Wu, Thibodeau, Choi, Felce, Bai, And Loza Capture Titles At CJGA World Junior Challenge
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2018-01-03
PALM HARBOR, Florida (CJGA) — With a third straight day of cool but calm weather conditions, over 70 Junior Boys from around the world took to the Copperhead Course in the championship flight, at Innisbrook Golf & Resort for the final round of the CJGA World Junior Challenge with the remaining divisions battling it out on the North Course. The two Junior winners, along with the Bantam and Peewee Girls Divisions cruised comfortably to their titles while the Bantam Boys and Peewee Boys Division finished in a close battle for first.
Junior Boys (15-19)
Tianyu Wu of Howey-in-the- Hills, Florida entered the final round with a slight lead over the rest of the field and closed with his lowest round of the week of even par (71) to cruise to a three day total of four over par (218), giving him a four shot victory over runner up John Patrick Miller of Windermere, Florida. Wu, who went into the final round of the 2016 CJGA World Junior Challenge with the lead only to come up just short of a victory was able to learn from his experience last year and hold onto the win in 2017.
“It definitely feels great to come up with the win this year. I learned from last year, to play more positively even when I make a mistake, just to try and make it the best I can be.” Said Wu of how is 2016 experience was able to assist him with his win this year.
John Patrick Miller who finished in solo second place in the Junior Boy’s Division, played steady all week carding three consecutive rounds of 74 for a final total of eight over par 222 (+8).
Junior Girls (15-19)
Lauren Thibodeau of Hampstead, New Hampshire went wire-to-wire in the Junior Girls Division, taking the lead early on day one and never relinquishing it eventually emerging with a four-shot margin of victory over Megha Ganne. Thibodeau who said it was just nice to be on a golf course again, played steady on the North Course at Innisbrook all three days carding rounds of 74-75-72 for a three round total of 221 (+8).
“For me it is obviously really warm and really great to be playing on grass, being from New Hampshire it has been snowing for five weeks, so it is really nice just to be on a golf course”
When asked if she felt if the cooler weather over the past three days in Palm Harbor played a factor in her victory, Thibodeau had this to say. “It was definitely cool so the yardages were a bit of a factor, so for me I had an advantage that I play in cold weather a lot”.
Megha Ganne of Holmdel, New Jersey, who finished in solo second, closed her tournament strong firing a final round three under par (68). The 68 score was the low round of the week for the Junior Girls division and put her just four shots out of medalist honors with a three day total of 12 over par (225).
Bantam Boys (13-14)
Canadian Darren Choi took home medalist honors in the Bantam Boys division with a three-day total of one over par (214). Choi who was playing in his first World Junior Challenge closed his week with a final round 72 to finish one shot ahead of Balthazar Duclos of France. When asked about his round and whether he felt pressure from his playing competitors on the course the Toronto-born bantam had this to say.
“Midway through the last nine I had taken a three-shot lead so I was trying to be conservative, but I kind of lost that so I focused on trying to hold the second place finisher (Duclos) off and just tried to make pars.”
Playing in the final group with Choi, eventual runner up Balthazar Duclos put pressure on Choi early, carding two birdies in his opening four holes. The international player finished the final round with a one under par (70) on the North Course finishing just shy of forcing a playoff.
Bantam Girls (13-14)
Nicole Felce finished her tournament strong, firing 74-72 in her final two rounds on the North Course to cruise to a seven-shot margin of victory over Katie Stinchcomb of Cave Creek, Arizona.
Growing up only four miles away from the Innisbrook Resort, in Holiday Florida, Felce is no stranger to winning the World Junior Challenge. Her win this year marks her fourth time in the winner’s circle at the event across multiple divisions. Felce had great things to say about her experiences at the World Junior Challenge and Innisbrook.
“I love the North Course, I’ve played the course since I was 8 or 9 and I absolutely love it, it’s a great course awesome fairways, awesome greens, so I love it.”
When asked if she would be back again in 2018, Felce had this to say. “Most likely yes, I love playing in the CJGA World Junior Challenge, it’s a great tournament.”
Runner up Katie Stinchcomb carded her best round of the tournament on Saturday, closing with a three over par 74, to finish the tournament seven shots back with a three day total of 232 (+19).
Peewee Boys (12 & Under)
Justin Bai of Lake Mary, Ontario played great all week on the North Course, carding rounds of 67-73-73 for a three day total of even par (213). Bai’s three day total gave him a one-shot margin of victory over Ali Berker of Spain who also played well all week firing rounds of 69-71-74 for a three day total of one over par (214).
Peewee Girls (12 & Under)
Sara Loza of Winter Garden, Florida took top honors in the Peewee Girls division and was the only Peewee Girl to card three consecutive rounds in the 70’s on the North Course. Her three rounds of 75-77-76 gave her a three day total of 228 (+15). Canadian Bonnie Zhai of Surrey, British Columbia took runner up honors in the Peewee Girls division with a three day total of 233 (+20).
The inaugural winners of the World Junior Challenge team competition are the USA team comprised of Grayson Maddox, Maxwell White, John Patrick Miller and Max Coutstopolis.
Tournament Information – CJGA World Junior Challenge (Junior Tour)
About Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort
Operated by Salamander Hotels & Resorts and owned by Sheila C. Johnson, Innisbrook is situated on 900 wooded acres of rolling hills in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and is located just 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport. The resort features 72 holes of championship golf, 550 spacious guest suites and rooms, four restaurants and three bars, the Innisbrook Golf Academy, 11 tennis courts, the luxury Indaba Spa with 12 treatment rooms and state-of-the-art Fitness Center, six heated swimming pool complexes, a nature preserve, and three conference halls with 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Part of Salamander’s Golf Collection, Innisbrook hosts the annual Valspar Championship presented by BB&T at its famed Copperhead Course. For additional information call 727.942.2000 or visit www.innisbrookgolfresort.com
About Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
The 24 diverse communities of the St. Pete/Clearwater area cover a sun-drenched peninsula in the Tampa Bay area, from Tarpon Springs at the far north to Tierra Verde in the south. Much of the area’s appeal comes from the award-winning white sand beaches and eclectic small towns. For the fourth year in a row, St. Pete/Clearwater garnered more recognition than any other Florida destination on TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards of Top 25 U.S. Beaches. Making the honored list this year were local favorites St. Pete Beach at No. 3 and Clearwater Beach at No. 4.
In addition to the world-class beaches, the area’s thriving art scene offers a mix of local and internationally acclaimed galleries and museums, including 80+ urban murals, the Dali Museum and Chihuly Collection in St. Pete. Visit the small town of Dunedin where each year the city celebrates its Scottish heritage with the annual Highland Games. In Clearwater, Winter, the star of the famous box office hits “Dolphin Tale” and Dolphin Tale 2” calls Clearwater Marine Aquarium home.
For more inspiration and trip ideas, head to VisitStPeteClearwater.com
Canadian Junior Golf Association
The Canadian Junior Golf Association (CJGA) is a “registered Canadian amateur athletic association” (RCAAA) not-for-profit registered federally with Revenue Canada. The CJGA is dedicated to providing Canada’s junior golfers with the necessary skills and knowledge required to lay a foundation for a future in competitive golf.
Through its six-stage competitive development program that focuses on tournaments, clinics, international competitions, and mentoring programs with PGA Tour professionals, the CJGA introduces the game to juniors as young as five and offers competitive multi-day events for the more advanced golfer. The CJGA acts as a feeder system to provincial and national competitions, collegiate and university golf, as well as professional and recreational golf. For more information, please visit www.cjga.com.
The Canadian Junior Golf Association is generously supported by its National Partner, Freedom 55 Financial, which provides financial security advice and planning for Canadians.