CAROLINAS - GEORGIA
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Carolinas - Georgia
The field is set for the 2016 edition of the Carolinas Georgia Junior Championship and it includes another star studded lineup of players.
Jennifer Chang returns to defend her 2015 title in the girls division and she enters the tournament having won the last three events on her 2015 schedule. Chang, the current number one player in North Carolina, will be joined in the field by 2015 Carolinas Golf Association POY and 2015 SCJGA Beth Daniel POY, Ashley Czarnecki of Greenville. Eight of the top 10 players from last years’ tournament will be on hand to challenge Chang and Czarnecki for the title.
In the boy’s division, last year’s runner-up, Jake Carter, of Aiken, will be back to try and capture the title following a playoff loss last year. He will face stiff competition from current SCJGA champion and 2015 CGA POY, Christian Salzer, of Sumter. North Carolina’s Nicholas Lyerly, currently the state’s top ranked player will lead a strong contingent the state’s top juniors as they chase the individual title and try to defend their team title as the best junior program in the three states of Georgia, South and North Carolina. Chandler Eaton, a Duke signee, will lead the Georgia boys’ team along with Brent Barron, a Georgia Southern signee, and States Fort, a Coastal Carolina signee.
The juniors will tee it up for the 36 hole event on January 17th.
FIELD SET FOR THE
8TH ANNUAL CAROLINAS GEORGIA JUNIOR
2016 Boy's Division
Will Kahlstorf & Eric Bae
2016 Girls's Division
DAY 1 AND DAY 2
Mother Nature was the winner early on day 2. A hard frost met the players as they arrived at Mt. Vintage to begin their preparations for round 2. After a one hour frost delay, play began for the final round.
In the girl’s division, it became clear very early that the defending champion, Jennifer Chang, was in complete control. Beginning the day with a one shot lead, Chang played flawless golf on a difficult day and cruised to an eight shot victory over Elizabeth Nguyen and 14 year old Smith Knaffle. The eight shot victory margin established a new record for both divisions as Chang posted the low round for the girls each of the two days, firing a 1-over par 73 on day 2. Nguyen, from Pinehurst, North Carolina, fired the second low round of the day, a 2-over par 74, to go with her opening round of 79. Knaffle, from Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, posted a second round 77 to go with her opening round 76.
An old fashioned shootout is the best way to describe the boy’s division on day 2. First round leader, Preston Topper, struggled early and opened the door for a number of golfers. At one point during the front nine, Brady Hinkle and Eric Bae were tied for the lead at 3-under par. When Hinkle ran into troubles on the inward half, Bae appeared to be headed for victory as he made his way around the back nine. After a bogey on the 14th hole, Bae pars on the final four holes to end his tournament at 1-under par. In the group behind Bae, Will Kahlstorf, was making a move of his own as he headed down the stretch. After a bogey on the difficult 14th, Kahlstorf was at even par for the tournament and one behind Bae. Pars on the 15th and 16th left him one back with two to play. A bogey on the uphill 17th hole appeared to put the tournament out of reach with only the par 5, 18th remaining. Two great shots on the final hole left Kahlstorf short of the green. In vintage Larry Mize style, Kahlstorf holes out from short of the green for an eagle on the last hole to tie Bae for the championship at 1-under par. As darkness and cold temperatures began to set in at Mt. Vintage, the rules and tournament committee members decided to declare co-champions this year in the boy’s division.
The other tournament within a tournament was also being played to crown the team champion for this year’s event. Congratulations to Team North Carolina for defending their title and retaining the “bragging rights” for another year. Final team scores : North Carolina – 1790 South Carolina - 1806 and Georgia - 1835.
Thanks to the players, parents, sponsors, employees, volunteers and coaches that attended this year’s event. We hope to see you next year!!!
Youth rules the day as 15 year old Preston Topper, of Suwanee, Georgia grabs the first round lead in the boy’s division with a fantastic 3-under par 69. He holds a one shot lead over three players, Will Kahlstorf, of Watkinsville, Georgia, Brady Hinkle, of Lancaster, South Carolina, and Brady Keran, of Canton, Georgia. Even with the cold and wet conditions, fourteen players were able to match or better par, setting up a shootout for the championship on Monday.
Experience and youth is the story in the girl’s division. Defending champion, Jennifer Chang, left off where she finished up last year in this event. Chang fired an even par 72 to take a one shot lead over Ashley Czarnecki, the reigning POY in South Carolina and a recent Wofford College signee. These two are not strangers to being at the top of the leaderboard, but will face a challenge from three other players just two shots back. Anna McDonald, Callista Rice, and Jalen Castle look to challenge for the girl’s title should the frontrunners create an opening on Monday.
Weather conditions look to be sunny, but cooler than today heading into Monday’s final round.