Lee conquers Royal Lakes to win HJGT event
Latka holds on for one shot victory at Royal Lakes
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour was in the Peach State on June 29-30 at Royal Lakes Golf and Country Club in Flowery Branch, GA for the Royal Lakes Junior Open. The weather could not have been better as the skies were sunny for the majority of the event and the rain steered clear of the beautifully designed course at Royal Lakes. The field was extremely competitive as they battled for much more than the title of HJGT Champions. The top competitor from both the Boys 15-18 age division as well as the Girls 15-18 age division were awarded four performance stars which will provide 1 exemption into an AJGA event. The event was also ranked by Junior Golf Scoreboard, South Carolina Junior Golf Association, and Tarheel Youth Golf Association. Winners of each of the four age divisions (Boys 11-14, 15-18 & Girls 11-14, 15-18) will receive an automatic bid into the 2013 Tour Championship and the top 10 finishers receive points towards year end honors.
The Boys 15-18 Division was won by S.M. Lee of Buford, GA. Lee shot a day one 69 that put him up by five strokes heading into Sunday. Lee played consistently on Sunday and shot 73 despite the pressure put on him from the rest of the field. Lee had two eagles in the two days at Royal Lakes and only had a total of seven bogeys for the tournament and finished with a 142 (-2) total. Second place finishers Chase Cale and Barrett Waters put a great deal of pressure on Lee as Cale shot 70 on day two and Waters shot a 71. Both Cale and Waters finished with a two day total of 145 (+1). Cale, from Greenville, SC finished solidly on Sunday, shooting one under with one bogey on the back side. Cale finished the tournament with seven birdies. Waters also played well on Sunday, as the Dallas, GA native had three birdies on the day and five for the weekend. Gus Beisel of Savannah, GA took home EFX Birdie Challenge honors as he led the field with nine birdies. Cullen Madden of Roswell, GA won the Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week with a 16 stroke improvement from Saturday to Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Girls 15-18 Division was extremely competitive as Nicole Latka of Roswell, GA eventually won, but she didn’t gain the lead until the 17th hole. As the final two groups headed to 16, Christie Blaurock of Dacula, GA had a two shot lead, but made a bogey to drop to +12. Latka, along with Morgan Reece, who were playing in the group behind, both made a birdie to tie Blaurock. On 17, Blaurock would find trouble as she made another bogey, and Latka followed with a par to take a one shot lead over Blaurock and Reece into the par five 18th hole. Latka and Reece would match each other coming down 18 until Latka put her shot short of the green setting up a very difficult pitch shot. Meanwhile, Morgan Reece hit her third shot on the green and faced a very makeable birdie putt. Latka then pitched to about seven feet for her par save. Reece would miss the birdie putt and make par, and Latka would save par to avoid a playoff and win the tournament. Latka would finish the tournament with a two day total of 156 (+12). Latka finished the tournament with 5 birdies and 19 pars. Blaurock and Reece, a Gainesville, GA native would finish the event tied for second place with totals of 157 (+13). Christie Blaurock averaged par on the par fives of Royal Lakes and tied for the most pars with 20. Reece led the field in par four performance with an average of 4.45 on those holes. Latka along with Gainesville, GA native Meg Callahan and Courtney Lowery of Greenville, GA led the field in birdies with five. Callahan, Ashley Brown of Alpharetta, GA and Madeline Harr of Gainesville, GA won the Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week award after a 10 shot improvement on Sunday.
The Boys 11-14 Division was won by Evans Copeland of Columbus, GA who shot 74 and 77 to finish with a 151 (+7) total. Copeland made a bogey on the final hole, but was able to hold on to the narrow two shot victory over Jordan Rodriguez of Buford, GA. Copeland led the field in birdies with six and also led in par four and par five performance. Copeland averaged 4.30 on par fours and 4.75 on par fives. Rodriguez, who ran into trouble with a wayward drive on the final hole, shot 76 and 77 for a two day total of 153 (+9). Jordan had four birdies and tied for the lead in pars with 21. In third place was Jackson Tyler, who also had 21 pars and shot 84 and 77 for a two day total of 161 (+17). Copeland took home the EFX Birdie Challenge Bracelet for the most birdies. Brandon Cho of Suwanee, GA won the Golf Pride Comeback Player of the week after an eight shot improvement.
Grace Choi of Buford, GA won the Girls 11-14 Division with scores of 90 and 79 for a total of 169 (+25). Choi led or tied for the lead in every statistical category including most birdies, most pars, and par three, par four, and par five performance. Choi’s par or better percentage was also tops in the division with 58.3%. Choi tied second place finisher Kaysie Harrelson with two birdies as they both took home the EFX Birdie Challenge Bracelets. Harrelson shot 98 and 86 for a total of 184 (+40). Harrelson averaged 4.00 on the Royal Lakes par threes and had 8 pars over the two day event. In third place was Chatsworth, GA native Katelyn Skiffen with a 91 and 101 for a total of 192 (+48). Skiffen had 13 pars over the two day event. Kaysie Harrelson took home the Golf Pride grips with a 12 shot improvement from Saturday to Sunday. Weather: Saturday: Mostly Sunny, mid 80’s, wind 10-20 mph Sunday: Mostly Sunny, mid 80’s, wind 5-10 mph Tournament Yardages: Boys 15-18: 6,850 yards Girls 15-18: 5,748 yards Boys 11-14: 6,116 yards Girls 15-18: 5,213 yards Tournament Awards:EFX Birdie Challenge:
Boys 15-18: Gus Beisel Girls 15-18: Meg Callahan, Nicole Latka, and Courtney Lowery Boys 11-14: Evans Copeland Girls 11-14: Grace Choi and Kaysie Harrelson Golf Pride Comeback Player of the Week: Boys 15-18: Cullen Madden Girls 15-18: Ashley Brown, Meg Callahan, and Madeline Harr Boys 11-14: Brandon Cho Girls 11-14: Kaysie Harrelson 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 11-14 and Girls 15-18. Based out of Jacksonville, FL, the HJGT administers events all across the nation, with stops in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Ohio.