2009-2010 IJGT Season in Review

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Sept. 5-7, 2009

Philip North of Hilton Head Island, S.C. fired consecutive rounds under par at Tradition National, firing rounds of 71, 70, and 71 to finish at 4 under par. At the same time North was putting on a show in the Southeast, Noori Hyun of Centreville, Va., decided to go even farther. With rounds of 68, 71, and 69, Hyun finished with an incredible 8-under par to take home the Boys 16-19 Division crown at Hershey Links.

Sept. 11-13, 2009

In the event at Blue Heron Pines Andrew Gai of Wesport, Conn., posts a round of 66, equally matched by Boys U-12 Champion Curren Mody’s 67 and Girls U-19 Champion Harin Lee’s 68.

Sept. 25-27, 2009

Rain soaked the Northeastern states, leading to the cancellation of the Bethpage events second round.  Meanwhile, across the country, the IJGT began its string of West Coast events with Temecula Creek Golf Club. Murrieta, Calif., native Seong Kim posted a final total of 1 under par to take the older boys division, while Szu-han Chen of Beamont, Calif. fired an even par 72 on Sunday to sneak by a competitive Girls U-19 field.

Oct. 9-11, 2009

With four tied for the lead going into Sunday’s final round at Falcon’s Fire, it would be a come from behind victory for Mookie DeMoss of Duluth, Ga., as he cards steady rounds of 74 and 72 to best one of the strongest fields of the season. Almost 900 miles north of Falcon’s Fire, Mike Amole of Huntington Valley and Nate Cohan of Gaithersburg, Md., took the battle for the older boys title extra holes. It wouldn’t last long however, as Amole placed his second shot on the first playoff hole within two feet for an easy tap in birdie and the win.

Oct. 23-25, 2009

The story this week was the play of Boys U-12 Division Champion Jake Reilly of Hershey, Pa. Reilly picked up his second victory in as many starts by firing consecutive rounds of 79 at the Penn State event. North of Penn State at Gillette Ridge in Bloomfield, Conn. another IJGT star was picking up his second win of the season. Andrew Gai of Westport, CT added another victory in the Boys 16-19 Division to his previous victory a month earlier at Blue Heron Pines.

Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2009   

This year’s IJGT overall player of the year, Michael Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., puts up rounds of 72 and 68 during the two-day event at Saddlebrook Resort. Werenski’s even par finish left him five strokes ahead of his nearest competition at the close of the event. Additionally impressive was the show of accuracy put on by Werenski during Sunday’s final round, where he hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation.

Nov. 13-15, 2009

BMW joins forces with the IJGT for the 2nd Annual Hank Haney Invitational. Picking up his fourth win of the year in the Boys 13-15 Division, Matthew Rushton of Johannesburg, South Africa posts a tournament total of 146 at the Haney event, besting the rest of the field by seven strokes. A trio of impressive wins went down at La Costa Resort, with the Champion in each age division running away from the field on Sunday posting an average margin of victory of eight strokes. 

Nov. 26-29, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend brought another year of impressive play at the annual TPC Sawgrass event in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The three-day event saw three repeat winners in Michael Werenski, Matthew Rushton, and Yuri Otsuka, with the addition of one newcomer to the IJGT winning his first event. Michael Pfeifer of Pforzheim, Germany made the long trek overseas to compete in his first IJGT event and ended up leaving with his first victory. With his only knowledge of the famed Stadium Course coming from studying a video game, Pfeifer was sure to never forget this weekend.

Dec. 4-6, 2009

This week in Santa Barbara, Calif. another first time IJGT competitor picked up his first IJGT win. Matthew Hansen of Los Osos, Calif. posted a tournament total of 3 under par. On the other side of the country, Boys 13-15 Division Player of the Year JJ Qualkenbush of La Quinta, Calif. went extra holes with competitors Joshua Hopwood of Hamilton, Bermuda and Renato Bordes of Xalapa, Mexico. The playoff ended on the first hole with a 10-foot birdie putt from Qualkenbush and his first win of the season.

Dec. 11-13, 2009

St. George, Utah native McCoy Willey fires a 6-under-par 65 on Sunday to take home the Boys 16-19 Division at Tahquitz Creek in Palm Springs, Calif. Meanwhile, Willis Huynh of Syosset, N.Y. added another victory to his resume in the Boys U-12 Division with solid rounds of 75 and 74. Back east at Palmetto Dunes, Noah Edmondson of Davidson, N.C. also added another win to his resume with an impressive four stroke victory in the Boys U-12 Division.

Jan. 8-10, 2010

With the New Year came the beginning of the second half of the season and a pair of Mid-Season Championship events at both World Golf Village and Terra Lago. At the World Golf Village event, Ernesto Vitienes of the Dominican Republic went wire-to-wire in cold and windy conditions to post a two stroke victory in the Boys 16-19 Division. Meanwhile at Terra Lago, Kyle Nakazaki of Manhattan Beach, Calif. picked up his first career victory in the Boys 16-19 Division, holding off a strong field with his impeccable driving during both days of the event. Picking up his fifth win of the season in the Boys U-12 Division at Terra Lago, Hartland, Wis., native Derrick Villarreal poured in back-to-back birdies on holes 14 and 15 on Sunday, eventually posting a tournament total of 151, 7 over par.

Jan. 22-24, 2010

It was windy at Colleton River Plantation, a course which served as the backdrop for several scenes in the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance. Creating their own storylines this week at Colleton were Roelof Rijnhout of the Netherlands and Ben Deitrich of Conover, N.C. Rijnhout picked up his first career IJGT victory in the older boys division by firing consecutive rounds of 76, while Dietrich carded impressive rounds of 77 and 72 to take the Boys 13-15 Division title.

Feb. 12-15, 2010

Kiawah Island and its famed Ocean Course have hosted the 1991 Ryder Cup, 2007 Senior PGA Championship, and will host the 2012 PGA Championship. With the weather staying true to form for this time of the year, the cold ocean gusts laid way to a challenging event. Coming out on top once again, Andrew Gai of Westport, Conn., took home the older boys division by being the only competitor in his age division to post sub-80 scores in all three rounds. Also the only competitor to post sub-80 scores in each round was Boys U-12 Division winner Sun Kim of L’ile-perrot, Quebec, posting rounds of 78, 77, and 76.

Feb. 19-21, 2010

Clinching his second victory in as many tournaments, Stan Gautier of Paris, France posted rounds of 69 and 73 to claim the older boy’s division title. Also on his way to a 69 during Sunday’s round, second place finisher Brantley Kushner of Leesburg, VA carded a hole-in-one at the 15th hole. In the Girls 15-19 Division, Momo Sakuragi of Tokyo, Japan and Stephanie Eybers of Haymarket, VA went extra holes to decide the championship. Sakuragi picked up the victory during the first playoff hole with a solid second shot and a two-putt par.

March 12-14, 2010

During this week’s event at Pinehurst No. 6, Matt Harman of Roanoke, Va., brought home that feel with rounds of 73 and 77, besting the field by a stroke. In the Boys 13-15 Division, Michael Chanaud of Gambrills, MD hoisted the victor’s trophy with a tournament total of 158 for the two-day event.

March 26-28, 2010

The rain wouldn’t hold of this weekend as the TPC Tampa Bay event was shortened to a one-day tournament with the cancellation of Sunday’s final round. Coming out on top in the Boys 16-19 Division, Miguel Solorzano Amaya of Chiapas, Mexico carded an impressive 74 on Saturday and that would be enough to take the crown. Boy’s 13-15 Division champion Emilio Maurer Lorente of Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. shot the low round of the weekend with an even par 71 on Saturday.

April 2-4, 2010

As an annual stop on the IJGT tour over the Easter Holiday, the Verterra Sport Classic at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., hosted another competitive event once again. Andrew Beiber of Danville, Pa., fired a 71 on Sunday on his way to the Boys 16-19 Division title, while Scott Jaster of Bryn Mawr, Pa., picked up his second victory in three weeks in the Boys 13-15 Division. Courtney Boe of Bluffton, S.C. also picked up her first win of the season in the Girls 15-19 Division with rounds of 85 and 73.

April 23-25, 2010

Home to the LPGA Championship, Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, Ma., played host to one of this week’s events. The event saw three fresh faces bring home their first IJGT trophies with Derek Bard of New Hartford, N.Y. winning the Boys 16-19 Division, Kyle Sterbinsky of Yardley, Pa., hoisting the Boys 13-15 Division trophy and Shabril Brewer of Herndon, Va., taking home championship honors in the Girls 15-19 Division.

April 30-May 2, 2010

Eagles Pointe and Architects Club were host to this week’s events, with warm weather finally on the horizon, the scores this weekend were equally hot. 

At the Architects event, John Voetsch of New Vernon, N.J. posted a Sunday round of 68 on his way to victory in the Boys 16-19 Division. In the Boys U-12 Division a tight race gave way to the likes of Monmouth Junction, N.J. native Curren Mody as he posted rounds of 69 and 73 to finish at even par. In the Girls 15-19 Division, Scotland Preston of Mountainside, N.J. carded consecutive rounds of 73 on her way to victory.

The competition for the Boys 16-19 Division title at Eagle’s Pointe was some of the best we’ve seen all year on tour. Going into Sunday’s final round there were many players within striking distance of first round leader Felipe Benalcazar of Quito, Ecuador. Benalcazar would hold off the field however, as he posted a Sunday 73 to go along with his 4-under par 67 on Saturday.