IJGT Tournament of Champions

ORLANDO, FL —With the 2009-2010 season coming to a close, the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) made one last stop for their inaugural Tournament of Champions event at Grand Cypress Resort. In conjunction with title sponsor Bridgestone Golf and core partner BMW, the IJGT’s prestigious season ending championship attracted a vast and talented field of junior golfer’s from all over the world. Competitors took part in a three-day 54 hole event on both the North/South and New courses designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Despite several suspensions of play due to inclement weather, the strong field of players was able to battle the elements and stifling heat to put on an impressive display of golf.

In the Boys 16-19 Division, Charles Edler of Fair Haven, NJ took a 2-stroke lead into the final round on Sunday and was able to close the door emphatically to take home first place honors. After firing opening round scores of 72 and 73 on the North/South course, Edler came out firing on Monday and never looked back. Edler fired a 4-under par round of 67 on the New course making a mirage of birdies throughout the day to fuel his victory. Edler finished in red figures with a 3-under par tournament total of 212. Coming in a close second place was Noori Hyun of Centerville, VA. Hyun bounced back from a second round 77 to card a spectacular 3-under par round of 68 on Monday. Hyun finished just 3-strokes behind the leader with a score of 215. Rounding out the top three in the division was George Cunningham of Litchfield Park, AZ. Cunningham finished his tournament with a score of 217.

Finally cooling down after his sizzling final round, the excited Edler sat down with us to talk about his strategy going into the tournament. “I knew going into Monday with a small lead that I needed to shoot in the 60’s on the New course to win the tournament. I just tried to buckle down and focus on my putting and I was lucky enough to make some today.” When asked what the turning point was for him in the tournament, Edler shed some light on what made the difference. “The turning point for me was when I missed a 1 footer on 8. After that, I was able to collect myself and turn things around.”

In an unbelievable display of golf, the Boys 13-15 Division came down to the final hole with Charles Cai of West Windsor, NJ eventually pulling away from the rest of the field. Cai fired rounds of 72, 66, and 72

to capture the crown in the division. Cai finished the tournament 5-under par with a score of 210. Finishing just behind Cai was Saravit Kerdsinchai of Nonthaburi, Thailand (HH IJGA). Kerdsinchai finished in red figures with a score of 211. Taking third place honors was Emilio Maurer Lorente of Howey-in­the-hills, FL. Lorente also posted an impressive total score of 212.

Happy and excited to the win, the humble Cai remained composed and told us how he fended off his competitors. “I just wanted to go out there today and play my game. I tried to stay within myself and not get into any tough situations. I hit my driver extremely well all week and was able to make some important putts to save par.”

In the Boys U-12 Division, Curren Mody of Monmouth Junction, NJ used his solid mental approach to take home first place honors. Mody was consistent throughout his 54 hole event carding back to back rounds of 70 and 71 to finish 4-under par. Mody finished the tournament with a score of 211. Equally extraordinary over the Memorial Day weekend was Anthony Perrino of Mooresville, NC. Perrino went into the final round 1-stroke behind the leader and eventually finished the tournament with a 2-under par 213 score. Local product Zachary Hoskins of Orlando, FL carded three rounds in the 70s for a 215 total to finish in third place.

No stranger to winning on tour, the confident Mody discussed his stellar play with us after Monday’s round. “I made 4 birdies in my final round and that really made the difference for me. I was able to strike the ball well all week and hit some good putts. I tried not to worry about the result and just play my game. It feels great to win this event with such a great field.”

In a dramatic turn of events, the Girls 15-19 Division was decided on the final stretch of holes in a comeback of epic proportions. Monifa Sealy of Glencoe, Trinidad and Tobago went into Monday 5­strokes off the lead and managed to fire a spectacular 69 to take home first place. Sealy finished the tournament 3-under par with a score of 212. Taking second place honors was Ri Hyang Park of Fujieda­Shi-Shizuoka, Japan (HH IJGA). Park jumped out to an early lead after posting rounds of 71 and 67 but was unable to hold on. Park finished with an even par score of 215. Finishing in third place was Yingzhou Yun of Howey-in-the-hills, FL with a 1-over par score of 216.

After joking with her coach about winning the tournament on Sunday, the shocked Sealy took a minute to talk about her amazing comeback trail. “I was 5-strokes behind the leader and I just tried to fight and chase down the leader. I couldn’t believe it when I found out I won.” Winning for the fourth time this year, Sealy talked a little bit about what went well for her this weekend. “I drained a lot of putts when I needed to. Today, I finally found my stroke around the greens.”

Jackie Rogowicz of Yardley, PA composed rounds of 75, 71, and 76 for a wire-to-wire victory in the Girls U-14 Division. Rogowicz dominated the field finishing 7-strokes ahead of her nearest competitor with a score of 222. Gabrielle Weis of Macungie, PA finished the weekend in second place with a score of 229. Weis played extremely well on the New Course but struggled to find her game on the North/South courses. Finishing in third place was Sammi Lee of Winter Park, FL with a weekend total score of 230.

Feeling good after coasting to victory, Rogowicz talked with us about her game and her perceptions of the tournament. “I was nervous coming into the tournament with such a strong field competing. I was happy with the way I played this weekend especially with my short game. It feels great to win this event on such a big stage.”

Entering Monday’s final-round, players were looking to finish strong and receive the coveted IJGT Low Final Round Belt Buckle. This week’s winners were: Boys 16-19 Division, Charles Edler and Theo Humphrey, 67. Boys 13-15 Division, Ben Dietrich, 70. Boys U-12 Division, Curren Mody and Noah Edmondson, 71. Girls 15-19 Division, Monifa Sealy , 69. Girls U-14 Division, Jackie Rogowicz and Mia Zanghetti, 76.

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ABOUT THE IJGT Bridgestone Tournament of Champions

Season-ending championship of the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) series of tournaments for boys and girls. Format is 54 holes of stroke play. Must be IJGT member. All amateur golfers under 19 years of age are eligible for membership, and may play in IJGT tournaments until their 20th birthday, or when they enroll full time in a college or university.

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