IJGT International Junior Golf Tour: Ferguson blows away competition to take Boys 15-19 Division
Vilips wins Boys 14 & Under in playoff, Whaley secures Girls' championship
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) concluded the Major Championship at Palmetto Dunes on a gorgeous Veteran's Day weekend. The Southeast Region Event took place on Nov. 9-10, 2013 and was held on the intricately-designed, yet challenging, par-70 George Fazio course at the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. It was a stacked field, with more than 90 players from 21 states and 18 countries competing for National Rankings and Double IJGT Merit Points. There were countless memorable shots and even a division playoff to keep the many spectators and family members entertained and throughout.
In the Boys 15-19 Division, Ewen Ferguson of Glasgow, Scotland, became a first-time IJGT Major Champion with a spectacular performance. He posted a final score of 69-67--136 through two rounds to take home the trophy by a convincing seven strokes. He also earned the Clazic Belts Low Final Round Award for his 3-under-par 67 performance on the final day. After carding a first-round 1-under-par 69, Ferguson came out strong during the final round, making par on seven of his first eight holes before sinking a birdie on the par-4 No. 9. He followed an even-par 35 front nine with a bogey-free back nine, posting three birdies on Nos. 13, 17 and 18. He totaled 13 pars on the day and turned in a scorching 3-under-par performance on the course's par-4s.
When asked about whether he felt any pressure holding onto his four-stroke lead going into the final round, Ferguson stated, "I think I thrive off pressure...I enjoy it. So, I just try and have fun and shoot a low score."
He did just that, securing the only under-par performance of the tournament.
This was the second event of the season for Ferguson, who recently came in second at the IJGT Island Open at Palmetto Hall on Nov. 2-3, 2013. In three seasons playing on the IJGT, Ferguson has secured victories in two events, and notched second place finishes in his remaining three events.
Rounding out the top three in the Boys 15-19 Division were Tennoshin Ogawa of Ichinomiya-shi, Japan, and Matt Cheng of Taipei, Taiwan, who finished second and third, respectively. Ogawa posted a 73-70--143, while Cheng carded a 76-71--147.
The Boys 14 & Under Division saw Karl Vilips of Melbourne, Australia,
grab his second consecutive IJGT victory and first IJGT Major Event win.
After a first-round 76 gave him a six-stroke lead, Vilips faced an
impressive comeback effort from Takafumi Shimoji of Okinawa, Japan, in
the final round, where a one-hole playoff was required to determine the
victor. Vilips posted a final-round 79 consisting of 12 pars and one birdie,
as well as an overall 1-under-par score on the course's two difficult par-5s.
After coming into the clubhouse with a final score of 155, Vilips and
Shimoji headed to hole No. 1 for the sudden-victory playoff, where Vilips
would par and Shimoji would bogey the hole, giving Vilips the win in a
tense matchup between two friendly competitors.
When asked how this Major victory compares to others, Vilips confirmed,
"Exciting! There was a lot more competition."
Playing in his first IJGT season, Vilips has been lights-out, making this victory his fourth of the year with his most recent coming at the IJGT Island Open at Palmetto Hall on Nov. 2-3, 2013.
Shimoji finished second in the event, carding an 83-72--155. Ryan McCarthy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., landed in third place with an 80-77--157.
Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., emerged as champion in the Girls
Division, where she was able to break past a first-round tie with Kasidy
Beckel of Bluffton, S.C., to grab a five-stroke victory in her first IJGT Major
win. Posting a 73-70--143, Whaley had a fantastic day, sinking 15 pars
including a streak of eight before carding an eagle from 130 yards out on the
par-4 No. 12. Her final-round even-par 70 also gave her the Clazic Belts Low
Final Round Award for her performance.
Reflecting on any pressure she felt during the final round and how she was
able to handle it, Whaley explained, "I did at first because [there's] always
pressure when you want to hold the lead. But once I kept it going and I had a
steady round going, I just didn't really think about it."
This was Whaley's second win of the year and third in two seasons with the IJGT, with her most recent win coming at the Aiken Junior Open at Woodside Plantation on Sept. 21-22, 2013.
Topping off the Girls Division leaderboard were Nikita Arjun of Bangalore, India, in second place with a 77-71--148, and Phyllis Tang of Hong Kong, China, in third with a 74-77-151.
The IJGT' returns to action on Nov. 29-Dec. 1 for the Thanksgiving Day Classic at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. To sign up for this Event, or others, visit IJGT.com or call (843) 785-2444
About the IJGT
The IJGT provides exceptional junior golfers with the opportunity to develop and showcase their competitive skills while setting high standards to preserve the traditions and integrity of the game. As a tour that operates primarily throughout the academic year, the IJGT hosts approximately 60 tournaments
annually. In addition, the IJGT hosts three international events. Each event provides multi-day competition for junior golfers of all skill levels ages 9-19. Players representing 45 states and 43 countries around the world regularly compete in events at venues such as TPC Sawgrass, Pinehurst, Bethpage State Park and Harbour Town Golf Links. Official partners of the IJGT include Bridgestone Golf, Quagmire Golf, CHAMP Spikes, AB Golf Designs, Clazic Belts, morodZ, Sundog Eyewear, PURE Grips, The First Tee, Golfweek and the International Junior Golf Academy. To obtain more information about the IJGT, please visit www.IJGT.com or call (843) 785-2444.
About Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a 2,000-acre resort destination located in the middle of Hilton Head Island, S.C., bounded by 3 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach on one side and a sheltered Intracoastal Waterway marina on the other. The resort features three world-class golf courses, an award-winning tennis center, an 11-mile inland salt-water lagoon system for kayaking and fishing, and Hilton Head Outfitters for bike rentals, canoes, kayaks, fishing and much more. The Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour, Hilton Head Island’s largest deep-water marina, located right across from Palmetto Dunes, features waterfront shopping and dining and a wide variety of charters, including nature cruises, dolphin tours, sport crabbing and fishing. For information about activities or reservations, please call 877-567-6513 or visit http://www.palmettodunes.com.
About Greenwood Communities & Resorts
Based in Greenwood, S.C., Greenwood Communities & Resorts has been a leader in the creation and management of award-winning residential and resort communities in the southeastern United States since 1978. Beginning with the award-winning Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C., Greenwood’s mission has always been to create memorable places that foster meaningful and fulfilling lives. For more information, please call 843-851-3554 or visit http://www.greenwoodcr.com.