The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour was in Flowery Branch, GA on June 28-29th for the Royal Lakes Junior Open at Royal Lakes Golf and Country Club. Nearly perfect conditions both days led to low scores and great competition. Winners in all divisions received an invitation to the 2014 Tour Championship. South Carolina Junior Golf Association Heritage Points and Junior Golf Scoreboard Rankings were awarded to all divisions as well. Four AJGA stars were awarded to the winner in the Boys 15-18 division, while one AJGA star was awarded to the Top 5 finishers in the division. In the Girls 15-18 division. Four AJGA performance stars were awarded to the winner, while one performance star was awarded to the Top 5 finishers. In addition, Top 10 finishers receive points towards year end honors which include state teams, ALL HJGT teams, and the Hurricane Cup.
Boys 15-18 Age Division
The Boys 15-18 division was packed with excitement throughout the weekend. Francisco Pichardo from Santo Domingo, D.R. took home the victory when he made birdie on 10, the first playoff hole. JM Klopfenstein gave it all he could, but a par on the first playoff hole left him with second place honors. Pichardo shot a first round 74 and a second round 72 for a two day total of 146, and Klopfenstein shot 73-73 for a two day total of 146. Finishing in third place just one shot back was Julian Estevez Ega from Santiago, D.R., who shot 75-72 for a two day total of 147. Pichardo hit his drive into a fairway bunker on the first playoff hole, and looked to be in trouble after his ball rested right in front of a pinecone. Klopfenstein was sitting in the middle of the fairway and was in control. However, Pichardo hit the shot of the tournament when he stuck his approach to about ten feet. Klopfenstein countered with a great approach of his own, nearly dunking it from the fairway, and was left with a fifteen foot birdie putt. His birdie putt was on line until it turned about three feet from the hole and just missed. Pichardo then stepped up and calmly drained his putt for birdie, and the win. Pichardo played well during the first round and was even heading into his final hole of the day, but ended with a double bogey on the eighteen to finish with a two over par 74. Pichardo began his final round on fire when he birdied three of his first six holes, and finished with seven consecutive pars to force the playoff. Klopfenstein had an up and down day during his final round, recording four birdies, five bogies, and nine pars to shoot a one over 73. Austin Rains from Acworth, GA led the field in birdies this week with ten. Jake Golob from Nicholson, GA was the most improved from round one to round two, improving his score by eleven shots.
Boys 11-14 Age Division
The Boys 11-14 division was just as exciting as there was another playoff to determine the champion. Brandon Cho from Suwanee, GA birdied the first playoff hole to take home the victory over Jackson Tyler from Seneca, SC. Cho started the tournament with a 4-over par 76 in which he had fourteen pars to go along with four bogies, and shot a second round 73 to finish with a two day total of 149. Cho went out with a 1-over par 37 on his front nine on Sunday in which he had eight pars and just one bogey, and then shot an even-par 36 on the back nine, including a birdie on his last hole to force the playoff. Jackson Tyler also shot 76-73 to finish with a two day total of 149, but didn’t begin the tournament the way he would’ve liked, starting with six pars and three bogies to card a three-over par 39 on his opening nine. He played much better on the back nine in which he had one birdie, two bogies, and six pars for a one-over 37. During the second round Tyler got off to a better start on the front nine, shooting a one-over par 37, and then had one birdie and one bogey to go along with seven pars to shoot an even par 36 on the back nine to get into the playoff. Finishing third, just one shot back was Gage Smith of Lafayette, GA. Smith started the tournament with a 76 and shot a final round 74 to finish with a two day total of 150. Cho and Tyler both began the playoff hole with drives right down the middle, and Cho hit a 5-wood to about eight feet. Tyler followed Cho’s great approach with a good shot of his own, leaving him a twenty foot uphill birdie putt. Tyler’s birdie putt barely missed to the left, and then Cho stepped up and sunk his eight foot putt for the victory. Nicholas Gibson from Lawrenceville, GA led the field this week with eight birdies, while Jonathon Tark from Buford, GA had the most improved score from round one to round two when he improved by eight shots.
Girls 15-18 Age Division
In the Girls 15-18 division, Jakari Harris from Atlanta, GA went low in round two to capture the title. Harris began the tournament with a first round 84 and shot a final round 77 to finish with a two day total of 161 to win by four shots. Finishing in second place was Louise Yu from Duluth, GA. Yu shot a first round 82 and followed that up with a second round 83 for a two day total of 165. Finishing four shots back from Yu was Nicole Latka of Roswell, GA. Latka started with a first round 82 and then shot 87 in the second round to finish with a two day total of 169. Harris had a rough start to the tournament when she triple bogied two of her first three holes, but persevered throughout the rest of the round and tournament to win by four shots. During Harris’ second round, she played extremely well all day. She had 14 pars, and other than a double and triple bogey on the sixth and eleventh hole, she played the round in even par. Louise Yu, who finished in second place, had the most birdies in the field this week with three. Courtney Grovogel of Winder, GA was the most improved as she improved by fourteen shots from round one to round two.
Day 1: Mid 80’s and Mostly Sunny
Day 2: Mid 80’s and Partly Cloudy
Boys 15-18: 6,819
Boys 11-14: 6,119
Girls 15-18: 5,737
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 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, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Indiana and Connecticut.
For more information regarding the HJGT 2014 Tour, 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.