Monday, January 14, 2013
All of the excitement of the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour’s 2012 season came to an end earlier this month as the season culminated with the Tour Championship.
ChampionsGate Golf Resort was the host site for the biggest event of the season, with the best field of the year as well. Participants arrived early on a Saturday morning to some dense fog layering the course and limiting visibility to about 75 yards. However, the conditions during the weekend were great for scoring and the players took full advantage of that with a low round of 68 after the first round.
The Boys 11-14 division was won by a very familiar name on the tour. Summerville’s Zak Butt came into the final round trailing by 2 strokes and then finished the front nine with a three-over 39. The Ashley Ridge golfer then proceeded to finish six-under for his final six holes to claim the 2012 Tour Championship with a two-day total of 140 (-4).
Butt eagled the par-5 13th hole, birdied the par-3 14th, and then finished with three straight birdies.
It is Butt’s sevnenth win on tour this year and his fifth in his last five tournaments played with the HJGT. Butt led his division in total eagles, most pars or better, and par 5 performance (an outstanding 4.12 average).
Josh Lewis from Lake Mary, Fla. took second place with a two-day total of 141 (-3). Lewis, the round one leader, has played well on tour throughout the season and this was just another example of that. He led his division in total birdies, most par breakers, and par 4 performance. Lewis was also second in par 5 performance, with another exceptional average of 4.50.
S.M Lee and Austin Hitt finished the weekend in a tie for third place, both with a two-day total of 144 (E). Lee finished tied for the lead in par 4 performance, as well as tied for third in total birdie made. Lee has been a consistent performer on the tour this year as well, with this weekend being his fifth Top 5 finish. Austin Hitt led the division in par 3 performance, tied for the lead in most pars or better, and second in par 4 performance. This weekend marks Hitt’s fourth top ten finish.
Luiza Altmann recorded a two-day total of 146 (+2) on her way to a seven shot victory in the Girls 11-14 division. This is her third victory on tour this year in as many events played. Altmann won the event by playing consistent golf and never letting herself have a blowup hole.
The Brazilian golfer has established herself on tour as a legitimate threat to win in every event she is a part of. Altmann led her division in almost every statistical category including total birdies, total pars, par 4 performance, par 5 performance, and most pars or better.
Kanyanat Saithip from Thailand finished in second place with a two-day total of 153 (+9). Saithip finished second in par 4 performance and third in par 5 performance. She also recorded 22 pars on the weekend to go with 3 birdies.
Florida native Anne Yu finished third in the Girls 11-14 division with a two-day total of 154 (+10). Yu finished tied for first in total birdies and also most par breakers. To go with those, she finished second in par 5 performance and third in par 4 performance.
In the Boys 15-18 Division Ewen Ferguson of Glasgow, Scotland was the winner. Ferguson, who gave an impromptu speech at the Tour Championship dinner, narrowly pulled out the victory as he came from behind after trailing by two strokes following the first round.
In the end, Ferguson shot a two day total of 140(-4), adding to his impressive resume which included four other victories on the tour including the Identi Club Junior Challenge just last weekend. Ferguson began his second round with two birdies in his first five holes and only recorded one bogey during the round despite moderate gusts of wind. Ferguson trailed Michael Mattiace of Jacksonville, Fla. by one stroke heading into the last three holes.
Mattiace, who is 14 and has been playing in the older division since January, was unable to hold the lead as he double bogeyed the 13th hole which dropped him to second place in the standings. Although he did not win, Mattiace shows great potential as he came in second with a total score of 141(-3) in addition to sinking the most birdies (11) throughout the two days of play.
Rounding out the top three for the Boys 15-18 Division was Chase Cutshall of Melbourne, Fla. He was one of the most consistent players in the second round, shot a two day total of 142(-2), and sank three birdies and 15 par shots in his second round. One other notable player in the Boys 15-18 Division was Toks Pedro of Bowie, Maryland. Pedro, who has also won an HJGT tournament this year, shot one under par in the second round while also winning the Par 5 Performance Challenge with an average of 4.75.
Winning the Girls 15-18 Division was Camilla Serrano, representing the country of Columbia. Serrano, who attends the IMG Academy, dominated her division as she held a two-stroke lead after the first round only to expand that lead to six strokes by the end of the tournament. In the end Serrano finished with a combined score of 141 and was three under par.
Knowing she had a comfortable lead heading into the second round, Serrano fired two birdies early followed by seven straight par shots. In addition to her impressive victory, Serrano posted the most birdies (8), and won the Par 4 Performance Challenge with an average of 3.70.
Second place in the Girls 15-18 Division was a split between Taylor Dodson of Aiken and Emmy Martin of Odessa, Fla. Both Dodson and Martin finished the tournament with a two-day total of 147(+3).
Dodson, who has won four tournaments as well as four second place finishes on the HJGT this year, was very consistent throughout the front nine in the second round as she was at even par, however, was unable to finish strong as she bogeyed three of her last five holes. Despite her struggles later on in the second round, it should be noted that Dodson finished in the top 5 in both the Par 4 and 5 Performances with averages of 4.05 and 5.00 respectively.
Martin was even going into the 17th hole, but she double bogeyed to end up two over par in the second round. Despite her late struggles, Martin was able to sink the most par shots (29) in addition to placing second in the Par 4 Performance Challenge.
One other notable competitor in the Girls 15-18 Division was Lauren Gros of Windermere, Fla. Gros fired an impressive eagle on the third hole of the National Course, and narrowly missed finishing in the top three by only one stroke.
Boys 15-18 Division:
EFX Birdie Challenge: Chase Cutshall
Seaforth Par 4 Performance: Austin Truslow
Coolheads Par 5 Performance: Toks Pedro
Girls 15-18 Division:
EFX Birdie Challenge: Emmy Martin
Seaforth Par 4 Performance: Emily Kurey
Coolheads Par 5 Performance: Camilla Serrano
Boys 11-14 Division:
EFX Birdie Challenge: Josh Lewis
Seaforth Par 4 Performance: Josh Lewis and S.M. Lee
Coolheads Par 5 Performance: Zak Butt
Girls 11-14 Division:
EFX Birdie Challenge: Luiza Altmann and Anne Yu
Seaforth Par 4 Performance: Luiza Altmann
Coolheads Par 5 Performance: Luiza Altmann