SAVANNAH, Ga. – The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) headed south to The Club at Savannah Harbor to host the Georgia Junior on Feb. 22-23, 2014. Round one was played in textbook golf weather with temperatures around 70 degrees and a day filled of sunshine. Despite temperatures dropping slightly into the 60s during the final round, the forecasted rain held out as the final groups finished play. IJGT Merit Points and national rankings were up for grabs resulting in numerous lead changes throughout the 36-hole two-day tournament. The field featured 89 juniors between the ages of 12 and 19 years old.
IJGA student Aaron Terrazas of Veracruz, Mexico, had a come-from-behind effort in round two to finish in second place. Terrazas improved his round one score of 77 by seven strokes to secure second place, finishing the weekend with a score of 77-70–147 overall. His performance was highlighted by four birdies in round two, three of which were on the back nine.
Terrazas’s round two score of 70 landed him the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award, the award that goes to the player in each division with the lowest score in the final round of the tournament.
Geuntae Kim of Daegu, South Korea, held a five-stroke lead over his competition after round one and though he struggled in round two, Kim tallied an impressive seven birdies in the tournament. Despite his round-two struggles, he held off contending competition to secure third place with a score of 70-78–148 overall.
In the Girls Division, Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, lead both days as she finished her second consecutive IJGT tournament in first. Despite struggling with her irons on the first day, Valdes finished the final round strong with five birdies, three of which came on her first nine holes. Coming off of a Major Championship first-place victory at Kiawah Island in the weekend prior, Valdes made eight birdies on the tournament, the most across all divisions. Her 70-71—141 overall score positioned Valdes a commanding 10 strokes ahead of her competition.
When asked what worked well for her, Valdes commented, “My putting definitely, I wasn’t hitting the ball very well but it is always good to putt well. It helps you a lot.”
Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award winner, Kayla Kozak of Bluffton, S.C., finished second after improving on her round-one score by a staggering 11 strokes. She finished the tournament with a score of 81-70—151 overall. In third place was Thamonpat Siriko of Bangkok, Thailand, with a score of 78-74—152 overall.
Eight-time IJGT winner Karl Vilips of Melbourne, Australia, placed first in the Boys 14 & Under Division. Finishing 15 strokes ahead of his competition, Vilips approached the tournament with an aim for consistency. His 2-under-par second-round score of 70 featured four birdies and only two bogeys. Arguably his best performance of the tournament came on the back nine of round two where he made par on seven of eight holes, the eighth being a birdie. His score of 72-70—142 overall earned him the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award.
“My approach shots into the greens were pretty accurate so it gave me the chance to make a few birdies,” said Vilips.
In a tie for second was Chandler McDowell of Springbrook, Canada, who finished with a score of 157 overall.
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