Ralph Wins First IJGT Event at Presidio
Sborov Secures Major in Girls Division
SAN FRANCISCO – The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) traveled out west this past weekend to host their second Major tournament of the Spring 2013 Season – the IJGT Golden Gate Junior Major Championship at the beautiful Presidio Golf Course. As one of the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi River, this hilly and scenic Par-72 course played short, but difficult, tipping out at roughly 6400 yards in total. Although sunny for the entire weekend, 15-20 m.p.h. winds were not favorable for the junior golfers when dealing with the elevation changes around the golf course.
In the Boys 15-19 Division, scores averaged in the mid 80’s after round one, with the leader Nicholas Turner of Reno, Nev., sitting atop the leaderboard at 7-over-par 79. Hitting fairways and getting up and down around the greens allowed Turner to be even-par through his first six holes of the day. It was clear that several players felt frustration after their round, but many returned quickly to the practice green and range to prepare for their final round Sunday. Joshua Ralph also of Reno, Nev., was one of these players who was within striking distance of Turner’s lead. After two birdies on the back nine on Saturday, Ralph was ready to go low Sunday with a strong desire to be in contention in the final round.
Conditions for Sunday were comparable to round one, but players likeHarrison Holetz of Incline Village, Nev., learned from their previous rounds. Adapting to the course and adjusting his game was necessary to compete for the title of ‘Major Champion’. Holetz, who shot a 9-over-par 81 in the first round, had a rough start to round two going 3-over-par through four holes. However, Holetz battled back, making three birdies on his back nine to finish with an even-par 36 and a 7-over-par 79 total. Round one leader Turner stayed in contention with 10 pars and one birdie to shoot a 81 for the final round, but it was not enough to beat out Ralph. With a 160 overall for the tournament, both Holetz and Turner finished tie for second place. Ralph, who had four birdies on the front nine remained focused and took control of the tournament, with a final round of 6-over-par 78. His tournament total of 158 was two strokes clear of second place.
When asked about the key to his success this weekend, Ralph had a one word answer. “Persistence. If I had a bad hole or a bad shot, I just persevered through the round,” commented Ralph.
Ralph’s final round 6-over-par 78 earned him the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award , which goes to the lowest score posted in round two of every IJGT tournament. More importantly, this earned Ralph the title of IJGT Major Champion.
In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Michael Tan of Carmichael, Calif., used his impressive short game to his advantage with excellent chip shots and numerous one-putts. Tan posted an impressive score of 3-over-par 75 in round one. Also finishing strong for the day with three straight pars was Grant Leppek of Rocklin, Calif., who was only five shots back of Tan in round one, posting an 8-over-par 80 for the day. Knowing that the course was playing tough, staying consistent was important for Leppek in his second round where he shot an 84 to give him a 164 tournament total, which earned him second place for the tournament.
Griffin Cooper of Yerington, Nev., and Michael Bove of Truckee, Calif., both had similar thoughts, hoping to post lower scores the second time through the course. After a frustrating 86 in round one, pars for Cooper were a saving grace, ending his second round with four of them to come back and shoot a 10-over-par 82 in round two. Consistency was Bove’s strategy after his round one of 84, and with five pars and one birdie on his back nine; he did just that posting another 84 for round two. Cooper and Bove finished tied for third place.
After getting off to a rough start and doubling the first hole, Tan bounced back with two birdies on the front nine to shoot a 9-over-par 81 overall for the second round. This earned Tan his first IJGT Major Championship title in his first ever IJGT event.
During the Awards Ceremony, Tan expressed views about Presidio Golf Course that were shared by many of the competitors. “I would like to thank the course. It was in great condition. There was lots of wind, and it was really tough,” said Tan.
Tan’s score of 3-over-par 75 on Saturday earned him the KENTWOOL Socks Lo-Pro Award , which goes to the player who shoots the lowest first round score in every IJGT tournament.
The Girls Division was by far the closest in score after the first round. 13-year-old Amelia McKee from Paso Robles, Calif., hit her drives well off the tee to put her in great position for birdies and pars, finishing with an 8-over-par 80 for the first round. At one shot back, Alexandra Sborov from Pleasanton, Calif., expressed some frustration with her round in the scoring area, but a great birdie on No. 18 enforced some positivity going into the final day. Avery French of Laguna Niguel, Calif., a four-time IJGT winner last season, felt frustration as well after posting a round of 85, yet was eager to get back out on the course in round two to make a comeback.
McKee started her second round hitting a fantastic fairway bunker shot, which lead to a birdie. She followed that with three straight pars to extend her lead to two strokes. Unfortunately the back nine was a bit challenging with windy conditions, as McKee finished her round with an 86, to post a 166 overall total, and take home second place in the Girls Division.
McKee’s 8-over-par 80 earned her the KENTWOOL Socks Lo-Pro Award for the lowest first round score in the Girls Division.
French, spending a good amount of time on the range early in the morning on Sunday, kept it consistent from the first day, making six pars on the front nine. Unfortunately, putting became troublesome on the back nine, beginning with a double-bogey on ten. French finished third for the tournament, posting a tournament total of 169.
Sborov’s positivity paid off going into round two. Learning from her mistakes from the first round, consistency sealed the Major victory for her after putting together two nine-hole scores of 39, to finish at 159 overall giving her a seven stroke victory.
Sborov came into round two with a different mindset that allowed her to perform better. “Today I wanted to focus on myself and not so much the outcome,” said Sborov.
Sborov’s 6-over-par 78 on Sunday was the low round of the tournament in the Girls Division and also earned her the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award.
Over the course of the weekend, there were many great shots under these difficult conditions, yet none greater than Kent Kao’s (Pinole, Calif.) hole-in-one of hole No. 13. This 175 yard Par-3 played extra difficult due to a tree that obstructed Kao’s view of the green from the teeing ground.
The next IJGT event will be Family Weekend at Port Royal March 2-3 on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The IJGT’s family weekend is always a hit with the parents, and this year will be no different as families will be traveling in from all over to participate.
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, Pinehurst, Bethpage State Park, and Harbour Town Golf Links. Official partners of the IJGT include Bridgestone Golf, Quagmire Golf, KENTWOOL, CHAMP Spikes, Clazic Belts, AB Golf Designs, The First Tee, Sundog Eyewear, morodZ, PURE Grips, and the International Junior Golf Academy.
To obtain more information about the IJGT, please visit www.ijgt.com or call 843-785-2444.
SAN FRANCISCO – Final round results of the IJGT Golden Gate Junior Major Championship conducted by the International Junior Golf Tour completed February 24, 2013. Boys 15-19 Division: Blue Tees – 6400 yards, Par 72 (71.6/136). Boys 14 & Under Division: White Tees – 5944 yards, Par 72 (70.0/127) Girls Division: Red Tees – 5794 yards, Par 72 (74.8/126).
Weather: Sunny with temperatures in the High 50s, winds 10-15 m.p.h.
Sunny with temperatures in the High 50s, winds 15-20 m.p.h.