Sample, Merrell and Puchales featured in the IJGT Photo of the Week – Sept. 25, 2014


The IJGT’s Northeast Tour traveled to Buena, N.J., to host the IJGT Jersey Open at Buena Vista on September 21-22, 2014. Despite ideal temperatures in the high 70s and calm winds, the golf course proved to be challenging with unforgiving bunkers and many dog-legs. Juniors competed for national rankings and IJGT merit points.

Photo of the Week (Buena Vista) September 25, 2014

The fans have spoken and this week’s Northeast Tour Photo of the Week features Luke Sample of New York, N.Y. Playing in his first IJGT event of the season, Sample took the first-place trophy home in the Boys 14 & Under Division. His two-day total of 167 was highlighted by 17 pars, which was the most in the division, and one birdie.


In the first College Series Tournament of the 2014-2015 season, the IJGT Southeast Tour headed to Raleigh, N.C., to host the IJGT College Series at NC State held at Lonnie Poole Golf Course on September 21-22, 2014. Ranked No. 27 on the list of best campus courses by Golfweek, Lonnie Poole proved to challenge juniors during round one, but allowed them to shine most and finish strong in round two. Juniors competed for national rankings and IJGT merit points.

Photo of the Week (NC State) September 25, 2014

The results are in and this week’s Southeast Tour Photo of the Week features International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) Golf Instructors Dan Merrell of Marlton, N.J., and Alex Puchales of Caguas, Puerto Rico. Merrell joined IJGA in 2011. Since that time, he has had students compete in Player’s Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior tournaments. Puchales joined IJGA in 2010 and has had students win in State Junior Championships, as well as having students qualify and appear in USGA Junior Championships. Both Merrell and Puchales are avid supporters of the IJGT and enjoy seeing their students and all other juniors compete and grow at these events.

Congratulations to Sample, Merrell and Puchales on being chosen for this week’s Photo of the Week!

Don’t forget – each week we have a Photo of the Week and it could be you! Be sure to check the IJGT Facebook after each event. Like, share and comment on your favorite photos and based on the point system below, the photo with the most points will then be featured as that week’s Photo of the Week!

1 point – per ‘Like’
2 points – per comment (let’s keep these positive!)
3 points – per share

Phuchanbanchob, Gai among those receiving IJGT Player of the Week honors – Sept. 21, 2014


The IJGT’s Northeast Tour traveled to the Buena Vista Country Club in Buena, N.J., to host the IJGT Jersey Open. Weather for the event was ideal with temperatures in the high 70s and calm winds. Despite near-perfect playing conditions, the golf course was challenging nonetheless with unforgiving bunkers and many dog-legs. The IJGT is proud to award this week’s Northeast Player of the Week honors to Stephen Gai of Westport, Conn., and Madison Braman of Loudonville, N.Y.

gaiGai may not have opened the tournament with his best round, but he bounced back in round two. He posted a 78 in the second round, improving on his first round by nine strokes. Gai carded his 78 with the help of 10 pars and two birdies on holes No. 7 and 15. Gai’s 78 was the third best round of the day in the Boys 15-19 Division. His impressive play in the final round drove him up the leaderboard to finish in a tie for fifth with Marshall Clemens from Weston, Mass.



braman, madisonBraman’s first round play had her in pursuit of a comeback on divisional leader Linda Wang. Wang’s steady play in the final round kept Braman just out of reach, but Braman fought until the end which helped her earn the Northeast’s Girls’ Player of the Week honors. In the second round, Braman began with a birdie on her first hole of the day. She added two more birdies on her back nine on holes No. 12 and 14, and posted par on eight additional holes. Her spectacular play resulted in a final round 77, which also earned her the Clazic Belts Low Final Round award in the division.


The IJGT held its first College Series Tournament of the 2014-15 season at Lonnie Poole Golf Course at North Carolina State University the weekend of September 21-22, 2014, as part of the Southeast Tour.  The Golfweek No. 27 ranked campus course in 2014, played tough during round one but allowed juniors to shine most in round two. Following the event, Ryan Pongrac of Freehold, N.J., and Cake Phuchanbanchob of Chiang Mai, Thailand, earned the Southeast’s Player of the Week honors.

pongrac - CopyAfter shooting a final round score of 3-under 69, Pongrac earns this week’s Southeast Player of the Week honors in the boys divisions. Pongrac got off to a slow start in round one, but bounced back by shooting an 85 in round two including four birdies on his front nine and two more on the back.  Pongrac’s second round 69 gave him a share of the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award and a top-10 finish.




10264779_10154171553715026_2741195399204324369_nPhuchanbanchob nabbed Player of the Week in the Girls Division.  She got off to a hot start on day two, making a run at the championship with three birdies and an eagle to finish her round with a 2-under 70 which was also the low round for the tournament in the Girls Division.

Phuchanbanchob’s stellar final round was enough to force a sudden death playoff with Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., starting on par-5, No. 1.  The two played hole No. 1 and Phuchanbanchob’s unfavorable drive off the tee landed her left of the fairway, while Whaley bombed her drive down the right side landing it in the rough just off of the fairway.  Phuchanbanchob was forced to lay up to the 150-yard mark just on top of the hill giving her a desirable angle into the green. Whaley played her second through two tall trees landing her just short of the greenside bunker.  Whaley chipped up onto the green within ten feet of the flagstick, while Phuchanbanchob’s chip was not enough to rally for the win. Nonetheless, Phuchanbanchob’s effort was enough for second and Player of the Week honors.

The IJGT wishes our four outstanding juniors the best of luck in their future competitions and we look forward to seeing them soon!

Jersey Open at Buena Vista Country Club – Final results

Benevento is on the mark as he wins the Jersey Open

Wang earns first career victory in Girls Division

BUENA, N.J. –The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) hosted the Jersey Open at Buena Vista Country Club on September 20-21, 2014. The event was the third tournament of the Northeast Tour and the first of two in New Jersey for the 2014-2015 season. Each junior competed for IJGT Merit Points, national rankings and an invite to the IJGT’s Bridgestone Golf Tournament of Champions to be played at Grand Cypress Resort on May 23-25, 2014.

Benevento Buena VistaMark Benevento from Somers Pt., N.J., the winner of the Boys 15-19 Division, led from the start. His opening round of 77 set the pace from the beginning and he never looked back.  He set the tone right away in the final round as he birdied the first hole of the day. Over the course of the tournament, Benevento made six birdies and 20 pars.

The New Jersey native stated, “Coming into today I just wanted to hit fairways and keep it in play.”

Benevento had to be on his game, because Nick Rencis of Long Valley, N.J., shot a very impressive round on a difficult golf course.  For his second round, Rencis shot a 75, two off the pace from Benevento.  Overall, Rencis shot a 157, to finish in second place.  He made his charge on round two with four birdies to lead the division for the day. Liam McGrath of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., took third place with a tournament total of 160.

Sample Buena VistaLuke Sample from New York, N.Y., took the first-place trophy home in the Boys 14 & Under Division after shooting a two-day total of 167.  His opening round of 82 led the Boys 14 & Under Division, and Sample closed it out with a score of 85 on the last day.  Sample had 17 pars which was the most in the division.

“The course was in great shape,” commented Sample in his post-round interview.

Simon Asadoorian resident of Richboro, Pa., finished in second place.  He improved on his opening round score by two strokes to shoot a tournament total of 178. Third place went to Rich Jones of Moriches, N.Y., who finished with a tournament total of 197.

In the Girls Divison, Linda Wang of Fresh Meadows, N.Y., shot the best round out of any player in the tournament by shooting an opening-round even-par 72.  Wang had 26 pars and four birdies for the tournament to give her the win at Buena Vista Country Club.

Wang Buena VistaWang attributed her solid play to her putting.

“I wanted to come out here today and make putts,” said Wang.

The best round on day two, went to Madison Braman from Loudonville, N.Y.  She shot a second-round score of 77, which earned her second place. Braman had three birdies on the day, including a span of two birdies in three holes.  Wang opening round par was too much for Braman to overcome as she won the tournament by seven strokes. Micaela Crines of Wall, N.J., finished in third place with a tournament total of 178.
All three players wanted to thank the staff and the competetors after the round was over.

“Without the other competitors this tournamnet would not happen and I want to thank them, I really enjoyed playing this course,” said a happy Wang after the tournament was over.

The IJGT Northeast Tour will head to Brook Lea Country Club for the IJGT Upstate Challenge. To sign up for this event, or others, visit or call (843) 785-2444.

About the IJGT

The IJGT provides exceptional junior golfers with the opportunity to develop and showcase their competitive skills while setting high standards to preserve the traditions and integrity of the game.  As a tour that operates primarily throughout the academic year, the IJGT hosts approximately 60 tournaments annually. In addition, the IJGT hosts three international events.   Each event provides multi-day competition for junior golfers of all skill levels ages 9-19.  Players representing 45 states and 43 countries around the world regularly compete in events at venues such as TPC Sawgrass, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Kiawah Island Resort, and Harbour Town Golf Links.  Official partners of the IJGT include Bridgestone Golf, Bagboy, CHAMP Spikes, Clazic Belts, AB Golf Designs, The First Tee, Golfweek, morodZ, PURE Grips, and the International Junior Golf Academy.

To obtain more information about the IJGT, please visit or call (800) 792-9143.

Buena, N.J. – Final Results of the Jersey Open at Buena Vista Country Club conducted by the International Junior Golf Tour on September 20-21, 2014. Boys 15-19 Division: Black Tees – 6,970 yards, Par 72 (74.3/133). Boys 14 & Under Division: White Tees – 6,290 yards, Par 72 (70.3/127). Girls Division: Green Tees – 5,979 yards, Par 72 (74.4/129).

International Junior Golf Tour
IJGT Jersey Open at Buena Vista Country Club
Buena, N.J.
September 20-21, 2014
Boys 15-19 Division- Black Tees, 6,970 yards, Par 72
1. Mark Benevento, Somers Pt., NJ *77-73–150
2. Nick Rencis, Long Valley, NJ *82-75–157
3. Liam McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, PA *78-82–160
4. Gregory Szrom, Egg Harbor Township, NJ *79-83–162
5. Stephen Gai, Westport, CT *87-78–165
5. Marshall Clemens, Weston, MA *85-80–165
7. Ryan Zinsky, Voorhees, NJ *83-83–166
8. Thomas Dzwonczyk, North Abington Township, PA *89-86–175
9. Luke Sliwowski, Sewell, NJ *89-87–176
10. Jake Ferry, Wildwood Crest, NJ *91-89–180
11. Jake Sitzler, Burlington, NJ *97-89–186
12. Adam Asadoorian, Richboro, PA *118-97–215

Boys 14 & Under Division- White Tees, 6,290 yards, Par 72
1. Luke Sample, New York, NY *82-85–167
2. Simon Asadoorian, Richboro, PA *90-88–178
3. Rich Jones, Moriches, NY *94-103–197
4. Mason Asadoorian, Richboro, PA *109–107–216

Girls Division- Green Tees, 5,979 yards, Par 72
1. Linda Wang, Fresh Meadows, NY *72-80–152
2. Madison Braman, Loudonville, NY *82-77–159
3. Micaela Crines, Wall, NJ *89-89–178
4. Michelle Krameisen, Spring Lake, NJ *102-99–201


Jersey Open at Buena Vista Country Club – Round one recap

The IJGT kicked off the third tournament of the Fall Series with the IJGT Jersey Open at Buena Vista Country Club in Buena, N.J. The tournament teed off in the midday on Saturday September 20, 2014. In review, below are the division leaders’ rounds, in numbers.

The Boys 14 & Under Division, Luke Sample of New York, N.Y., leads after round one. His round in numbers:

82 – His round-one score

40– Luke carded a 4-over-par back-nine score, the best back nine in the age group

9– The number of pars in his first round, including a par streak of three in a row on holes Nos. 12-14


Linda Wang of Fresh Meadows, N.Y., leads the Girls Division. Her round in numbers:

72 – first-round score of even-par

34– score of 2-under-par on the back nine

15 – The number of pars and birdies in the first round


The Boys 15-19 Division is led by Mark Benevento of Somers Pt., N.J., His round in numbers:

77 – Mark shot a 77 in his opening round

37– His 1-over-par score on the back nine, including birdies on Nos. 10, 13, and 17

7 – The number of pars in his opening round


The final round at Buena Vista Country Club will take place, September, 21, 2014, with tee times starting at 11:57 a.m. For full results from round one of the Fall Series at Buena Vista Country Club, click here. Keep up to date with up-to-the-minute updates and other news by following on @IJGT Twitter.