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The Upstate Challenge at Locust Hill Preview

The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) will be headed to upstate New York for The Upstate Challenge at Locust Hill Country Club on September 28-29. Located in Pittsford, Locust Hill will be hosting its first IJGT Event. Top junior golfers from around the Northeast will be competing for national rankings and IJGT Merit Points.

Locust Hill is a private country club only five miles southeast from the city of Rochester. Seymour Dunn designed the course and it has been open since 1927. Locust Hill is an annual stop on the LPGA Tour, as they have hosted an event every year since 1977. From 2010-2013, Locust Hill was the site of the LPGA Championship, one of five major championships on the LPGA Tour. The 18-hole championship course plays as a par 72, with four sets of tees ranging from 5,628 yards to 6,615 yards.

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In the Boys 15-19 Division, William Thomson hopes to earn the victory in his home town. Thomson starred in the 2012-13 season, winning four events and finishing no lower than a tie for 9th in 14 events in the Boys 14 & Under Division. Thomson was the IJGT Boys 14 & Under National Player of the Year last season and has elected to move up to the 15-19 Division. This will be Thomson’s first IJGT Event of the 2013-14 season. Kevin Borowicz of Grand Island, N.Y., had a strong showing at The Upstate Challenge at Timber Banks last season, finishing 5th. Borowicz played in The Labor Day Classic at Hershey CC, finishing 14th. Jack Gianniny of Rochester, N.Y., was able to qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship this season and hopes to build off that performance. A number of players will be playing in their first IJGT Event including Nicklaus Curry of Cranberry Township, Pa., Evan Gaesser of Kendall, N.Y., and Colin Patrick of Newtown, Conn.

Sarah Bothner of Rochester, N.Y., won The Upstate Challenge last season, carding a final round 76 on her way to victory. Bothner played at Hershey CC earlier this season, finishing 5th, and she’ll be looking to defend her championship at Locust Hill. Bothner will face a number of challengers including Madison Braman of Loudonville, Pa., Chelsea Dantonio of Lancaster, N.Y., and Allyson Wentworth of Stewartsville, N.J. Braman is coming off a 5th place finish at the IJGT Philly Open at Jeffersonville, while Dantonio placed 4th at Hershey, and Wentworth was 6th at the Major Championship at Crystal Springs.

Danny Gianniny of Rochester, N.Y., and Chang Hyun Park of Pittsford, N.Y., highlight the Boys 14 & Under Division. Gianniny had two top-10 finishes last season, including a 4th place finish at the IJGT Junior at Wintonbury Hills. Gianniny has yet to play in an IJGT Event this season. Park will be making his IJGT debut and looks to make his trip to Locust Hill memorable.

Season’s first Major to be held at Crystal Springs’ Great Gorge

Crystal Springs’ Great Gorge Country Club in McAfee, NJ will play host to the first Major of the International Junior Golf Tour’s (IJGT) 2013-14 season on September 7-8. The two-day, 36-hole event is the first of six Major events during the course of the season and will showcase some of the top junior golfers from around the world. IJGT Merit points are doubled for this event.

Nestled in the rolling hills of northern New Jersey, Great Gorge is one of seven courses located at Crystal Springs Resort, creating a golf heaven for those who love the sport. Opened in 1970, the course was designed by George Fazio. Crystal Springs is only an hour drive outside of New York City.

The par-3 third on Great Gorge’s Railside course features artifacts from the railroad era in a formation reminiscent of Stonehenge.

Great Gorge hosts three distinct nine-hole courses. The Quarryside Course plays through rock outcroppings and diverse water hazards, the Lakeside Course features sparkling lakes and elevation changes, while the Railside course is the most scenic and forgiving of the three.

Finding trouble is not difficult on Great Gorge, as the three courses combine to have 72 bunkers and 15 water hazards. The Rail course plays the longest, at 3,405 yards from the back, with Lake coming in at 3,402 and Quarry at 3,308.

Allyson Wentworth will look to build off a strong 2012-13 season in which she recorded five top-10’s in six IJGT events. Sam Goldenring finished in the top-10 in all four events he competed in and will look to carry that momentum while making the jump to the Boys 15-19 division.

Crystal Springs last hosted an IJGT event in September of 2011. New Jersey’s Max Greyserman earned a two-shot victory in the Boys 15-19 division, Andrew Nappi of Pennsylvania won the Boys U-14 Division at +12 for the two days, and Camilla Vik of Greenwich, CT took home the title in the Girls Division.

IJGT hosts three Labor Day Weekend Events

The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) is set to host three tournament events over the Labor Day Weekend.  The first of those events is the Lowcountry Open at Oldfield Golf Club in scenic Okatie, South Carolina.

The home of the Lowcountry’s first Greg Norman designed golf course, Oldfield is known for its towering pine and oak trees as well as being a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

In the Boys 15-19 division, Germany’s Jan Schnieder takes a step up in competition while hoping to continue his success after winning two events along with four additional top- five finishes in the Boys 14 & Under Division last season. He will be challenged by Japan’s Shota Ozaki, who tasted victory at last year’s Georgia Open at Savannah Quarters.

In the Girls division, Japan’s Sera Tadokoro looks to build upon her win at last season’s IJGT Junior at Oyster Reef.

Oldfield Golf Course

Oldfield Golf Course.

The IJGT returns to Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pennsylvania for the Labor Day Classic at the East Course. Designed by George Fazio, the East Course is known for its elevated greens and vast number of bunkers that total over 100 in all.

The competition at the Labor Day Classic will be fierce, especially in the Boys 15-19 division. The division is highlighted by two golfers moving up from the Boys 14 & Under level in Thomas Dzwoncyzk and Gus Minkin.

Dzwoncyzk hopes to finally come out on top after four top-five finishes in his seven tour appearances last season, while Minkin won the College Classic at Penn State during the 2012-2013 season. He also accumulated six additional top-five finishes during the season.

In the Boys 14 & Under division, C.J. Hughes plans on continuing his success after recording a win at the Bridgestone Series at Longaberger event last season.  Hughes also tallied two top-five finishes and three top-ten finishes last season. Battling Hughes will be Evan Katz, who won last year’s IJGT Major Championship at Hershey.

The Girls division features a number of golfers who had success on the tour last season. Madison Braman posted two top-fives and two top tens, while Audrey Clawson had one top-five and two-top ten finishes in her three tour events. Allyson Wentworth also will be in the mix after posting one top-five and four top-ten finishes last season.

Lacey Bensing returns after posting a fourth-place finish in last season’s Labor Day Classic at Hershey.

18th hole at Hershey Country Club East Course.

Hershey Country Club East Course.

The final IJGT event of the weekend is the West Coast Kickoff at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona on September 1-2.

TPC Scottsdale plays host to the PGA TOUR’S Waste Management Phoenix Open, and features two fantastic courses that are open to the public year round. The Stadium Course is maintained at a PGA TOUR level year round, and is best known for “the Coliseum” at the 16th hole during the Waste Management Open.

The Champions Course is the newer of the two, having been built it in 2007. It is known for its rugged terrain, and a multitude of ravines and picturesque foothills throughout the course.

In the Boys 15-19 division, Phoenix native Jackson Whisenhunt looks to impress in his hometown after a top-five finish at last season’s PURE Grips Shootout at Troon North.

In the Boys 14 & Under division, Hawaii’s Adam Quant will try and repeat his tour success from last season, where he had a top-five finish in his lone tour appearance at the PURE Grips Shootout at Troon North.

The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course.

The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course.

North America Cup headed back with TEAM USA

The 11th annual North America Cup action completed with a round of singles matches with 14 heavily heated pairings fighting to bring the cup back to their country.  Below are the final round results from the event.

Round 3 – Singles Matches

                                                                                                                                                  Score

8:04 AM – Rhys Davies            Def.         Jake Leppek                                                4 & 2

8:12 AM – Mike May Jr.           Def.         Mitchell McPhail                                       2 Up

8:20 AM – Nick Russell            Def.          Conaire Kehoe                                           4 & 2

8:28 AM – Nolan Windsor         Def.         Evan Katz                                                    AS

8:36 AM – Trent Abraham         Def.          Mark Benevento                                       3 & 1

8:44 AM – Eamon Marone        Def.          John McKiernan                                      4 & 2

8:52 AM – Matt Cholod              Def.         Matthew Cleary                                          4 & 2

9:00 AM – Matt Barto                Def.         Mike Flegel                                                   1 Up

9:08 AM – Emily Doyle              Def.         Jany Martin                                                 5 & 3

9:16 AM – Marie Donnici            Def.         Allyson Wentworth                                  6 & 4

9:24 AM – Kahn Lee                   Def.         Grant Leppek                                                4 & 3

9:32 AM – Jason Chung             Def.         C.J. Hughes                                                 5 & 4

9:40 AM – Tristan Vandette        Def.         Will Thomson                                           3 & 2

9:48 AM – Nate Menon               Def.         Michael Lavorato                                       8 & 6

 

TOTAL SCORE: USA – 16     CANADA – 12

 

Top 3 Highlights:

3. Though the focus was on the 14 players that represented TEAM USA, the IJGT wanted to take a second to recognize the parents and families of the players that showed their support all week.  If it was not the patriotic attire many mothers had on, it was the proud fathers cheering on their sons and daughters, or the little sisters constantly supporting their brothers down the fairways.  As said by many parents this weekend, this was more than just another golf tournament. It was an event the whole family would never forget. Although the matches were close, stressful, and competitive, TEAM USA always had smiling faces along the way. Once again, the IJGT wants to thank the parents of TEAM USA for making this experience one of the best it has ever seen.

2. If you want to play as much golf as you can, as well as not lose a match in this Ryder Cup style format, just ask Nick Russell of Hilton Head Island, S.C., how to do it.  Russell played fabulous in all three of the rounds starting with the dramatic finish on No. 18 of the fourball format of the first round.  Russell and Mike May Jr. of Auburn N.Y., managed to face a good bit of odds and May chipped in to halve the match on the 18th.  In the second round, Russell was paired with Jake Leppek of Rocklin, Calif., and the two found themselves down four in the first four holes.  Again, Russell and his partner battled back to halve the match.  In the third round, Russell took it into his own hands during singles matches.  Very competitive all day, Russell decided to cut this just a little bit short and win the match 3 & 1 on the 17th hole.  In the three-day match, no one else managed to play as many holes, as well as not lose a match like Russell did.

1.  To be named playing captain of IJGT TEAM USA was quite an honor for Matt Barto of Leechburg, Pa.  Barto more than lived up to the title that was given to him, on and off the course.  Barto’s attitude and determination were a key to the success of TEAM USA.  This was put on display in his third round which was singles matches.  Barto found himself down early and a few people counted him out.  At No. 11 teeing ground he was asked how he was doing and gave a hand signal that he was four down.  The difference however was that when most players are four down, they are not smiling and carrying on a conversation with their opponent.  Barto also had no idea how important his score could have been seeing he had known that some matches had been lost, with TEAM CANADA narrowing the gap.  Barto’s calm attitude led to him finding his swing late.  He won four of the next five holes and was all square heading to the 17th tee.  Barto did not look back from here as he showed his true leadership by battling adversity and won his match 1-Up playing all 18 holes.

North America Cup – Round 2 Results

The 11th annual North America Cup action resumed play this morning with the always challenging foursome matches.  Below are the second round results accompanied by the top-three highlights from the second round.

Round 2 – Foursomes

8:04 AM – Marie Donnici & Jany Martin                 Def.         Emily Doyle & Allyson Wentworth              1 Up

8:12 AM – Will Thomson & Nate Menon               Def.         Khan Lee & Michael Lavorato                     5 & 4

8:20 AM – C.J. Hughes & Grant Leppek               Def.          Jason Chung & Tristan Vandette               4 & 2

8:28 AM – Jake Leppek & Nick Russell              Halved         Nolan Windsor & Mike Flegel                      AS

8:36 AM –Trent Abraham & Matt Cholod              Def.          Evan Katz & Mike May Jr.                         3 & 1

8:44 AM – Matthew Cleary & Mark Benevento     Def.          Conaire Kehoe & Mitchell McPhail              4 & 2

8:52 AM – Eamon Marone & Matt Barto               Def.         Rhys Davies & John McKiernan                 4 & 2

 

Total (two-day)  SCORE: USA – 10          CANADA – 4

 

Top-Three Highlights:

3. Starting off of the first tee is never easy at the North America Cup as a large crowd always accompanies you on the tee.  This did not seem to phase Matthew Cleary of Greenville, Del., and Mark Benevento of Somers Point, N.J.  Benevento hit first telling Cleary he would leave him 150 yards in on the second shot if everything went to plan.  Joking, Cleary responded, “How about 137 yards, I have the club for that.”  Benevento shrugged it off and proceeded to blast his drive down the center of the fairway.  As they both approached the ball they took a look at their range finder to find that it had actually landed 137 yards from the flagstick.  Cleary now under pressure from the remark he made on the first tee took the opportunity and hit a fantastic shot inside 10 feet.  Benevento proceeded to finish the story by draining the putt which left the pairing 1-up after the first hole.

2.  The Girls pairing made up of Allyson Wentworth of Stewartsville, N.J., and Emily Doyle of Horseheads, N.Y., did not start their day off as they had planned.  They found themselves 3-down after No. 5 and proceeded to fall into a little struggle as they made it to No. 11 now down by six with seven holes to play.  At this point the two young ladies decided it was time to go back to what they knew best and that was enjoying the game they love.  You quickly saw the smiles come to their faces and the shots get better.  After winning the 12th hole they halved the 13th hole and many spectators felt the match would quickly be over.  The American girls had other plans.  They tore through the next four holes winning every single one of them and the whole golf course was buzzing of the miraculous change of events.  Ultimately the Canadians won the match on No. 18, but not enough can be said about the Americans determination and will to never give up.

1.  The worst thing you can do in match play is dig yourself into a deep hole early in which most will ever get out of.  Jake Leppek of Rocklin, Calif., and Nick Russell of Hilton Head Island, S.C., sure did this by losing the first four holes of the day.  Give up? These young men never gave up and stormed back fighting off some great play by their Canadian counterparts.  They got an opportunity on No. 9 and ran with it.  They won holes Nos. 9-11 and were suddenly back in the match with the momentum behind them.  The Americans found themselves yet again with an unlucky break on the 16th and went down one.  As always there was no negative attitude and Russell was in the heat of it for the second day in a row.  They forced the play to 18 where they took advantage of an errant Canadian shot that found the left bunker.  The Americans found a way to come back and halve the hole when to most of the people watching thought they were down and out after losing the first four holes.

North America Cup – First Round Results

The 11th annual North America Cup kicked off this morning with an exciting round of fourball play at the exquisite Weston Golf & Country Club.  Below are the first round results accompanied by the top-three highlights from the first round.

Round 1 – Fourball

8:04 AM – Emily Doyle & Allyson Wentworth     Def.          Marie Donnici & Jany Martin                       2 & 1

8:12 AM – Will Thomson & C.J. Hughes             Def.         Tristan Vandette & Michael Lavorato            5 & 4

8:20 AM – Nate Menon & Grant Leppek             Def.         Jason Chung & Khan Lee                            2 & 1

8:28 AM – Trent Abraham & Matt Cholod           Def.         Jake Leppek & Matthew Cleary                    3 & 2

8:36 AM – Nick Russell & Mike May Jr.            Halved      Rhys Davies & John McKiernan                       AS

8:44 AM – Eamon Marone & Evan Katz              Def.          Nolan Windsor & Conaire Kehoe                 4 & 2

8:52 AM – Mark Benevento & Matt Barto            Def.         Mike Flegel & Mitchell McPhail                    5 & 4

 

FINAL ROUND 1 SCORE: USA – 5.5    CANADA – 1.5

 

Top 3 Highlights:

3. The Girls Division may have played as the toughest match all day.  TEAM USA made up of Emily Doyle of Horseheads, N.Y., and Allyson Wentworth of Stewartsville, N.J., found themselves down by two early in the round but fought back to give themselves a chance to win.  They got it back to all square at the turn with some spectacular shots.  TEAM CANADA battled all day but the girls were finally able to pull out a 2 & 1 victory.

2. Hole No. 3 at Weston is a very tough par-5 dogleg that turns directly up the hill to a very elevated green.  Eamon Marone of Belvidere, N.J., found himself in the deep rough with a terrible lie after his tee shot, but this didn’t stop Marone from going for the green in two.  180 yards from the flagstick does not seem easy from high rough and up a treacherous hill, but Marone made it look simple banking the ball off of the flagstick to leave him a tap in eagle and easy win for the hole.

1.  As all of the players except Nick Russell of Hilton Head Island, S.C., & Mike May Jr. of Auburn, N.Y., had finished their round, this pairing never gave up.  After hole No. 16 they were down two with two holes to play and things were not looking great for the Americans.  They managed to push the event to the final hole by winning the 17th.  The 18th tee was not what they expected as they both fired their shots down the left side and towards the trees.  May had no line at the hole but got the ball out to just in front of the green.  Russell made a miraculous shot and landed the ball within 15 feet of the flagstick which left everyone with the thought that his putt was going to be the difference.  With both teams, parents, and Weston members watching, May played his ball up towards the hole.  In fact, as the ball kept rolling, the crowd started getting excited when they realized it could go in. Finally the ball fell to the bottom of the cup to complete the fantastic comeback and to halve the match.  As TEAM USA stormed to jump on May, everyone in attendance felt a sense of unity for the 14 outstanding young men and women that make up IJGT TEAM USA.