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South Carolina Captures Team Title


With nine holes to play Monday afternoon, the leaderboard of the girls division was crowded at the top. SCJGA player of the year, Reona Hirai, was protecting a 1-shot lead over 2-time defending champion, McKenzie Talbert and a 2-shot lead over fast charging Louise Oxner. Three shots behind were Janet Mao and first round co-leaders Sydney Legacy and Madison Moosa. Hirai struggled with her game on the inward half, recording 3 double bogeys to fall from the leaderboard. Mao and Legacy each recorded 3 bogeys on their inward half as the battle narrowed to Talbert, Oxner, and Moosa. A bogey by Oxner on the 17th hole gave Talbert a 2-shot advantage as she played the 18th hole. A solid par to end her round completed an even par back nine and a 1-over par 73 on the day. Oxner made a par on her final hole to finish with an even par 72, the low round of the tournament and take 2nd place. After some early back nine bogeys, Moosa was able to birdie two of the last three holes to capture 3rd place. With the victory, Talbert had successfully defended her title, giving her three in a row. The victory was bittersweet for the Clemson-bound player, as she indicated that this event may be her last competition in the junior golf ranks.
Not to be outdone by the girls, the boys division was log jammed at the top with nine holes to play. With first round leader Jonathan Keppler playing his front nine in 2-over par, the door was opened and suddenly three players were tied for the lead at 3-under par. The hottest player on the course was Richard Hubbard of Daniel Island. Hubbard had fashioned a 3-under par front nine to forge a tie with Victor Wiggins and Trace Crowe. One stroke behind the leaders was Keppler and Carter Jenkins. As the leaders completed the 13th hole, Jenkins had moved to the lead alone at 3-under with Crowe, Wiggins, and Hubbard one shot back. When Jenkins failed to get up and down from the front of the green on the 14th hole, the four were again tied at 2-under par. Hubbard failed to par the difficult 15th hole and found himself again trailing the other three as each made pars on the difficult par 3. Birdies on the 16th hole by all but Wiggins sent the four players to the 17th tee with Crowe and Jenkins tied at 3-under and Wiggins and Hubbard one shot back. Crowe was able to make a clutch birdie on the par 4 – 17th hole to take a 1-shot lead to the eighteenth over Jenkins, who was playing in the group behind Crowe. Wiggins posted a bogey on the 17th to drop back to 3 shots behind Crowe while Hubbard, two groups ahead, had completed his round and posted 2-under for the tournament. Crowe posted a solid par on his final hole to post 4-under for the tournament and watch Jenkins play the 18th, needing a birdie to force a playoff. A bogey by Jenkins on the final hole gave Crowe a 2-shot victory and dropped Jenkins into a tie for second with Hubbard. Crowe, a 16-year old from Easley, had captured his first Carolinas Georgia Junior and will be the first boy’s champion to be able to defend his title the next year.
In the team competition, South Carolina held on to its first day lead to capture the title with a 17 stroke victory over the North Carolina team and a 48 stroke victory over Georgia.


Four Tied For The Lead in Girls Division

Marietta’s Jonathan Keppler sandwiched six birdies around two bogeys en route to a 4-under par 68 to take a two shot lead over three players after the first round of the Carolinas-Georgia Junior at Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club.  Keppler made his move by making birdies on all four par fives as the field was treated to fantastic weather on day one.  Victor Wiggins of Gastonia, survived a double bogey on the difficult par 3 seventh hole by adding four birdies to his round to lead a group at 2 –under par which includes Trace Crowe of Easley and Taylor White of Duncan.  Carter Jenkins, of Raleigh, is the only other player able to best par as day two will begin with ten players within 4 strokes of the lead.  Jenkins round included 4 birdies and 5 bogeys thru his first eleven holes before he settled down to play his last seven holes two under par.


In the girl’s division, defending champion, McKenzie Talbert made her only birdie of the day on her last hole to post a 1-over par 73 to join SCJGA player of the year, Reona Hirai, Madison Moosa, and Sydney Legacy as co-leaders after round one.  Hirai’s round was full of fireworks as she made seven birdies, two double bogeys, and four bogeys to post her 73.  With four players tied for the lead, the girls division is wide open.


In the team competition, South Carolina leads after day one.


The field will return to the course on day two for a 10:30 shotgun start.