North Jersey Junior Classic
High Bridge Hills GC – Highbridge, N.J. (April 16-17)
Skills in the Hills
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour ventured to the fairly new High Bridge Hills GC in Highbridge, NJ. Designed by Mark Mungeam in 2000, this course provides a zig-zag layout with the holes being extremely close. Accuracy is rewarded throughout the course, but ending up left or right will leave you in another fairway. Hills, sudden elevation changes, and natural features help shaped the landscape, while presenting many obstacles to players of all skill levels. Tricky tee box locations lead to intriguing hole locations and blind shooting on various holes. Views from the fourth tee are wondrous as you can see the whole front nine and the surrounding environment. A change of pace from the norm, High Bridge Hills makes par at 70. The course plays long on some par-fours, but makes up for it on several short par-threes. The weather was no problem for the HJGT or its players as temperatures of mid 60s and above were prevalent throughout the weekend. Winners in all age divisions received invitations to the HJGT National Championship on Dec. 3-4. Top three in each age division also received invitations to the Druh Belts Mid Season Invitational on June 11-13. All age divisions were also eligible for Junior Golf Scoreboard ranking.
Boys 16-18 Division
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The Boys 16-18 age division was captured by William Mirams of Stroudsburg, Pa. Mirams surged up the leaderboard on Saturday with a masterful bogey-free score of two-under 68. Mirams credited his putter for the impressive tourney score, ending with a 141 (+1). A spectacular 29 pars and four birdies led the charge to the title. Tyler Gerbavsits of Huntington, N.Y., came back with a strong final round to pull out second place out of 19 over West Shaw from Alexandria, Va. After an up-and-down day one, Gerbavsits played brilliantly to come away with a 69 (-1) in the final round to score a total of 147 (+7) for the tournament. Four birdies and 22 pars allowed Gerbavsits to stay in the hunt, but his day one was too much to overcome. Shaw played consistently on Saturday, but the back nine crushed his chance at first and eventually caused him to tumble down the leaderboard. Shaw nailed three birdies and 23 pars to end with a 150 (+10) overall.
Boys 14-15 Division
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Joseph Lostumbo[/caption] The Boys 14-15 division featured a local winner in the form of Joseph Lostumbo of Flemington, N.J. Lostumbo was the clubhouse leader going into Sunday’s final round and followed up his performance up with an even better Sunday. Lostumbo managed a couple of birdies and a division-leading 20 pars on his way to the top. He scored a 153 (+13) total for the two-day tournament to finish five strokes ahead of Sean Vowells of Chatham, N.J., and eight better than Sean Choi of Ramsey, N.J, who finished second and third out of 11, respectively. Vowells posted a pair of 79s both days for a 158 (+18) total. One birdie and 19 pars carried Vowells to second. Choi made a group-best three birdies and 16 pars to lead him to third. Choi struggled on Saturday with an 86, but improved by 11 on Sunday that fueled his resurgence as he finished at 161 (+21) overall.
Girls 14-18 Division
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The Girls 14-18 division featured a runaway winner in Gabriella Kim of Wayne, Pa. Kim beat out the Guo sisters, Emilie and Lauren, who finished second and third out of five, respectively. Kim relied on her driver to put her in good positions to capitalize. Kim took an eight-stroke lead from Saturday and doubled it, finishing with a 160 (+20) overall. Three birdies and 14 pars led the division and kept her out front of her competition. The Guo sisters fought to keep in contention, but only could battle each other. Emilie got the better of this fight as she finished with a 176 (+36) which was one better than Lauren’s 177 (+37). Both ladies made a birdie and 10 pars.
Boys 11-13 Division
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The Boys 11-13 division showcased a four-way battle for first with Franklin Zhu of Warren, N.J., coming away with his second HJGT trophy in as many starts. Zhu seized his momentum from Saturday’s lead and kept focused to pull out the victory over his five competitors with score a 154 (+14). Zhu had a tremendous run of 10 fours in a row on the card in the final round en route to a 79 to stave off eventual second place finisher, Bach Ngo of Fredrick, Md., and third-place finisher, Michael Hanratty of Avon, Conn. Four birdies and 18 pars helped Zhu to the victory. Ngo finished with a 156 (+16) after compiling four birdies and 15 pars for scores of 77 and 79. Hanratty needed a consistent round of golf to pull out third, as three birdies and 18 pars were just enough to edge out the other competitors. Hanratty finished with a 157 (+17) and had the low round on Sunday with a 78.
Saturday: Low-Mid 60s, Mostly Sunny, Winds 10-20 MPH
Sunday: Low-Mid 70s, Sunny, Winds ~5 MPH
Boys 16-18 - 6,515 YDS
Boys 14-15 - 6,515 YDS
Girls 14-18/Boys 11-13 - 5,612 YDS