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MAJOR Championship at Presidio GC – Tour Preview

The IJGT is excited to host its first MAJOR of the spring season, the MAJOR Championship at Presidio Golf Club in San Francisco, Calif. The two-day, 36-hole tournament will be held on February 7-8, 2015, and be the first west coast event of the year.

Presidio Aerial

The Presidio Golf Course is one of the oldest courses on the west coast and has been a national historic landmark since 1962. Located within a national park, the Presidio course has been recognized as a leader in environmentally sensitive golf course management. In 2003 the course received certification from Audubon International as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

Hole 12

The terrains at Presidio are varied and range from adobe clay to rock to sand. Sitting in the notoriously hilly San Francisco area, the course plays with difficult but entertaining changes in landscape from hole to hole.

Many famous athletes including Babe Ruth, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio have played at the Presidio Golf Course.

San Francisco is a great city for foodies and the Presidio specifically is becoming a dining destination with a variety of exciting restaurants popping up in the area.

 

Two IJGT alumni to compete on Golf Channel's Big Break

If you tune into Golf Channel’s Big Break this season, you just might see a familiar face. Or two.

IJGT alumni Richy Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., and Justin Martinson of Avondale, Pa., will both be competing on Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL. Throughout the 11-episode season, contestants will compete against each other in a variety of challenges that test both their physical skills and mental toughness. Each week, one golfer will be eliminated until a champion is crowned.

This season, the contestants will be competing for an exemption into the 2015 Barbasol Championship as well as cash and other prizes.

The diverse, all-male cast includes collegiate All-Americans, mini tour champions and a pair of trick shot experts. At 23, Werenski, a 2010 International Junior Golf Academy graduate, is the youngest golfer in the competition. He will be competing against 11 other talented individuals including his former roommate and teammate at Georgia Tech, Kyle Scott.

Richy Werenski 1

In December, Werenski earned playing status in the first eight events on the Web.com Tour schedule at the Web.com Tour Qualifying School. Werenski has qualified for the U.S. Amateur four times, but lists winning the 2012 Porter Cup, and consequently having his name engraved on the same trophy as Phil Mickelson, as his greatest golf accomplishment thus far.

Justin Martinson

Before he became one of the most successful amateur golfers in University of Delaware history, Martinson was one of the top players on the International Junior Golf Tour. Multiple wins during his final year on the IJGT caught the attention of several college golf coaches. He accepted a scholarship from Charleston Southern University, but transferred to the University of Delaware after his freshman year. Martinson turned pro immediately after graduating from the University of Delaware in 2011. His 10-under-par 278 earned him fifth place in the four-day, 72-hole eGolf Tour Championship in December.

Although the Big Break season premiere doesn’t air until next month, it was taped in September at PGA National Resort and Spa, home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. The contestants competed on four courses: The Champion, The Palmer, The Fazio and The Squire.

Be sure to tune in for the season premiere at 9 p.m. ET on Monday, February 2 on Golf Channel. A special “Meet the Players” show will air Monday, January 26 at 10 p.m. ET.

Good luck to both Richy and Justin!

Berger, Gerbelova earn IJGT Player of the Week honors – Jan. 20, 2015

The IJGT hosted its first tournament of the spring season, the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National on January 17-18, 2015. Junior golfers competed in chilly but bright conditions during the two-day, 36-hole event. Following the event, the IJGT is proud to award this week’s Player of the Week honors to Statesboro, Ga., native Ford Berger and Martina Gerbelova of Bratislava, Slovakia.

Ford Berger

Ford Berger

Competing in just his second IJGT event, Berger used the help of two birdies to knock an impressive six strokes off his round one score. His round-two birdies came on holes No. 7 and 13.

Combining scores of 87 and 81, his tournament total of 168 was good for third in the Boys 14 & Under Division. After his strong finish this weekend, Berger shot up 15 spots in the IJGT Rankings.

Martina Gerbelova

Martina Gerbelova

Gerbelova had her best two-day total of the 2014-2015 season during the IJGT Junior. Consistent rounds of 96 gave Gerbelova her first top-five finish of her career. Her fifth place finish moved her up nine spaces in the IJGT Rankings.

Congratulations to both Ford Berger and Martina Gerbelova on their Player of the Week honors!

Lowcountry Junior at Wexford Plantation – Tour Preview

The IJGT will host the Lowcountry Junior at Wexford Plantation in Hilton Head Island, S.C., on January 31 – February 1, 2015. Junior golfers will be competing for IJGT Merit Points and national rankings during the two-day, 36-hole tournament.

Wexford Plantation

The recently-renovated Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course at Wexford Plantation plays through tall, majestic oaks and stately pines before continuing around the harbor and coastal marshlands. It was rated one of the Top 100 Residential Golf Courses in the U.S. in Golfweek Magazine‘s 2014 Ultimate Guide to Golf Course Living & Great Escapes. Its six sets of tees range from 4,670 yards to 6,913 yards, allowing the course to offer a challenge at any distance.

The course’s signature hole is the 380-yard 18th, which requires a tee shot over a marsh and up a dogleg right fairway, then an approach shot over another marsh to the green. The challenge of the course combined with a competitive field will make this a tournament you do not want to miss.

In the Boys 15-19 Division, Brent Rodgers of Cranberry Township, Pa., will look to improve upon his most recent top-15 finish at the IJGA Invitational in December of 2014. A victory at the Lowcountry Junior at Wexford Plantation would be Rodgers’ first IJGT victory of his career. Also in the Boys 15-19 Division is Matthew Cesare of Milford, Conn., who will look to make a statement with his first appearance in an IJGT event.

Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., will be one to watch in the Girls Division as she looks to extend her two-win streak after winning the IJGT College Series at NC State and the Major Championship at Dormie Club in the fall season of 2014. Also looking to continue a winning streak is Yunjie Zhang of Haikou City, China. After her win at the Thanksgiving Day Classic at TPC Sawgrass on Nov. 27-29, 2014, Zhang will be in pursuit of her second consecutive win this season.

If you have not yet registered for the Lowcountry Junior at Wexford Plantation, there’s still time! Click here for more information or to sign up.

IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National – Final Results (Jan. 18, 2015)

Byrne comes from behind to force playoff

Phillips and Frankiewicz capture first IJGT victories 

The IJGT hosted the first tournament of the spring season, the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National, on January 17-18, 2015. The field for the two-day, 36-hole tournament included junior golfers from eight U.S. states and 10 countries. Juniors competed in chilly but bright conditions for IJGT Merit Points and national rankings.

Conor Byrne

Conor Byrne

After finishing round one in fourth place, Conor Byrne of Dublin, Ireland, came from behind to tie Ryan Skae of Old Tappan, N.J., for first with a tournament total of 146 after 36 holes. Byrne won the Boys 15-19 Division in a playoff by sinking a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-4 9th hole to edge out Skae for the title.

The victory was Byrne’s first on the International Junior Golf Tour. Byrne’s round two even-par 71 earned him the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award, the award presented to the male and female junior to card the lowest score in the final round of the event.

“I was surprised to shoot the low final round, especially how I started by three-putting the first hole,” said Byrne after his win. “I knew Ryan [Skae] had an eight-footer left for par, so all I was trying to do was get it close. I knew it had good speed and it just so happened to fall. It was pretty cool to win on a birdie.”

Skae, who finished in second, led the field with a 14-hole bogey-free run stretching from hole No. 16 in round one to hole No. 11 in round two. His impressive par-or-better streak on Nos. 1 through 11  included back-to-back birdies on holes No. 6 and 7 in round two.

Jack O’Donovan of Pittsford, N.Y., finished in third in the Boys 15-19 Division with a tournament total of 149. O’Donovan led the field in birdies with eight including back-to-back birdies on holes No. 4 and 5 in round two.

Wataru Koguchi of Fukuoka, Japan, was the only junior to card an eagle. He needed only three strokes to complete the par-5 hole No. 3 in round one.

Skylar Frankiewicz

Skylar Frankiewicz

The Girls Division also saw a playoff in which Skylar Frankiewicz of Concord, Mass., came out victorious. Frankiewicz and Yuki Nakayama of Kawasakishi, Japan, finished with tournament totals of 159, but Frankiewicz defeated Nakayama by one stroke in the one-hole playoff leading to her first IJGT victory.

“I felt a little pressure throughout the day, but I knew where I stood in relation to Yuki [Nakayama],” Frankiewicz said after her win. “I had a bad hole on 17, but I knew if I could beat her by one on the last hole I would be able to send it to a playoff, I did. The win in a playoff made the entire trip from Massachusetts worth it!”

Nakayama’s round two score of 79 was good enough to earn her the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award for the girls.

Yeji Ahn of Changwon-City, South Korea, finished third in the Girls Division with a tournament total of 174.

Chase Phillips

Chase Phillips

 

Chase Phillips of Hilton Head, S.C., built off a two-stroke lead in round one to capture his first IJGT victory in the Boys 14 & Under Division. He knocked two strokes off his round one score to finish with a tournament total of 158. Phillips carded six birdies during the tournament including back-to-back birdies on holes No. 7 and 8 in round two.

“I knew coming into the final round all I had to do was play the way I played the first day to win,” Phillips said after the tournament. “I hit it great and made a few putts. It was nice to improve and finish strong with a 78.”

Thomas Pfoestl of Schenna, Italy, finished second in the Boys 14 & Under Division defeating third-place finisher Ford Berger of Statesboro, Ga., by two strokes.

The IJGT will continue tournament play on January 24-15, 2015 with the Carolina Classic at Colleton River. To sign up for this event, or others, visit www.IJGT.com or call (843) 686-1500.

Bluffton, S.C. – Final Results of IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National on January 17-18, 2014. Boys 15-19 Division: Black Tees – 6,655 yards Par 71 (72.5/125). Boys 14 & Under Division: Blue Tees – 6,016 yards, Par 71 (79.3/124). Girls Division: White Tees – 5,627 yards, Par 71 (71.7/123).

International Junior Golf Tour

IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National

Bluffton, S.C.

January 17-18, 2015

Boys 15-19 Division- Black Tees, 6655 yards, Par 71

1. x-Conor Byrne, Dublin, Ireland *75-71--146 
2. Ryan Skae, Old Tappan, NJ *74-72--146
3. Jack ODonovan, Pittsford, NY *74-75--149
4. Ritwik Jain, New Delhi, India *77-74--151
4. Kanata Irei, Okinawa-shi, Japan *74-77--151
6. Santiago Diaz, Merida, Mexico *78-74--152
7. Shogo Taniguchi, Osaka, Japan *80-81--161
8. Ryan Pongrac, Freehold, NJ *86-77--163
9. Cole Sutherland, Charlotte, NC *78-86--164
9. Masashi Yano, Aichi, Japan *79-85--164
11. Brent Rodgers, Cranberry Township, PA *84-82--166
11. Christian Clemence Tupamahu, Manado, Indonesia *83-83--166
13. Jake Rumfola, Dublin, OH *83-84--167
14. Kyung-Hwan Chung, Hilton Head, SC *83-85--168
14. Paul Gostner, Bolzano, Italy *81-87--168
16. Wataru Koguchi, Fukuoka, Japan *83-86--169
17. Alexander Zahn, Saddle River, NJ *83-88--171
18. Carsen Sanchez, Bristol, VT *83-89--172
19. Norman Hong, Shenzhen, China *85-89--174
20. Deion Shepherd, Dayton, NJ *88-88--176
21. Karan Bhasin, Mishref *90-93--183

Boys 14 & Under Division- Blue Tees, 6016 yards, Par 71

1. Chase Phillips, Hilton Head Island, SC *80-78--158
2. Thomas Pfoestl, Schenna, Italy *82-84--166
3. Ford Berger, Statesboro, GA *87-81--168

Girls Division- White Tees, 5627 yards, Par 71

1. x-Skylar Frankiewicz, Concord, MA *79-80--159
2. Yuki Nakayama, Kawasakishi, Japan *80-79--159
3. Yeji Ahn, Changwon-City, South Korea *87-87--174
4. Claire Jeon, Yong-In, South Korea *89-94--183
5. Martina Gerbelova, Bratislava, Slovakia *96-96--192

 

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.

 

IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National – Tour Preview

The IJGT is excited to kick off its spring season with the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National. The two-day, 36-hole tournament will be held on January 17-18, 2015, in Bluffton, S.C. Juniors will be competing for IJGT Merit Points and national rankings.

A par-71 Bobby Weed and Gary Player collaboration, Hilton Head National offers four sets of tees ranging from 5,628 yards to 6,730 yards. Player designed the course to be a straightforward test of golf free of sight-impeding hazards and visual intimidation.  The course’s signature sixth hole provides an exciting challenge with massive pot bunkers in addition to a lake along the right side. The 18th hole features a deep marsh along the right side of the narrow fairway and an elevated green.

Hilton Head National

Ritwik Jain of New Delhi, India, tops the list of players to watch in the Boys 15-19 Division of the IJGT Junior. Jain has notched four top-10 finishes this season and currently sits at No. 22 in the Tour Rankings. Also in the Boys 15-19 Division is Norman Hong of Shenzhen, China, looking for his first top-10 finish of the season in the division. Hong finished last year’s IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National in a tie for 29th place and will look to improve on that finish this year.

In the Girls Division, Skylar Frankiewicz of Concord, Mass., is coming off a third place finish at the Savannah Junior at The Landings.

If you haven’t registered for the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National yet, you have until January 13, 2015, to do so.

To register or for more information about the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National, click here.

Stokes, Tadokoro receive IJGT Player of the Week Honors – Dec. 9, 2014

The IJGT traveled to Savannah, Ga., on December 6-7, 2014, to host the Savannah Junior at The Landings Club. The Marshwood course was in great shape with the greens rolling smooth and fast providing a fun challenge for the junior golfers, especially on downhill putts. The weather, however, was not as fun; fog set in for the day on Saturday and cold and breezy conditions prevailed on Sunday. This week’s Player of the Week honors following the Savannah Junior go to Jason Stokes of St. Brelade, Jersey, and Sera Tadokoro of Osaka, Japan.

Jason Stokes

Jason Stokes

Stokes started round one on the 10th tee and played his first nine holes at 1-over par by carding six pars and one birdie. Then, the fog started to roll in off the marsh and the entire field began to see their scores increase. Stokes finished round one with a total score of 7-over par 79, tying him for ninth place.

Round two started early for Stokes as he was in one of the first groups off of hole No. 10. With wind gusts of over 20 mph, scoring looked to be tough. However, Stokes found a way to play his first nine holes at just 2-over par and looked to be in contention for the victory. He carried his momentum into his second nine and shot 1-under par with birdies on the two par-5’s. His round two 1-over-par 73 earned him the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award for shooting the lowest final round across both boys’ divisions. His tournament total of 152 landed him in a tie for second place.

Sera Tadokoro

Sera Tadokoro

Tadokoro took the early lead in the Savannah Junior and never looked back. She improved on her round one score by nine strokes to finish round two with a 1-under-par 71. She was the only golfer to finish round two under par, which earned her the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award, the award presented to the male and female golfers to card the lowest score in the final round of the event. Tadokoro closed out her back nine in round two with a seven-hole par-or-better streak, including back-to-back birdies on the par-3 hole No. 16 and the par-4 hole No. 17.

Congratulations to Jason Stokes and Sera Tadokoro on earning this week’s Player of the Week honors!

Lee’s swing featured in the IJGT Photo of the Week

The IJGT traveled to world-renowned TPC Sawgrass to host the Thanksgiving Day Classic. Junior golfers had the opportunity to play on both the Dye’s Valley and THE PLAYERS Stadium courses. After the tournament, fans chose this action shot of Christopher “Poppy” Lee of Loxahatchee, Fla., as the IJGT Photo of the Week.

Christopher

Christopher “Poppy” Lee

The Thanksgiving Day Classic was Lee’s first tournament of the season and despite being one of the youngest competitors in the field, the 11-year-old finished fifth in the Boys 14 & Under Division. Using his first round to warm up, Lee improved both his second and final rounds by at least two strokes. His second and third round both featured a birdie. The fifth place finish was Lee’s first top-five finish of his IJGT career. Congratulations to Lee!

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