Two IJGA students force playoffs at IJGT Junior

Making the most of the new spring season, many IJGA students took advantage of the start of the International Junior Golf Tour’s (IJGT) spring event schedule. Beginning the season locally, the IJGT hosted the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National, on January 17-18, 2015, and not one, but two academy students participated in playoffs.

Conor Byrne of Dublin, Ireland, came from behind to force a playoff in the Boys 15-19 Division and Yuki Nakayama of Kawasakishi, Japan, did the same in the Girls Division.

Conor Byrne

After finishing round one in fourth place, Byrne used three birdies in round two to earn a share of first place after 36 holes. Byrne went on to win the Boys 15-19 Division in a playoff by sinking a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-4 9th hole for sole possession of the title.

The victory was Byrne’s first on the International Junior Golf Tour. Byrne’s round two even-par 71 earned him the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award, the award presented to the male and female junior to card the lowest score in the final round of the event.

“I was surprised to shoot the low final round, especially how I started by three-putting the first hole,” said Byrne after his win. “I knew Ryan [Skae] had an eight-footer left for par, so all I was trying to do was get it close. I knew it had good speed and it just so happened to fall. It was pretty cool to win on a birdie.”

 

Jack O’Donovan of Pittsford, N.Y., finished third in the Boys 15-19 Division with a tournament total of 149. O’Donovan led the field in birdies with eight including back-to-back birdies on holes No. 4 and 5 in round two. Wataru Koguchi of Fukuoka, Japan, was the only junior to card an eagle. He needed only three strokes to complete the par-5 hole No. 3 in round one.

Combining scores of 80 and 79, Nakayama’s tournament total of 159 landed her in a tie for first after 36 holes. Nakayama was defeated in a one-hole playoff and finished the tournament in second place. Her round two score of 79 was good enough to earn her theClazic Belts Low Final Round Award for the girls. Yeji Ahn of Changwon-City, South Korea, finished third in the Girls Division with a tournament total of 174.

Chase Phillips

 

Chase Phillips of Hilton Head, S.C., also captured his first IJGT victory this past weekend. He built off a two-stroke lead in round one to win the Boys 14 & Under Division. Phillips knocked two strokes off his round one score to finish with a tournament total of 158. Phillips carded six birdies during the tournament including back-to-back birdies on holes No. 7 and 8 in round two.

“I knew coming into the final round all I had to do was play the way I played the first day to win,” Phillips said after the tournament. “I hit it great and made a few putts. It was nice to improve and finish strong with a 78.”

 

Thomas Pfoestl of Schenna, Italy, finished second in the Boys 14 & Under Division defeating the third-place finisher by two strokes. His second-place finish is his seventh top-three finish of the season with the IJGT.

For full results of the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National, click here.

 

Congratulations to all the IJGA students who participated in the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National!

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