The IJGT’s Carolina Classic at Colleton River started with a bang. Literally. After the first day of play was cancelled due to heavy rain, players began via shotgun start on Sunday morning. Instead of playing 36 holes over two days, juniors played 27 holes on Sunday, January 25, 2015.
After 27 holes, three IJGA students found themselves in a tie for first in the Boys 15-19 Division. Conor Byrne of Dublin, Ireland, Trey Wren of Suffolk, Va., and Santiago Diaz of Merida, Mexico, each finished with tournament totals of 110.
Byrne, coming off a first-place finish last weekend in the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National, finished strong in regulation at the Carolina Classic by making par on the final seven holes, Nos. 12-18, in round two.
Wren used three birdies on holes No. 11, 14 and 15 to stay in contention for the championship, after leading the division after the first 18. Wren’s six birdies led the field.
Diaz had a beautiful chip-in for birdie on the par-4 15th hole to remain on par with Byrne and Wren.
The three-way tie meant a playoff, which was played on the difficult par-4 18th hole. Diaz, playing in his first playoff, battled his nerves and came out victorious for his second IJGT championship of the 2014-2015 season.
Byrne and Wren tied for second.
Shiso Go of Kanagawa, Japan, Tennoshin Ogawa of Ichinomiya-shi, Japan, and Kanata Irei of Okinawa-shi, Japan, finished close behind the leaders with tournament totals of 112, 113 and 114 respectively.
Bunyaporn “Nat” Zeng won the Girls Division by eight strokes with a tournament total of 111. Her 1-under 35 on the back nine in round one earned her the Clazic Belts Low Round Award. Zeng found particular success on the par-5 hole No. 16, which she birdied twice. Her five birdies lead the Girls Division.
Melany Chong of Mississauga, Canada, edged out Rei Nakatani of Tokyo, Japan, for second place, defeating her by a single stroke. Birdies on the par-3 hole No. 13 and the par-5 hole No. 16 in round two helped Chong finish with a tournament total of 119. Nakatani finished with a 120 tournament total.
Thomas Pfoestl of Schenna, Italy, won the Boys 14 & Under Division with a 121 tournament total. The victory earned Pfoestl his second IJGT championship of the 2014-2015 season. The highlight of Pfoestl’s scorecard was back-to-back birdies on the par-4 15th and par-5 16th holes.
Congratulations to all the IJGA students who participated in the Carolina Classic at Colleton River!