LUTZ, Fla. – The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) conducted the Winter Shootout at TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz, Fla., on Jan. 11-12, 2014. This was the first tournament of the new year for the IJGT staff, and it kicked off the season with a bang. The course staff was most helpful when the IJGT staff arrived at the venue, and the event could not have occurred at a better location. Everyone was very pleased with the excellent shape of the course for the January weather at TPC Tampa Bay. This week’s Player of the Week honors went to Keshav Sharma of New Delhi, India, and Jasmine Chee of Hong Kong, China.
The weather played a prominent role in the tournament as high winds of 15+mph ruled the first 18 holes. On the final round of the event, the rain from the night before left some standing water in the low areas of the course.
Sharma (left) carded a score of 79 in the first round, good enough for a tie with Parker Gillam of Cary, N.C., after battling tough conditions with winds up to 25 mph. Sharma started his round off nicely with three consecutive pars, and closed in equally impressive fashion, scoring par on five of his last six holes. Sharma’s second round was highlighted by a birdie on the par-3 No. 6, one of only four birdies on the hole throughout the weekend. Despite having to fight off a bee sting late in the second round, Sharma recorded a second round score of 83 and tournament total of 162 left him in a tie with Tennoshin Ogawa of Ichinomiya-shi, Japan. Ogawa bested Sharma in the playoff; however, it is his third top-10 finish and the best of his IJGT career.
In the Girls Division, Chee (left), who is battling a knee injury, played through the pain Friday and Saturday. She came into the first day ready to play through any conditions and stayed very consistent throughout her round. Like many golfers, Chee has superstitions, including always using a blue Sharpie to mark her golf ball before each round. She was up to the challenge in the final round, even with the wet conditions. Her round got off to a slow start, but she stayed tough and completed all 36 holes for the tournament. She avoided any large numbers on her card, finishing strong with eight pars on the day. We will see her again in her next upcoming tournament at the Carolina Classic at Colleton River Plantation on January 25-26th. Colleton River Plantation is the site of the 2015 US Junior Amateur.