys 14-15 Division
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Sean Choi[/caption] The Boys 14-15 age division belonged to Sean Choi of Ramsey, N.J., who now has his second Hurricane win of the year. Sean felt that the momentum from last win helped to push him at this tournament. Choi relied on his consistent ball-striking to carry him home. Nailing a couple of birdies and nine pars allowed him to stay steady and led him to scores of 84 on both days, resulting in a 168 (+24) total. Choi outshot Matt Reilly of New Hope, Pa., and TJ Terpanick of Colonia, N.J., who finished second and third out of six, respectively. Reilly drained three birdies and nine pars en route to a 170 (+26) total. Two too many double bogeys dropped Reilly to second. Terpanick needed a strong final round to reach the top three and he got just that. Terpanick matched Choi’s 84 on Sunday to move into the top three with a 172 (+28) score. Terpanick had 13 pars on his scorecard for the weekend.
Girls 14-18 Division
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The Girls 14-18 age division featured an extremely tight race and a tie for second. There was a four-way battle for first between Faith Francioso (Wantagh, NY), Emilie Guo (Glen Head, NY), Charlotte Stanton (Warwick, NY), and Lauren Guo (Brookville, NY). Francioso, who trailed by five strokes entering Sunday, pulled out a narrow victory over Guo and Stanton, who tied for second place out of six. A pair of birdies and 13 pars allowed her to capture first with an 82 in the final round and a 170 (+26) total. Playing better in the rain and cold must have helped her, and she also credited her trusty 9-iron for the win. Guo made two birdies and 13 pars to led her charge up the leaderboard, but she faulted Sunday en route to a 171 (+27) total. Guo was the clubhouse leader by three after Saturday, but could not hold on. Stanton nailed a birdie and 13 pars to sneak into the top three.
Boys 11-13 Division
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The Boys 11-13 age division highlighted the smallest champion and a three-way tie for third place. Isaiah Marseille of Linden, N.J., standing at four feet tall, played brilliantly this weekend as he stuck to his game and did not give his competitors an inch. Marseille collected a couple of birdies and 17 pars to lead him up the leaderboard and stay there. Marseille took the lead Saturday with a 79 and came back Sunday to shoot an 83 for a 162 (+18) total. Jason Lee of Westfield, N.J., came in second out of 10 with a very consistent performance. Shooting a 167 (+23) with a birdie and 15 pars, Lee kept sight of Marseille but couldn’t quite come close enough. Lee was followed by Matt Messenger (Easton, Md.), George Dixon (Brightwaters, N.Y.), and Ryan Rinaldo (Colts Neck, N.J.), who all finished in third with a score of 179 (+35).
Boys 10U Division
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The Boys 10 and under age division was up for grabs as three players, Nicholas Gross (Downingtown, Pa.), Adrian Jordan (Lawrenceville, N.J.) and Lance Hollingshead (Basking Ridge, N.J.) all duked it out. Gross took control on day one and built upon it. Shooting an impressive 163 (81-82, +19) was enough to keep distance from Jordan and Hollingshead, who finished second and third, respectively. Gross had two birdies and 17 pars to lead his charge. Jordan made 15 pars and scored a 170 (83-87, +26) to separate himself from Hollingshead. Jordan held second place by four strokes coming into Sunday, but Lance brought it down to three. Hollingshead shot a 173 (87-86, +29) total, including two birdies and a dozen pars. The tightly competitive race was intense until the last hole, as all players played very well throughout the duration of the tournament.
Saturday: Mid-High 60s, Mostly Cloudy, Winds 5-10 MPH
Sunday: Low 50s, Overcast, Rainy, Winds 5-10 MPH
Boys 16-18 - 6,596 YDS
Boys 14-15 - 6,596 YDS
Girls 14-18/Boys 11-13 - 5,730 YDS
Boys 10U - 5,159 YDS