This past weekend (Dec 5-6) the Leadbetter Golfers traveled north an hour to compete in the season ending HJGT Tour Championship held at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Florida.
The field included over 100 players from 16 countries and 11 states. Heavy rains and high winds threatened the tournament, but the players were able to complete the entire 36-holes. The first day was shortened to just 9 holes and Sunday had the golfers playing 27 holes.
The Leadbetter golfers continued to make a name for themselves as three of the IMG golfers won their age groups.
First year IMG golfer, Gary Dunne, of Ireland won the boys 16-19 division. Going into the final round Gary found himself 4 shots back of the lead but he started his final round with two birdies in the first five holes and finished his final round at even-par, 70. which turned out to be good enough to win by a shot. Gary's win was helped by his par-4 performance, which was the best in the division with 28 pars.
The race for the Boys 13-15 Tour Championship title was close, but a few birdies in the final round was the deciding factor. IMG golfer, Rigel Fernandes, of India, found himself in familiar territory on Sunday - near the top of the leadboard. Rigel found him two shots of the pace and a few birdies on Sunday and a final round of 72 was enough to take his 3rd win of the season! Fellow IMG'er, Bernardo Curbelo finished in 3rd place with a two day total of 150.
In the Girls 15-19 division, IMG golfers Sammi Stevens of Hereford, Texas and Ai Miyazawa of Miyazakikan, Japan found put themselves in contention after the first 18 holes. Sammi was 3 shots back of the leader and Ai was 5 back. The final round saw a lot of shifting. Sammi had bogeys on the sixth and seventh holes, but was able to gain both strokes back with birdies on the 9th and 14th. Sammi's final round of even-par, 70, was enough to move her into first place with a tournament total of 144 and turned out to be back-to-back wins on the HJGT for Sammi. Also playing well from IMG was Ai who fought for the top spot the entire final round. Her final round play gave her a one-under par, 69, the only under par round for the tournament. It was not quite enough for the top spot, but Ai's tournament total of 145 gave her second place.
Hsuan âVivianâ Chen, Basak Aydin and Sofia Molinaro also turned in fine performances.
Vivian shot rounds of 77-75 which put her in 4th place. First year student, Basak Aydin turned in her best tournament performance to date with rounds of 80-73 and finished in 5th. Sofia Molinaro finished in 6th place with rounds of 74-80.
In the boys 10-12 division, Tian Yi â Jackâ Cen was the IMG entrant. He played well and shot rounds of 71-76 which was good enough for 2nd place.
Congratulations to you all on your great play!