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Carolina Classic champion Santiago Diaz featured in IJGT Photo of the Week – Jan. 29, 2015

The IJGT continued its spring season with another local tournament, the Carolina Classic at Colleton River, on January 25, 2015. Heavy rain cancelled day one of the tournament, so instead of playing 36 holes over two days, the junior golfers completed 27 holes in one day. The field competed for IJGT Merit Points and national rankings in windy but bright conditions. After the tournament, fans chose this shot of Santiago Diaz of Merida, Mexico, as the IJGT Photo of the Week.

Santiago Diaz Photo of the Week

After 27 holes, Diaz, Conor Byrne of Dublin, Ireland, and Trey Wren of Suffolk, Va., found themselves in a three-way tie for first in the Boys 15-19 Division with tournament totals of 110. The tie meant a playoff, which was played on the challenging par-4 18th hole.

Although he was nervous competing in his first career playoff, Diaz maintained his composure and defeated his competitors earning sole possession of first place. Byrne and Wren tied for second.

This is Diaz’s second IJGT championship win this season as he also won the Savannah Junior at The Landings in December. Congratulations to Diaz!

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

Fall Highlights and Spring Preview

Following a successful fall season full of low scores, beautiful courses and even holes-in-one, the IJGT is excited to kick off its spring season with the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National on January 17-18, 2015.

LOOKING BACK

During the fall season junior golfers had the opportunity to play a variety of world-renowned courses.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the IJGT hosted the Thanksgiving Day Classic at the ever-famous TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. This tournament was one of the few three-day, 54-hole events. The junior golfers performed admirably on both THE PLAYERS Stadium and Dye’s Valley courses. Xue Wen Luo of Haikou, China, edged out Ben Albin of Santa Fe, N.M., to win the Boys 15-19 Division. Shiso Go of Kanagawa, Japan, and Sam Ohno of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., tied for third. All of the top three finishers in the Boys 15-19 Division had a round at or below par and eights golfers across the three divisions carded eagles.

The Thanksgiving Day Classic at TPC Sawgrass saw not one but two holes-in-one! In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Charles Larcelet of Geraudot, France, had an ace on the par-3 hole No. 14 on the Valley Course. In the Boys 15-19 Division, Chandler McDowell of Springbrook, Canada, carded a hole in one on the par-3 hole No. 8 on the Stadium Course.

Playing the iconic par-3 17th hole on THE PLAYERS Stadium course was a highlight of the fall season for many of the young golfers.

Dormie Club, No. 43 on the 2015-2016 edition of Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, played home to the MAJOR Championship at Dormie Club. Despite a course that proved to be challenging for the entire field, Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., carded an impressive nine birdies during the tournament. Ritwik Jain of New Delhi, India, and Tennoshin Ogawa of Ichinomiya-shi, Japan, both had bogey-free streaks that lasted 16 holes.

The final event of the fall, the IJGA Invitational, was held at Sea Pines Resort where junior golfers had the opportunity to play both the Ocean Course and Harbour Town Golf Links. The latter ranked No. 19 on Golf Digest’s 2015-2016 list of America’s 199 Greatest Public courses and ranked in the top 50 of Golf.com’s 2014 list of Top 100 Courses in the U.S. It is also the host of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

LOOKING FORWARD

The spring season features another selection of top-ranked courses. The first three tournaments are local to the Hilton Head/Bluffton area. On January 24-25, 2015, during the Carolina Classic at Colleton River, junior golfers and their families will have a chance to explore the host of the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur. The Pete Dye course, where the Carolina Classic will be played, offers unobstructed views of Port Royal Sound and the Atlantic Ocean from 11 of its 18 holes.

The IJGT will travel to the west coast for the MAJOR Championship at Presidio Golf Course in San Francisco, Calif., on February 7-8, 2015. The Presidio Golf Course is one of the oldest courses on the west coast and has been a national historic landmark since 1962. An Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, it is located within a national park.

On Valentine’s Day weekend (February 14-15, 2015), the IJGT will be traveling to Kiawah Island to host the South Carolina Open. The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is ranked No. 20 on the 2015-2016 edition of Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses list and third on their America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. This course was the first designed for a specific event, the 1991 Ryder Cup. Known for its challenging and unpredictable winds and spectacular ocean views, the Ocean course is No. 25 on Golf.com’s 2014 list of Top 100 Courses in the U.S.

The Major Championship at Duke University in Durham, N.C., on March 28-29, 2015, provides an excellent opportunity for junior golfers investigating college golf programs to explore Duke as well as the nearby University of North Carolina.

The Northeast Tour of the IJGT will host the Pennsylvania Open at Nemacolin on April 11-12, 2015. The junior golfers will have the chance to play both the PGA Tour-tested Mystic Rock and the par-70 The Links. Mystic Rock placed No. 60 on the 2015-2016 Golf Digest America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.

The following weekend, the Northeast Tour will travel to The Architects Golf Course in Lopatcong, N.J., for The Architects Cup.

On April 25-26, 2015, the IJGT will host a Major Championship at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, Md. Bulle Rock sits at No. 45 on Golf Digest’s 2015-2016 list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.

The spring season will culminate with the highly anticipated Bridgestone Golf Tournament of Champions at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The three-day, 54-hole event will take place on May 23-25, 2015. On the evening of May 24 the IJGT will announce its All-IJGT Team and Player of the Year honors for each division at the Night of Champions.

Juniors in all divisions will be competing for AJGA Performance Stars and national rankings. In addition, the winner of the Boys 15-19 Division will receive an exemption to the 2015 International Junior Masters tournament.

Well wishes to all of our juniors as we reflect graciously on the fall and welcome the spring. Good luck to all!

Carolina Classic at Colleton River – Tour Preview

Continuing with southeast events in the early portion of the spring season, the IJGT will host the Carolina Classic at Colleton River, host of the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur, on January 24-25, 2015. The two-day, 36-hole event will be played on the Pete Dye course in Bluffton, S.C. When speaking about his course at Colleton River, Dye once said, “This is the best course I have ever built.” The course offers unobstructed views of Port Royal Sound and the Atlantic Ocean from 11 of its 18 holes. Its six sets of tees stretch from 5105 yards to 7365 yards. Much of the front nine plays through thick forest before opening up to a links-type course overlooking Port Royal Sound and the Atlantic Ocean for the remaining nine holes.

Colleton River has hosted eight USGA qualifiers since 2005 including those for three U.S. Opens, four U.S. Amateurs and one U.S. Senior Open.

If you’ve ever seen the Robert Redford film The Legend of Bagger Vance, Colleton River may look familiar as many of the film’s golf scenes were shot there.

The 12th and 13th at Colleton River Plantation. Site of the 2015 US Junior Amateur.

The 12th and 13th at Colleton River Plantation. Site of the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur.

Shiso Go of Kanagawa, Japan, tops the list of players to watch in the Boys 15-19 Division of the Carolina Classic at Colleton River. Go has won three tournaments this season: the IJGT College Series at NC State, the MAJOR Championship at Dormie Club and, most recently, the IJGA Invitational at Sea Pines. He will look to build on his lead in the Tour Rankings.

The last time Tennoshin Ogawa of Ichinomiya-shi, Japan, played Colleton River in a tournament, he carded a 2-under 70 on 18 holes to win the IJGT Junior at Colleton River in September of 2014. Ogawa currently sits at No. 4 in the Tour Rankings.

Despite two top-three finishes this fall, Brett Inserra of Upper Saddle River, N.J., is still looking for his first IJGT victory of the year in the Boys 15-19 Division.

In the Girls Division, Rei Nakatani of Tokyo, Japan, will look to improve on last year’s third place finish in Carolina Classic at Colleton River. Nakatani is coming off of a T5 finish at the IJGA Invitational at Harbour Town Golf Links in December of 2014.

If you  haven’t yet registered for the Carolina Classic at Colleton River, you have until January 20, 2015, to do so.

To register or for more information about the Carolina Classic at Colleton River, click here.