Tampa Bay Jr. Open Jan. 25-26

Morris fights back for victory Becker’s par wins playoff

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The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour traveled to Ruskin, Florida on January 25-26 for the Tampa Bay Junior Open. Playing 36 holes over two days, a champion was crowned in each of our four age divisions: Boys and Girls 15-18 and Boys and Girls 11-14. Winners in all four divisions received an invitation to the 2014 Mid-Season Championship and 2014 Tour Championship. The top ten finishers received points towards year end honors which include state teams, ALL HJGT teams, and the Hurricane Cup. Additionally, all divisions were ranked by the NJGS and earned Florida Junior Tour Exemptions.

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In the Boy’s 15-18 division, Chandler Morris from Hobe Sound, FL started the final round one stroke back of the four co-leaders (79). Sunday proved to be Morris’ day, firing a 69 and finishing on top by five strokes. Morris took dead aim at the flagstick all Sunday long, dropping four birdies, including three on the front nine to score a 33. He led his division in Par four and five scoring over the weekend and finished with the most birdies in the field. Daniel Core of Sorrento, FL, GuoZhen Xu of Windermere, FL and Spencer Alexander or Port Charlotte, FL finished in a tie for second place with weekend scores of 154. Core and Alexander played incredibly consistent all weekend. Core led the field in pars, 13 of which came in his Sunday round. Core also led the Boys 15-18 division in Par three scoring. Xu’s scores show that the backside of Cypress Creek Golf Club really fit his eye, shooting 37 both days. Xu eagled 18 on his final hole of the weekend to finish on a strong note and to put himself in the tie for second place.

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Shelby Brauckmuller of Auburndale, FL was tied for the lead in the Girls 15-18 division after her first round score of 83. Claire Becker was in third place after she fired an 86 on Saturday. After the second round, the two found themselves knotted up at 165 to force a sudden death playoff. The playoff went two holes before Becker knocked in a testy five footer for par to win, something she did consistently all weekend. Becker led the Girls 15-18 division in Pars, as well as Par three and Par four scoring. Playing the Par three’s at two under par Sunday helped her shoot the only round in the 70’s of the age division and force the playoff with Brauckmuller. Brauckmuller had the most birdies in her division and took advantage of the par fives’s, leading her division in scoring on those holes to take home second place. Jaclyn Fanola from Monroe, MI kept battling all weekend to finish in third place. A winner last year on tour, Fanola was frustrated after her first round of 91 but bounced back with an 81 on Sunday including a back nine score of 38 where she got back into form.

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It took a monster comeback from Carson Sampl of Saint Cloud, FL to emerge victorious on Sunday at Cypress Creek in the Boys 11-14 division. Sampl began the day seven shots back of the first round leader, Daniel Mackenzie of Atlanta, GA who fired a 75 on Saturday. Sampl scored an even par 72 on Sunday to be crowned champion. Pivotal to Sampl’s victory was his play on the Par five, 14th hole, which he played at three under par for the weekend. His six birdies or better, including an eagle on 14 Saturday, tied him for the lead in the division with second place finisher David Morgan. Morgan from Naples, FL also showed great improvement on Sunday shooting 74 after his first round of 82 to finish in second place. Morgan played the back nine on Sunday like he was gunning for the win, firing a 34. Finishing in third place was Bozhou Li of Lakewood Ranch, FL. Li showed tremendous consistency all weekend shooting 39 on three of the four sides played. He led the Boys 11-14 division in Par three scoring as well as Pars made over the weekend.

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At the conclusion of the first round, Zhen Xie from Lakewood Ranch, FL had a commanding lead in the Girls 11-14 division. Her 83 on Saturday had her sleeping on a 15 stroke lead heading into the final round of play. She would extend her lead to 30 strokes before the end of play Sunday and cruise to the victory. On her way, Xie dropped 19 pars and led the field in nearly all statistical categories. In second place was Anna Gilhool of Tampa, FL who shot 99-94 and highlighted her second round with a birdie on the tough Par four 11th hole. Emma Hallson from Windermere, FL finished in third place with rounds of 98-96. Hallson finished strong with a 43 on the back side Sunday, her strongest nine of the weekend.

Weather: Day 1: Mid 50’s, Sunny all day Day 2: Mid 60’s all day, mostly cloudy, light rain occasionally throughout day

Tournament Yardage: Boys 15-18: 6,767 yards Girls 15-18: 5,652 yards Boys 11-14: 6,152 yards Girls 11-14: 5,172 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 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, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Connecticut.

For more information regarding the HJGT, please visit our website at www.hjgt.org or call the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour headquarters at (904) 379-2697, or email info@hjgt.org.

A NEW and improved HJGT app will be released soon for both Android and iPhone!

coming soon!