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Island Challenge at the Country Club of Hilton Head – Tour Preview

The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) heads to the Country Club of Hilton Head on January 18-19, 2014 for the Island Challenge at Country Club of Hilton Head. Players will be competing for national rankings and IJGT Merit Points.

Designed by Rees Jones, the Country Club of Hilton Head is a par-72 course with a rating of 75.2 and slope of 143 from the back tees. The course hosted local U.S. Open Qualifiers in 1999 and 2005. The course winds through a stately pine forest, salt-water marshes and fresh water lagoons. The Country Club of Hilton Head is defined by doglegs on 14 holes and water on 16 holes. The course’s signature hole is the par-5, 12th, featuring the highest point on Hilton Head Island. The hole offers tremendous vistas and a green that is framed by the Intracoastal Waterway.

Luxurious putting green at the Country Club of Hilton Head.

Putting green at the Country Club of Hilton Head.

Jake Kessel of Woodcliff Lake, N.J. looks to earn his first IJGT victory in the Boys 15-19 Division. Kessel finished in a tie for 2nd at the Aiken Junior Open at Woodside Plantation on September 21-22, 2013 after firing scores of 77-80-153. Nicholas Russell of Hilton Head Island, S.C. and Brett Inserra of Upper Saddle River, N.J. hope to prevent Kessel from earning the victory, while earning their first career Tour championships.

In the Girls Division, Thamonpat Siriko of Bangkok, Thailand hopes to pick up her first win of the 2013-14 season. Siriko was victorious twice during the 2012-13 season, highlighted by her season-ending victory at the Bridgestone Tournament of Champions on May 25-27, 2013.

To register or for more information about this event, click here.

Bluffton Junior at Hampton Hall – Tour Preview

The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) will be in Bluffton, S.C. on Dec. 7-8 for the Bluffton Junior at Hampton Hall. Hampton Hall Club’s Pete Dye Signature Course last hosted an IJGT Event Nov. 10-11, 2012, with the Major Championship at Hampton Hall Club being contested there. The two-day tournament will consist of top junior golfers from around the world competing for national rankings and IJGT Merit Points over the course of 36 holes.

Dye’s course at Hampton Hall features a brilliantly open design, but requires more precision than would seem. Water hazards come into play on 15 of the courses holes, while a number of strategically placed bunkers make precision needed on every shot. . With yardage stretching anywhere from 5,329 yards to 7,503 yards and swirling winds, this links-style course embodies the original soul of golf.

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Although open, bunkers and water hazards at Hampton Hall Club require players to focus on precision with every shot.

In the Boys 15-19 Division, Shogo Ito of Tokyo, Japan, Jake Kessel of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., and Sam Meuret of Brunswick, NE, highlight a number of players who look to tackle Dye’s course. Ito earned his first victory in the Boys 15-19 Division, and third career IJGT victory, earlier this year with a strong performance at the Florida Junior at Black Diamond. Ito carded 10 birdies over the two-day event, capturing a five stroke victory. Kessel will be looking to earn his first career victory. He came close earlier this year, finishing in a tie for second at the Aiken Junior Open at Woodside Plantation. Meuret, in his second year with the IJGT, has been a top-10 mainstay, finishing there in 11 of his 15 career events on tour.

In the Girls Division, Kelly Whaley of Farmington, CT, looks to continue her recent run of success on the IJGT. In her last five events, dating back to the 2012-13 season, Whaley has three victories and hasn’t finished lower than in a tie for second. She was most recently victorious at the Major Championship at Palmetto Dunes after firing scores of 73-70-143 at the George Fazio Course. Samantha Huang of Shenzhen, China, will be one of Whaley’s biggest challengers. Huang has been victorious at the IJGT Island Open at Palmetto Hall and the Sanctuary Shootout this year and looks to add a third victory to her impressive rookie season with the IJGT.

In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Takafumi Shimoji of Okinawa, Japan, headlines the field. Shimoji has been stellar this season, winning three tournaments and finishing second in his other two events. The highlight of his season was a dominating performance in his first event, the Lowcountry Open at Oldfield GC, where he shot scores of 67-71-138 to finish the tournament at 6-under-par and earn a 9 stroke victory. His score of 138 was the low of any player in the field. Brandon McBride of Bluffton, SC, looks to prevent Shimoji of his fourth victory while earning his first of the season. McBride has finished in the top-3 in three events this season and has placed no lower than sixth in any event.

To register for the Bluffton Junior at Hampton Hall, click here.