Kotaro Murata and Ying-Ting Hsieh earn Player of the Year for Respective divisions at Grand Cypress
Orlando, FL: The International Junior Golf Tour began its end-of-season celebration with the opening round of the annual Bridgestone Golf Tournament of Champions at Grand Cypress Resort. Players from all over the world gathered are competing in the three-day stroke-play event that gives winners a number of top honors, including World Amateur Golf Rankings, AJGA Performance stars and other national golf rankings.
As part of the international event, the Players of the Year were crowned from the 2017-2018 season. Compiled from the IJGT Merit Point system, the players receiving the crowning achievement were Kotaro Murata, Ying-Ting Hsieh and Muhamad Izwan Zaini.
Kotaro Murata takes home the top performer of the year in the Boys 15-19 Division after a stellar season that saw two victories (Island Open at Dolphin Head, Orange Lake Open at the Reserve at Orange Lake) and a number of Top 3 finishes (Faldo Series S.C. Championship at Parris Island, Faldo Series S.C. Championship at Palmetto Hall).
The native of Matsuyania City, Ehime, Japan and a current student at the International Junior Golf Academy experienced a number of stellar rounds over the course of the season, the most memorable in his eyes was his final round at the inaugural Faldo Series U.S. Grand Final at Bella Collina. Murata was able to storm back into contention during the final round with a low-round of 63. This gave Murata a third-place finish at the inaugural international event.
Murata will look to retain his title again next year, as he is a graduate of the 2019 class.
It was truly an encore performance over the 2017-2018 season for Ying-Ting Hsieh, as she takes home the Player of the Year honors for the Girls Division for the second-consecutive season.
Hsieh, a resident of Huantan Township, Taiwan and current student at Bishops gate Golf Academy was dominant in her back-to-back title over the season. A season where she accomplished 6 victories (Florida Junior at Falcons Fire, Central FL. Classic at LBV., Faldo Series U.S. Grand Final, Orlando Shootout, and Faldo Series FL. Championship), and earned a Top-3 finish at the Faldo Series S.C. Championship (Parris Island). As noted, one of the victories for Hsieh was at the inaugural Faldo Series U.S. Grand Final, as she took home first-place in the Girls U-16 division. This gave Hsieh the opportunity to compete on the world stage as she competed in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, a truly memorable experience that she hopes to achieve once again in the Fall of 2018.
In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Muhamad Izwan Zaini took home the top honors as Player of the Year in the respective category.
Izwan Zaini, a former resident of Seri Kembangan, Malaysia a current student at the International Junior Golf Academy, was able to take home the top honors after an impressive Spring portion of the season. Izwan Zaini was inside the winners circle numerous times with multiple top-three finishes (Georgia Open at Sav. Harbor, Central FL. Classic, South Carolina Open, Orange Lake Open, Faldo Series S.C. Champ., and Faldo Series F.L. Champ.). The first victory of the 2017-2018 came at the last scheduled event of the season, as he took home first-place at the Lowcountry Championship at Dolphin Head.
The Boys 15-19 Division All-Tournament Team for 2017-2018 is as follows:
- Kotaro Murata – Matsuyania City, Ehime, Japan
- Alex Lamarca- Westwood, NJ
- Luis Martinez- Caracus, Venezuela
- Dongjin Park- Seoul, South Korea
- Jairus Gaines- Baltimore, MD
- Jaden Weisman- Malvern, PA
- John Daly II- Clearwater, FL
- Jonathan Griz- Hilton Head Island, SC
- Aryaman Mohan- Lusaka, Zambia
- Jack Hughes- Snowmass Village, CO
The Girls Division All-Tournament Team for 2017-2018 is as follows:
- Ying-Ting Hsieh- Huantan Township, Taiwan
- Chiara Arya- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Maria Fedorowycz- Kyiv, Ukraine
- One Kashima- Tochigi, Japan
- Fiona Khaing- Yangon, Myanmar
- Sophia Burnett- Bluffton, SC
- Mary Kate Norcross- Chambersburg, PA
- Kristine Yin- Zhejiang, China
- Maria Fernanda Sosa- Monterrey, Mexico
- Sae Saito- Tokyo, Japan
The Boys 14 & Under Division All-Tournament Team for 2017-2018 is as follows:
- Muhamad Izwan Zaini- Seri Kembangan, Malaysia
- Eugene Kang- Seongnam, South Korea
- Zoravar Singh Star- Punjab, India
- Lorenzo Sanz- Glen Arm, MD
- Akmetzhan Tagashev- Astana, Kazakhstan
- Harrison Freeze- Plano, TX
- Eduard Tor Clemente- Spain
- Jaden Han- Mahwah, NJ
- Andrew Liu- Clinton, NJ
- T10. Sumaer Dhalla- Princeton, NJ
- T10. Jaivear Chahal- Princeton, NJ
The second-round of the Bridgestone Golf Tournament of Champions will start tomorrow morning with an 8 a.m. shotgun start on the New Course at Grand Cypress.
For full results and a look at the leaderboard from Round 1, follow the Link Here.
To view the full standings from the 2017-2018 IJGT Merit Points, follow the Link Here.
Make sure to follow all of the action here at IJGT.com, as well as all of our social media accounts.
Follow us on Twitter @IJGT, on Instagram @IJGT_, as well as Facebook at International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT).