Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, defended her title as Sea Pines Junior Heritage champion and became the first ever player to win the tournament twice in a row this weekend. The 24th edition of the annual tournament was held on February 7-8, 2015. Juniors competed at Harbour Town Golf Links for round one and the Pete Dye-designed Heron Pointfor round two.
Valdes was one shot back after the first round, but tied things up in round two by recording a 1-under-par 35 on the back nine. Valdes and Annika Bovender of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., ended regulation tied at 5-over-par 148. She two-putted to make par on the first playoff hole, the par-4 18th, to earn her second consecutive Junior Heritage championship.
Also in the Girls Division, IJGA students Rei Nakatani of Tokyo, Japan, and Bluffton, S.C., native Kayla Kozak finished in third and fourth place, respectively. Nakatani carded back-to-back birdies on the par-4 10th and par-5 11th holes in round two. Kozak tied for the division lead in birdies with six. She and Valdes each recorded a 10-hole bogey-free streak. Clementina Rodriguez of Caracas, Venezuela, earned an eighth-place finish. Osaka, Japan, native Sera Tadokoro and Chomchana Phuchanbanchob of Chiang Mai, Thailand, finished just one stroke behind Rodriguez to tie for ninth place.
IJGA students also performed well in the Boys Division. Shiso Go of Kanagawa, Japan, tied for third place and Aaron Terrazas of Veracruz, Mexico, finished in a tie for fifth.
Tennoshin Ogawa of Ichinomiya-shi, Japan, had a hole-in-one, which came on the par-3 16th hole in round two. Jason Stokes of St. Brelade, Jersey, also carded an eagle during the tournament. He needed just three strokes to complete the par-5 17th hole in round two.
Congratulations to Valdes and all the IJGA students who competed in the Junior Heritage this weekend!