HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — The International Junior Golf Tour hosted the IJGA Invitational at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C. on Dec. 14-15. The two-day, 36-hole Major Championship consisted of one round at the Ocean Course at Sea Pines and one round at Harbour Town Golf Links. The field featured 102 players representing 19 states and 18 countries. They were competing for national rankings and double IJGT Merit Points. This week’s Player’s of the Week for the Southeast Tour are Charlie Farrell of Hilton Head Island and Phyllis Tang of Hong Kong, China.
Competing in the Boys 14 & Under Division, Farrell faced off with 15 other talented junior golfers vying to capture his first IJGT victory. During the first round, Farrell battled the heavy rain and wind to put himself in a tie for fifth place. A round of 80, including a birdie on the intimidating par-3 11th at the Ocean Course, proved to be a strong score in the first round with the difficult conditions. Playing his final round at Harbour Town, Farrell knew he needed an impressive showing to move up the leaderboard. Playing in the second-to-last group of the day, Farrell again shot 80, which was the third lowest in his division that day, on one of the hardest golf courses in the country, and slide into third place. With this third place finish, Farrell cracked the top-3 for the first time in his young IJGT career. We look forward to seeing Farrell build off his accomplishments in future IJGT Events.
Phyllis Tang started off the tournament at the Ocean Course in the heavy rain. Tang was looking to add another top-5 finish to her impressive career, which already includes an IJGT champion and numerous top -5 finishes. Tang put together an impressive round of 76 during the first round but found herself in a tie for 7th. The final day brought added drama to the scene, as the Girls Division teed off at Harbour Town.Tang knew she had to post a good score to make up ground on the leaders and get into the top-5. She shot a final round score of 78, including four birdies, to jump into the top-5 of the final standings. As scores rose due to the difficulty of Harbour Town, Tang played consistently smart golf to shoot in the 70s for a second straight round. This is Tang’s 13th top-5 finish in her IJGT career and will look to add another top finish at the College Classic at Duke University in April.
West Coast Tour
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) also headed to Scottsdale, Ariz., to host the West Coast tour’s last event of the Fall season at the Scottsdale Open at Troon North on Dec. 14-15. Taking place on the club’s par-71 Pinnacle Course, the competitors experienced what it was like to play pure desert golf, with an array of natural ravines, foothills, bentgrass greens and giant granite boulders lurking at every turn. Further, the gorgeous weather, along with the beauteous backdrop of Arizona’s Pinnacle Peak mountains, were a gracious add-on for the golfers. The Player of the Week for the West Coast region is Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash.
The 13-year-old played up a division at the event and kept his own — an honor in itself — while posting a respectable outing in the Boys 15-19 Division. Highsmith tallied a tournament total of 74-81–155, and landed a tied for fourth place finish in his first-ever IJGT appearance. After a remarkable first round that consisted of eight pars and four birdies, including one that was sealed with a 30 foot putt on the par-5 No. 14, Highsmith found himself in third place going into the final round. Despite a rough start to the final round, he remained consistent, sinking six straight pars on Nos. 4-9 en route to a front-nine 38. He would finish the day with an 81, but his fourth place finish is not one to overlook.