Earlier this year, 19-year old Japanese golfer Mamiko Higa spent three weeks training with IMG Academy Director of Golf, David Whelan, to improve her swing. The intensive swing clinic certainly paid off, as Mamiko won the Japanese LPGA's Yamaha Ladies Open Katsuragi, April 4-7.
IMG Academy student-athlete Alberto Bianco capped his Spring Break with a victory in his native Italy at the Trofeo Master Io, held at Ca'Amata in Castelfranco, Italy, April 5-6. Bianco recorded rounds of 68 and 72 for a 140-total, going on to win the event by five strokes.
Now a junior, Bianco came to IMG Academy three years ago from Castelminio di Resana, Treviso, Italy. Bianco is looking forward to his senior year at IMG Academy.
Eyglo Oskarsdottir is a senior on the University of San Francisco Women's Golf Team. A native of Gardabaer, Iceland, Oskarsdottir was a student-athlete at IMG Academy in 2008-09, before signing with San Francisco. When Oskarsdottir graduates, her spot will be filled by IMG Academy's Ayaka Suzuki, who signed with the Dons in November.
Recently, Oskarsdottir was featured in a USF Don's athletics video, delivering a strong motivational message about the power of hard work and determination.
On the final weekend of Spring Break, IMG Academy golfers hit the links and turned in some impressive results. They included:
The cast of the latest season of Golf Channel's popular series Big Break was revealed earlier this week, announcing IMG Academy alumnus Liebelei Lawrence of Luxembourg to the cast of Big Break Mexico. Big Break Mexico marks the 21st installment of the golf reality competition series, and Lawrence becomes the fifth IMG Academy graduate to appear on the show.
IMG Academy's own Kaeli Jones of Sumterville, Fla. recently won her division at the Pensacola Country Club, playing on the Florida Junior Tour, March 23-24. Jones notched a three-stoke win, shooting a 76+78=154 to secure her first FJT victory.
IMG Academy's Martin Jaramillo, a native of Medellín, Colombia, brought home a big win after putting together a one-under 212 (70-72-70) to win the Boys Division of the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Junior All-Star at Château Élan, March 29-31.
"When you're leading, there's obviously a lot of pressure and expectations,” Jaramillo said in an interview after the win. “The win shows me everything I put in with practice is paying [off].”
In his native country, Eric West wanted a Bermudian name on the Bermuda Open Trophy. He did just that, shooting three birdies in the final round to finish four-over-par and take the title at Port Royal.
It may be Spring Break for the student-athletes at IMG Academy, but for some of them, it’s a prime opportunity to compete. IMG Academy golfer Leo Kitahara, a native of Brazil, traveled home and competed in the Buzios Amateur Open, held at the Buzios Golf Club & Resort in Rio de Janeiro, March 23-24. One of the most challenging courses in Rio, windy conditions did not stop the 18-year old Kitahara from winning the Amateur Men’s Division. Kitahara shot rounds of 72 and 78 for a six-over 150 for the victory.