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Junior Orange Bowl: International players dominate
Mizuki Hashimoto (L) and Andrey Borges (Jr Orange Bowl photo)
Mizuki Hashimoto (L) and Andrey Borges (Jr Orange Bowl photo)

The Junior Orange Bowl has long drawn players from around the world to South Florida, but rarely has the international flavor of the game been on display as much as in 2020.

In leaderboards dominated by international players, Andrey Borges of Brazil and Mizuki Hashimoto of Japan took home the boys' and girls' titles, each having to close it out on the final shot of the tournament.

Nine of the top ten places on the boys' side were taken by foreign-born players, led by Borges, who stood in the fairway on the par-5 18th when he saw his friend racing toward him from the green to tell him he needed to birdie the final hole to win. He did just that, leaving his second shot just short of the green and chipping to three feet. He finished at 4-under 280.

Hashimoto's win was no less tight but a little more harrowing. She stepped to the final hole with a seemingly comfortable three-shot lead, but hit a tree with her drive and, despite plenty of people assisting in the search, suffered a lost ball and a return to the tee.

"Panic" was the word she used to describe how she felt, even after finding the fairway with her third shot. She still managed to hole out for a two-shot win at 1-under 283.

The girls' leaderboard was even more internation than the boys', with the top 22 finishers from outside of the United States.

ABOUT THE Junior Orange Bowl

72-hole invitation-only event. Players must not have reached their 19th birthday by the end of the tournament and must not be participating on a College/University team. The field is limited to a maximum of 72 Boys and 42 girls representing US and Foreign Countries. There are no age categories and there is no cut during the Championship. Invitations are sent out in mid- September. The tournament's alumni list includes current professional players Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and Lexi Thompson.

The golf tournament is just one of 15 competitions among The Junior Orange Bowl Festival. This volunteer-led, not-for-profit organization hosts athletic, academic, and cultural competitions that draw over 7,500 youth from Miami, the State of Florida, across the United States, and over 76 countries worldwide to compete. The annual marquee event rounding out each festival season is the Junior Orange Bowl Parade, a community based youth parade that travels through the historic streets of Coral Gables featuring high school and college marching bands, floats and various youth and community groups attracting over 35,000 families, friends, and neighbors. It dates back to 1948.

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