Orlando Junior Challenge – January 17-18, 2015
Tai wins after a two-hole playoff
Kentucky native, Kehoe travels to take home trophy
(January 18, 2015) The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) traveled to Orlando, Florida on January 17-18 for the Orlando Junior Challenge. Players battled extremely windy conditions during both rounds until all players finished 36 holes. Top three finishers in all divisions received an invitation to the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational. Winners in each division were invited to the 2015 Tour Championship. All divisions were ranked by the Junior Golf Scoreboard (JGS). Additionally, the top ten finishers in each division received points towards year end honors which include state teams, ALL HJGT teams and the Hurricane Cup. The top finisher in the Boys 15-18 division received four performance stars and the top five received one performance star. The top finisher in the Girls 15-18 division received four performance stars and the top three received one performance star. The top finisher in the Girls 11-14 division received one performance star.
Scores were tight in the Boys 15-18 division from the beginning on Saturday. Alex Gibson of Wesley Chapel, Florida and Linus Samuelsson of Heathrow, Florida both shot a 73 (+1), tying through 18 holes. Gibson led the way with four birdies while Samuelsson had one. Rounding out Saturday, Takafumi Shimoji was just one stroke behind the two leaders. Heading into the second round, strong play continued for Gibson and Samuelsson. Gibson and Samuelsson were tied with a 38 on the front nine heading into the final back nine. Gibson made a birdie on the 12th hole to give him the outright lead and eventually the win, shooting a 38. Samuelsson fought hard only to come up one shot short of Gibson. Takafumi Shimoji took home third place with a two-day total of 152. All in all, great play from the Boys 15-18 division.
In the Girls 15-18 division, Ellen Kehoe of Campbellsville, Kentucky had a strong two rounds posting a two-day total of 148. Kehoe had an impressive two rounds. Kehoe birdied three holes on round one, two of which were on the back nine. Heading into the second round there was strong play throughout the division. Kehoe continued her consistency, shooting a 75 (+3), keeping her first place position to win the division. Jennifer Zhou of Lake Mary, Florida shot a 77 (+5), improving from her round one score of 81 (+9) by four strokes. Jennifer carded two birdies to help her achieve second place. Tying for third place, Andrea Gomez, and Cindy Kou both shot a two-day total of 159. Kou, who was the Girls 11-14 Player of the Year in 2014, added two birdies to her second round while Gomez had one, helping each of them to take home the third place trophy.
The Boys 13-14 division was very exciting for all. At the end of round one, Cooper Parks of Campbellsville, Kentucky and Artemiy Yalovenko, of Orlando, Florida were tied with a 73 (+1). Parks made a par or better 16 of his first 18 holes, while Yalovenko tallied four birdies through his first 18. There was strong play from these two gentlemen leading up to the second round. During the second round both Parks and Yalovenko continued to play well. Parks eventually took the outright lead securing his victory with a two-day total of 151. Yalovenko fell short of Parks by just one stroke shooting a two-day score of 152. Tying for third place, Lorenz Poerings of Wesley Chapel, Florida and Taylor John McGerity of Lake Mary, Florida both shot a two-day total of 158.
In the Girls 11-14 division, Erkia Smith of Orlando, Florida dominated finishing with a total of 152. Smith improved from round one to round two by two strokes, securing a wider gap to take the victory. Alice Yu of Orlando, Florida took home second place shooting a two day total of 159. Yu improved her birdie performance from one birdie in the first round, to two birdies in the second. Third place was awarded to Duong Tran with a 161 two-day total. Tran had consistent play with 22 pars on the weekend.
The Boys 11-12 division stole the show on Sunday with a two-hole playoff between Hiroshi Tai and Johnny Wright. Prior to the playoff Poppy Lee of Loxahatchee, Florida secured the third place trophy with a two-day total of 160. Lee showed improvement from day one to day two, shaving off four strokes. Both boys involved in the playoff, tied through 36 holes with a 159 two-day total. The first playoff hole ended in a par for both boys, bringing them back to the tee box for a second attempt to take first place. The second playoff hole, Tai birdied to take home the trophy. With friends, family and spectators it was a great way to end the 36-hole event for the Boys 11-12 division. Weather: Day 1- Low of 62 to high of 72, Sunny, winds 3-5 MPH Day 2- Low of 65 to high of 70, Partly Cloudy, winds 5-7 MPH Tournament Yardages: Boys 15-18: 6,856 yards Boys 13-14: 6,186 yards Boys 11-12: 5,818 yards Girls 15-18: 5,818 yards Girls 11-14: 5,299 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 five age divisions: Boys 15-18, Boys 13-14, Boys 11-12, 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, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Connecticut. For more information regarding the HJGT, 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