The IMG Academy golf program traveled 5 hours north to Kingsland, Georgia to play the HJGT Laurel Island Junior Shootout at the Laurel Island Links this past weekend. Bordered by the Crooked River basin, Laurel Island Links has several wooded areas and marshlands that posed a great challenge for the field, but the wide open fairways, the smooth greens along with the mild temperatures made good scoring possible.
The Girls 15-19 competition proved to be the one to watch and ended with great excitement! After the first round on Saturday, three Leadbetter golfers; Sophie Hayashi of Carmel, Indiana, Hsuan âVivianâ Chen of Taichung, Taiwan, and Mason Chen of Ping Tung, Taiwan found themsleves all tied for the lead, each carding a one-under par, 71. Fellow IMG'er, Hally Leadbetter put herself two strokes back after a two-over par first round of 73 and Sophie Molinaro put herself into contention as well with a first round 74.
Sunday's final round saw some movement as Hally made a strong push for first with a final round of 73 and forced a sudden-death playoff with Sophie Hayashi after she carded a second round three-over par, 75.
Sophie and Hally headed back out on the course for three more holes each battling for the win. Both Sophie and Hally parred the first and the second holes, but Sophie's birdie on the third hole clinched her victory in the Girls 15-19 division with a tournament total 146. Leadbetter golfer, Sofia Molinaro of Torino, Italy moved into third place after carding rounds of 74-77 and a tournament total 151.
The Boys 16-19 age group found Leadbetter golfer's, Eduardo Zamudio and Gregorz Zielinski finishing in 4th place. Eduardo, of Mexico City, Mexico shot rounds of 73-74 and Gregorz, of Poland, shot rounds of 72-75. Also recording a top 10 finish (and playing in the older age group as a 15 year old) was Meechai Padungsiriseth who fired rounds of 77-75 for a 7th place finish.
In the Boys 13-15 division, IMG Golfers, James Leadbetter and Dave Yan Siguang finished in the Top 5. James finished in 4th place with rounds of 73-74 and Dave finished in 5th place with rounds of 69-79. Fellow Leadbetter golfer, Jeremy Walsh finished in 7th.