Valdes victorious at Black Diamond
Ito earns first Boys 15-19 Division title
LECANTO, Fla. – The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) conducted the Florida Junior at Black Diamond Ranch, Oct. 12-13. Held on the Quarry Course, which hosted 2012 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying, the Florida Junior featured elite junior golfers ages 9-19 representing 19 countries and 10 states competing for national recognition and IJGT Merit Points.
Ranked by GolfDigest as the 143rd best golf course in the United States, the Quarry Course is a Tom Fazio design that provided a great backdrop for the competition and featured a stretch of five consecutive holes (Nos. 13-17) weaving up and down the quarry. Numerous challenges awaited the tournament field, but many were able to navigate the challenging course to post great rounds.
Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, put on the best performance of the tournament after firing a 4-under-par 140 tournament total to win the Girls Division by 12 strokes. Playing in her first IJGT Event in the 2013-2014 season, Valdes drove the golf ball well, hit precise approach shots, and most importantly, rolled the putter well propelling her to the first-place finish.
In the first round, Valdes got off to a blazing start making two birdies in her first two holes. From there she would make two more birdies and three bogeys en route to a 1-under-par 71. Going into the final round Valdes carried a six-stroke lead.
Valdes did not let up on the accelerator in the final round. Again, she started her day off with two consecutive birdies to put the pressure squarely on her fellow competitors.
Valdes was not done on the front nine though. She would birdie hole No. 7 and then eagle the ninth hole on the Quarry Course at Black Diamond Ranch to go out in 5-under-par 31.
On the more difficult back nine, Valdes would drop two shots to finish off her stellar performance with a 3-under-par 69. This was the lowest score of the tournament regardless of division and also earned Valdes the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award.
“I wasn’t focused on my competitors. I was just trying to do better than yesterday. I was just focusing on my golf game,” said Valdes.
In the Boys 15-19 Division, Shogo Ito of Tokyo, Japan, was victorious for the first time in the 2013-2014 IJGT season. He used a final-round score of even-par 72 to separate himself from the rest of field at Black Diamond Ranch. The score also earned him the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award.
In the first round, Ito grinded out an impressive score of 4-over-par 76 to earn a share of the lead with Ben Cohn of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Ito’s round was similar to a rollercoaster as he made as many pars as he did birdies (five). His most pivotal birdies came in the quarry on holes Nos. 15-16 which played extremely tough due to the precision required on the respective tee shots.
The final round was wide open with five other competitors within three strokes of the co-leaders. Ito got off to the start he needed after making a birdie on the first hole.
“At first I was nervous, but I made a birdie on the first hole which helped,” commented Ito.
A bogey on the second hole put Ito back at even-par for the day, but after three consecutive birdies on holes Nos. 7-9, Ito made the turn in 3-under-par 33. From there it was his to lose. A wayward tee shot on No. 15 forced him to hit his third shot from the tee, but Ito remained calmed and made an impressive bogey to avoid letting any other fellow competitors back into the title picture.
Ito finished the tournament in style making a birdie on the closing hole at the Quarry Course which is an uphill, dogleg to the left, par 5. In total, Ito made 10 birdies over the two days.
Finishing in a tie for second place were Cohn and Masato Yoshitsugu of Aichi, Japan, with tournament totals of 153.
Karl Vilips of Melbourne, Australia, returned to the winner’s circle once again as he dominated the Boys 14 & Under Division at Black Diamond Ranch. The first round was crucial as Vilips opened up a large lead after firing a 2-under-par 70. This was the best score of the tournament in the first round regardless of division. Vilips played nearly flawless golf playing his last eight holes in 3-under-par.
The final round got off to a slow start for Vilips after a quadruple-bogey on the third hole on the Quarry Course. From that point on though, he was able to navigate the golf course in 1-under-par to finish with a 4-over-par 76. In that stretch, Vilips made eight consecutive pars and dominated the demanding quarry holes (Nos. 13-17) playing them in 2-under-par.
Vilips credits his preparation on the greens as the key to his success in the Florida Junior.
“If I putted how I normally played, I would have missed a lot of short putts. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my coach which has helped me this weekend,” said Vilips.
The IJGT Southeast tour will head north to Savannah, Ga., for the Georgia Open at Savannah Quarters Country Club, Oct. 19-20. To sign up for this Event, or others, visit IJGT.com or call (843) 785-2444.
About the IJGT
The IJGT provides exceptional junior golfers with the opportunity to develop and showcase their competitive skills while setting high standards to preserve the traditions and integrity of the game. As a tour that operates primarily throughout the academic year, the IJGT hosts approximately 60 tournaments annually. In addition, the IJGT hosts three international events. Each event provides multi-day competition for junior golfers of all skill levels ages 9-19. Players representing 45 states and 43 countries around the world regularly compete in events at venues such as TPC Sawgrass, Pinehurst, Bethpage State Park and Harbour Town Golf Links. Official partners of the IJGT include Bridgestone Golf, Quagmire Golf, CHAMP Spikes, AB Golf Designs, Clazic Belts, morodZ, Sundog Eyewear, PURE Grips, The First Tee, Golfweek and International Junior Golf Academy.
To obtain more information about the IJGT, please visit www.IJGT.com or call (843) 785-2444
LECANTO, Fla. – Final round results of the IJGT Florida Junior conducted by the International Junior Golf Tour completed Oct. 13, 2013. Boys 15-19 Division: Black Tees – 6,746 yards, Par 72 (72.2/131). Boys 14 & Under Division: Gray Tees – 6,196 yards, Par 72 (69.8/127) Girls Division: Green Tees – 5,840 yards, Par 72 (74.2/137).
Weather: Sunny with temperatures in the Mid 80s, winds 10-15 m.p.h.
Sunny with temperatures in the Mid 80s, winds 5-10 m.p.h.
Florida Junior at Black Diamond Ranch
Black Diamond Ranch – Quarry Course
October 12-13, 2013
Boys 15-19 Division – (Black Tees) 6,746 yards, Par 72
1. Shogo Ito, Tokyo, Japan *76-72–148
2. Masato Yoshitsugu, Aichi, Japan *80-73–153
2. Ben Cohn, Guayaquil, Ecuador *76-77–153
4. Daiki Okada, Tokyo, Japan *80-74–154
5. Austin Maher, Bracebridge, Canada *83-73–156
5. Luigi D’Amico, Forli, Italy *78-78–156
7. Brian Baker, Pittsburgh, PA *79-78–157
7. Daniel Oh, Mapo-Gu, South Korea *77-80–157
9. Cameron Clair, Biddeford, ME *79-80–159
9. Carlos Fernandez, Madrid, Spain *79-80–159
11. Maurizio Debono, Basiguo, Italy *83-77–160
11. Nicholas Russell, Hilton Head Island, SC *82-78–160
13. Hao Yang Lin, Taichung. Taiwan *79-82–161
14. Takahiro Nojima, Shibuya-Ku, Japan *80-83–163
15. Connor Downey, Franklin, TN *84-80–164
16. Wataru Koguchi, Fukuoka, Japan *84-82–166
17. Diego Vega, Mexico City, Mexico *86-81–167
18. Alessandro Vedovi, Paris, France *91-77–168
18. Karan Arjun, Bangalore, India *86-82–168
18. Katsuya Asano, Kanagawa, Japan *82-86–168
18. Brett Inserra, Upper Saddle River, NJ *82-86–168
18. Brock Erwin, Muldrow, OK *81-87–168
23. Yong Sherng Hui, Taman Dagang, Malaysia *87-84–171
24. Kanawut Uenghiranpaisan, Bangkok, Thailand *88-86–174
24. Hazwan Asraff Bin Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia *89-85–174
26. Jack Fleming, Falkirk, Scotland *90-87–177
27. Owen Kuchinos, Antrim, NH *91-88–179
28. Tyler Berdy, Riverside, CA *95-90–185
29. Jerry Sung, Hong Kong, China *116-120–236
DID NOT FINISH
Jose Carlos Diaz Donato, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico *JWD
Sam Jones, Hinsdale, IL *89-JWD
Todd Glickfield IV, Bluffton, SC *89-JWD
Boys 14 & Under Division – (Gray Tees) 6,196 yards, Par 72
1. Karl Vilips, Melbourne, Australia *70-76–146
2. Brandon McBride, Bluffton, SC *84-82–166
3. Luis Sanchez, Xalapa, Mexico *85-88–173
4. Sebastiano Bogoni, Peschiera Borromeo, Italy *93-98–191
DID NOT FINISH
Jackson Skeen, Johnson City, TN, *DQ (Rule 6-6b)
Girls Division – (Green Tees) 5,840 yards, Par 72
1. Ana Paula Valdes, Morelia, Mexico *71-69–140
2. Rei Nakatani, Tokyo, Japan *77-75–152
3. Nikita Arjun, Bangalore, India *80-73–153
4. Jasmine Chee, Hong Kong, China *81-80–161
5. Sera Tadokoro, Osaka, Japan *86-83–169
6. Yuki Nakayama, Kawasakishi, Japan *84-87–171
7. Martina Gerbelova, Bratislava, Slovakia *107-98–205
8. Ammy Uenghiranpaisan, Bangkok, Thailand *109-109–218