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.
Gai 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’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.
After 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.
Phuchanbanchob 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!