VICTOR, N.Y. – The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) hosted their eighth event of the Northeast tour May 4-5 at Ravenwood Golf Club. The weather could not have been better this weekend. There was not a cloud in the sky and temperatures soared into the mid 70s. Ravenwood Golf Club was in top notch condition. The greens rolled true, providing an opportunity for the players to card low scores. Two players stood out this weekend and came ready to play. This week’s Highlighted Players of the Week winners are Ezekiel Zhao of Annapolis, Md., and Molly Balbierz of Hamburg, N.Y.
Zhao competed in just his fourth tournament with the IJGT this past weekend in the Boys 15-19 Division. Zhao fired a 3-over-par 75 on Saturday, trailing the leader by one stroke heading into Sunday’s round. Zhao knew he has to go low on Sunday’s round to have a chance in placing in the top three. He did just that. Zhao had three birdies on the front nine and a birdie on the back nine. He went on to shoot a 4-over-par 76 for a combined total of 151. This was Zhao’s first top-three finish with the IJGT, earning him this week’s Highlighted Player of the Week honors. Congratulations Ezekiel on a great performance at Ravenwood Golf Club, and hope to see you in future tournaments with the IJGT.
In the Girls Division, Balbierz of Hamburg, N.Y., earned player of the week honors. Balbierz has played in two tournaments with us this season, finishing in the top 10 in each event. On Saturday, she showed consistency in her round making nine pars and carding 14-over-par 86. Balbierz was down 8 strokes going into the final round, but was determined to make a run at the title.
The conditions were even better on Sunday and Balbierz got off to a fast start. She made par on the first three of five holes and felt she had a chance for a top-three finish. Balbierz stayed very consistent throughout the day with nine pars and nine bogeys. Although she came up short of an IJGT title, her outstanding play and no double-bogeys or worse on the final day helped her in carding a 9-over-par 81. Her final score of 86-81—167 earned her a tie for second place with Kristen Bromley of Pittsford, N.Y. We would like to congratulate Molly Balbierz on a great weekend and wish her nothing but the best in her future in golf.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — The International Golf Tour (IJGT) hosted the AHEAD Open at Bear Creek on May 4-5, 2013. Bear Creek Golf Club offered juniors a test with the fast greens and narrow fairways. Along with a demanding course, golfers were challenged by rain during their final round. Play was suspended for two hours due to a heavy downpour in the morning. After the delay, players still were faced with on-and-off rain throughout the afternoon. Shogo Ito of Tokyo, Japan, and Isidora Quevedo of Santiago, Chile, were both able to stay focused with the difficult conditions earning them Player of the Week honors.
In the Boys 15-19 Division, Ito got off to a great start during his first round by making birdie on the first hole. He carded an 81 on Saturday and was nine strokes behind the lead in a tie for seventh place. During his final round, Ito made a run of three birdies on holes three through five. He carded a front-nine 35, en route to shooting 1-over-par 73. His score on Sunday earned him the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award. Ito moved into third place for the AHEAD Open at Bear Creek after his impressive final round. His finish this past weekend was his fourth top 10 of the Spring Season. The IJGT Staff looks forward to seeing Ito at the Bridgestone Tournament of Champions on May 25-27.
In the Girls Division, Quevedo came into the event looking for another strong finish after earning third place in the Shamrock Shootout at Palmetto Hall. Quevedo spent her 17th birthday competing in the first round of the event. Her round was highlighted by birdies on holes one and three. After carding a first-round 79, Quevedo was in third place, four strokes behind the leader. On Sunday, Quevedo made birdies on the holes Nos. 5 and 12 and shot another round of 79. Her consistency over the weekend earned her third place. Her finish at the AHEAD Open at Bear Creek was her fifth top-five of the year. The IJGT Staff looks forward to seeing more great play from Quevedo in the future.
West Coast Tour
During last weekend’s IJGT Reno Junior at ArrowCreek Country Club, players were forced to take on the difficult Legend Course in the midst of weather conditions found in all four seasons. First-round scores were higher mostly due to the howling winds that added an extra bite to the challenging Arnold Palmer designed Legend Course. But as much as ArrowCreek showed it’s teeth over the weekend, Patrick Phelps and Alice Duan of Reno, Nev., were up for the challenge.
Phelps carded a first-round score of 90 and could have easily chalked up the performance to the windy conditions and difficult course management situations. Instead, he came back in the final round to score an outstanding 2-over-par 74. Phelps’s score on Sunday is even more remarkable due in part to the bitter cold, gusting winds, and brief moments of rain that were present throughout the day. Phelps’s Sunday scorecard included birdies on three of five par 5s, and nine-hole scores of 37-37 after going 49-41 on Saturday.
Phelps’s ability to come back after a disappointing first round and improve a whopping 16 strokes earned him a third-place finish and Player of the Week honors at the IJGT Reno Junior.
Duan, playing in her second IJGT event, showed great course management, maturity, and poise on her way to a first-place finish at the Reno Junior at ArrowCreek Country Club. Duan’s first round score of 5-over-par 77 put her atop the leaderboard, and helped secure the victory despite a difficult final round. Duan carded three birdies in that round and handled the par 3s with confidence. This is Duan’s first tour victory this season, after taking eighth place at the IJGT Golden Gate Junior back in February. The IJGT hopes to see Duan at more events in the future.