ORLANDO, FL (May 30, 2011) -- Grand Cypress Resort played host to the 54 hole International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) event this past weekend in Orlando, FL. This year’s Bridgestone Golf Tournament of Champions saw a truly international field, with contestants coming from the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Tour Circuit of events for this prestigious event. Pristine course conditions and welcoming weather gave players excellent opportunities to post quality scores in hopes of becoming the champion of their respective age division.
In the Boys 15-19 Division, Kazuki Higa of Okinawa, Japan played phenomenal golf all three rounds to become this weeks champion by a mere two strokes. Higa’s carded rounds of 74, 68, and 73 for a tournament total of 1-under-par 215. Higa was able to hit his driver consistently throughout the weekend, which played a major part in his victory. Highlighting Higa’s win was his impressive second round of 4-under-par 68 which put him in position to make a move on Monday. Entering the final round, Higa found himself two-strokes out of the lead in which he methodically carded 13 pars and two birdies en route to his victory among the 95 talented players in his division. Finishing in second place was Charlie Durman of Margaretting, United Kingdom. Durman played consistently all weekend, shooting rounds of 73, 72, and 72 for a 1-over-par total of 217. Rounding out the top three was Theo Humphrey of Greenwich, CT and Andrew Rudy of San Diego, CA. Both contestants shot 3-over-par totals of 219.
We caught up with Higa after the round to discuss his thoughts on the victory. “I played really well this weekend. Of the two courses my favorite was the New Course. It allowed for more shot making” said Higa, who will head back to Japan later this week with additional hardware for his trophy case.
The Boys U-14 Division came down to the final few holes as Anthony Perrino of Mooresville, NC took the crown with a 4-under-par, 212. Perrino came out of the gates with a vengeance and credited an eagle on No. 14 of the New Course to his strong start and opening round of 72. Continuing his stellar play, Perrino carded a second day performance of 68 on the East/North Course which included an impressive bogey-free back nine of 32, giving him the lead entering the final-round. Consistent play by Perrino would prove to be a recipe for success as he posted a Monday round of even-par 72 to take home the title. Manu Gandas of Gurgaon, India, claimed second place honors. In a back and forth battle between fellow competitor Perrino, Gandas posted rounds of 70, 71, and 73 to finish with a tournament total of 214, only two-strokes out of the lead. Matt Holuta of Indiana, PA snuck up the leader board on Monday to take home third place honors. Holuta fired rounds of 76, 74, and 68 for a total score of 218 to round out the division.
When asked about his play during the weekend, Perrino said the best part of his game was his approach shots. “My iron game was really good, on the North/East I hit most of my shots within 10 feet and putted really well.” Perrino went on to add that he enjoyed playing the New Course but his play was suited for the East/North. This marks his second victory of the season on the IJGT.
In the Girls 15-19 Division, Laura Restrepo of Panama City, Panama walked away the champion. Restrepo played lights out this week, producing two sub-70 rounds of 69 and 68 en-route to a 5-under-par total of 211. Restrepo’s ability to strike the ball well with her irons and consistent putting paved the way for her impressive victory, which included a 17 birdies in 54 holes. In second place was JungHwa Hyun of Deagu, Korea. Hyun had a stellar first round of 67 with six birdies and only one bogey. Hyun would go on to shoot a 1-over-par total of 217 for the entire weekend. Coming in third place was Stephanie Lau of Fullerton, CA. Lau’s game improved as the weekend moved on, carding rounds of 78, 72, and 68 for a three day total of 2-over-par 218.
After the round Restrepo said “the greens were good and the fairways were wide. This allowed me to go low throughout the weekend.” This victory caps off a great season for Restrepo who looks to continue her winning ways next year during her senior season.
In the Girls U-14 Division, Aya Ishikawa of Saitama-Si, Japan had a steady weekend to claim the victory. Ishikawa shot rounds of 71, 77, and 72 for a 4-over-par total of 220. During Ishikawa’s first round she carded a stunning 7 birdies, putting her in position to dominate the division and take home the title. Pinyada Kuvanan of Bangkok, Thailand finished in second place for the weekend, carding rounds of 74, 75, and 72 for a 5-over-par total of 221. In third place was Saya Aono of Hokuto City, Japan. Hokuto finished the weekend with a 9-over-par total of 236.
Ishikawa shared some of her thoughts after the round with us. “The best part of my game this weekend was from inside 100 yards. I was striking the ball real well which allowed me to fire at some pins” said Ishikawa. Ishikawa will look to continue this momentum on the Hank Haney IJGT Asian Circuit
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