The top 64 golfers at IMG Academy, as determined by the "Money List" (to emulate the PGA tour money list) generated from the results of the Saturday tournaments that spanned the entire season, will square off in the second annual IMG Academy Leadbetter golf program Match Play Championships starting tomorrow.
IMG Academy Leadbetter golf program golfer Diogo Almeida, of Portugal, shared his thoughts on the tournament. "This is the premier event for us at the end of the season. Everyone is at the top of their game, so the anticipation is high and there's a lot of buzz leading up to it."
Jeffrey Meltzer is the #1 seed in the tournament for the second year in a row, but looks to improve on his disappointing first-round exit last year. "I lost to a tough opponent last year in Alexa Ranco and didn't really play like I wanted to," said the 15-year-old second-year IMG student.
Meltzer had some interesting thoughts on being the top seed in a tournament with so many older players. "It feels awkward, playing against some 18- and 19-year-olds, and even some post-grad golfers, but it's a good feeling. I'm a bit nervous, but that's also good because it lets me know that I really want to perform well. I'm putting really well, and I think that's the key in match play tournaments."
While speaking on to Meltzer, about 20 of his competitors for this weekend were practicing alongside him on the range and heard the comments from the youngster. Alson Keeler of Venezuela had some words for Mr. Meltzer:
"I just want to see him prove to everyone why he's the top seed, especially after the early exit last year. Just go out and do what you do every day, man, and you'll be fine. And he better hope he doesn't see me in the final!"
The comraderie, excitement, anticipation, and trash talk all add to the allure of the great year-end tournament. Between tomorrow and Sunday, a new IMG Academy Leadbetter golf program Match Play Champion will be decided. Good luck to all!