HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) started off their Summer Series this week with an exciting two-round tournament at the challenging Oyster Reef Golf Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C. This Rees Jones design course is testing enough with tough greens and narrow fairways. Go ahead and throw severe humidity and a few pop-up thunderstorms into the mix, and this surely made for an even more testing event. However, Phubodi Sirisilp of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Kayla Kozak of North Myrtle Beach, S.C., were able to battle all elements and earn themselves Player of the Week honors.
Sirisilp was participating in his first Summer Series tournament with the IJGT, concluding the first round at a 9-over-par 81, only one shot back from leader Daiki Okada of Tokyo, Japan. Even still, this is not exactly where Sirisilp wanted to be, but knew that with some extra practice on the putting green he could make a run in the final round, ultimately hoping for victory Wednesday. The extra practice helped—Sirisilp was able to string together 12 pars and an impressive birdie on No. 5 en route to a final-round score of 5-over-par 77, a 158 total tournament score, and a tie for first place with fellow competitor Yong Sherng Hui of Taman Dagang, Malaysia. Although Sirisilp played exceptionally well, Hui ultimately came out victorious in the playoff. However, Sirisilp’s outstanding course performance, with the ability to withstand the different elements thrown at him is impressive. We congratulate Sirisilp on his exceptional performance in his first ever IJGT Event, and look forward to seeing him in future tournaments to come.
In the Girls Division, Kozak was also just behind leader Sera Tadokoro of Osaka, Japan going into round two. Kozak spent quite a bit of time on the range warming up to prepare for her final round, and with good reason. Being only 14-years-old and hitting the ball well past her fellow competitors was an advantage to Kozak. Her determination and focus to get up and down around the greens, as well as her focus on putting helped. 10 pars and a fantastic birdie on No. 17 allowed Kozak to shoot a 7-over-par 79, a ten stroke improvement from Tuesday. Kozak’s performance earned her second place at Oyster Reef, with a total tournament score of 168. Kayla will be attending the International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) as a freshman this fall, and will become a regular smiling face on the course for the IJGT. We look forward to seeing her at future tournaments.