Winners abound at 2011 STPGA Junior Championship

From the opening ceremony to the final trophy presentation, the 2011 STPGA Junior Championship can be considered nothing but a rousing success that will create lifetime memories for the youngsters who played in it.

Contested Aug. 11-12 on the Cypress and Tradition Courses at Cypresswood Golf Club in Spring, the tournament brought the Southern Texas PGA Academy Sports+Outdoors Junior Golf program to an end for the summer of 2011 in a fashion that matched the season-long excitement generated by the program.

“It has been an awesome summer,” said the STPGA’s first-year Junior Golf Manager Thomas Hutton. “And it was a fun summer for me to get my feet wet in. I think we made great strides in giving our kids news opportunities to play golf.”

“We’ve improved, but we still have a way to go,” Hutton added.

The STPGA Junior Championship provided a good marker pointing in the direction the program is headed.

“I think the Championship was a big success,” said Hutton. “We created a major championship feel, and we’ll build on that.”

Events around the Championship, to which members of the STPGA Academy Sports+Outdoors Junior Golf program were invited on the basis of their play in the program throughout the summer, began the afternoon of Aug. 10 with a “Welcome Party” that included a number of activities.

To one side of the area around Cypresswood’s clubhouse was a chipping contest. To the other, on the facility’s practice green, was a putting contest, and a “Demo Day” on the practice range that featured hands on equipment tests from Cobra, Mizuno, PING, TaylorMade and Titleist.

PGA Tour professional Bobby Gates treated an audience of golfers, young and old alike, to a special clinic before a grandstand near the Cypress Course’s 18th hole began to attract the crowd for the “official” opening of the tournament.

That event featured addresses from a number of dignitaries, including Southern Texas PGA President Glenn Lee and Executive Director Mike Ray, and an additional few words of advice from Gates. Following a few group photos (pictures from the event can be found here), the ceremonies drew to a close and all involved headed home to prepare for the following morning’s first round.

Highlights of the nine divisions featured in the 2011 STPGA Junior Championship can be found below, and complete results can be found here.

STPGA Academy Sports+Outdoors
Junior Tour

Cypresswood Golf Club – Tradition Course
Six Divisions, 18 holes per day for 36 hole total

Boys 16-18 Division

Cory BrownCedar Park’s Cory Brown, 16, played in six Junior Tour events this summer, finishing out of first place just twice. His most recent victory came at the STPGA Junior Championship, where he made two circuits of the Tradition Course at Cypresswood Golf Club for a 76-73—149 total and a 2-stroke edge over Chris Schriedel of Helotes.

With Schriedel in second place at 77-74—151, Ryan Rerich of Austin and Joshua Aguilar of Austin finished in a third-place tie at 77-75—152 and 74-78—152, respectively. Jarrod Brown of Groves rounded out the Division’s top five with a score of 76-77—153.


Boys 13-15 Division

Jake McCroryJake McCrory of Deer Park posted a 36-hole total of 73-75—148 to top the Boys 13-15 Division of the 2011 STPGA Junior Championship and complete a sweep of his tournaments on the STPGA Academy Sports+Outdoors Junior Tour summer schedule; the 15-year-old played in six tournaments and won all of them.

“I was very excited to win,” said McCrory, adding that the victory was probably his biggest to date. “I hit my driver very well and my irons were good both days,” he said of the keys to his win. “I made more putts the first day than the second, but I made a lot of pars.”

Following McCrory in a second-place tie were Clay Atkinson of Calliham at 76-76—152 and Dominick Gennuso of Livingston at 72-80—152. Blake Stock of Hewitt and Kyle Hogan of Cypress were knotted in a fourth-place tie, Stock posting an 80-73—152 total and Hogan finishing at 78-75—153.

Boys 10-12 Division

Mason NomeMason Nome stole the show in the Boys 10-12 Division, carding a 73-39—152 total to win the group by 7 strokes. The win marked the 10-year-old Houston junior’s fifth win in seven tries in summer 2011 STPGA Junior Tour action.

“It was fun and challenging to play against the older kids,” said the 10-year-old Nome, winner of his Little Linksters division in last year’s Junior Championship and the runner-up on 2009.

“I did everything correctly this year, except I hit one out-of-bounds in the first round,” Nome said. “My putting came along, I was driving it straight and I was hitting my 5-wood and hybrid well. I had to use those because the course was son long."

Travis Vick of Houston took second place with a score of 76-83—159, followed by Pflugerville’s Ben Constancio in third at 85-78—163. Katy’s Kyle Wang and Austin’s Austin Chung finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with scores of 83-81—164 and 84-85—169.

Girls 16-18 Division

Kassandra RiveraKassandra Rivera of Donna matched a first-round 81 with a second round tally of 80 for a total of 161 and a 4-stroke win in the Girls 16-18 Division of the STPGA Junior Championship. The victory marked her eighth in 10 STPGA Junior Tour events this summer— the 18-year-old finished second in her other two tournaments.

Ana Paredes of San Antonio was the Girls 16-18 runner-up, posting a score of 81-84—165. Corpus Christi’s Kelsey Canales took third place with a score of 83-83—166.

Fourth place went to San Antonio’s Ryeanna Lopez, at 87-84—171, and Crockett’s Ann Holcomb finished fifth at 93-79—172.

Girls 13-15 Division

A steady effort of 78-78—156 earned Huntsville’s Courtney Tibiletti, 15, the top rung in the Girls 13-15 Division of the Junior Championship, the sixth time she earned that distinction in seven summer 2011 STPGA Academy Sports+Outdoors Junior Tour competitions.

Courtney Tibletti“I didn’t let myself get nervous. I just went out and played the course and didn’t worry about anybody else,” Tibeletti said of her winning effort. “It was a pretty good feeling to find out I’d won. It’s a big honor to win the championship tournament against the best golfers from all the areas in the program.”

Tibiletti finished 3 strokes better than runner-up Morgan McClaugherty of Harlingen, who carded an 80-79—159 total.

Reanna De La Cruz of Austin tand Johany Rivera of Spring Branch tied for third place with identical scores of 84-79—163. Fifth place went to Riley Isaac of Conroe, who went 84-79—166.

Girls 10-12 Division

Hailee CooperHailee Cooper of Montgomery ran away with the Girls 10-12 title of the Junior Championship. The 11-year-old finished at 75-80—155, 10 strokes ahead of runner up Ariana Saenz of Porter.

“The first day, I did awesome, better than I expected,” said Cooper. “I didn’t play as well the second day, but I got to play with my best friend (Ariana Saenz), and that helped.”

“It felt really great to win,” Cooper said. “I wanted to win to get in the Inspirity Junior-Am this fall, and I wanted to finally get a trophy. I’ve gotten plaques before, but I wanted a trophy.”

Cooper entered a half-dozen Junior Tour events this summer and won all six.

Saenz finished at 82-83—165, followed in third place by Reid Isaac of Conroe at 93-96—189.

STPGA Academy Sports+Outdoors
Little Linksters

Cypresswood Golf Club - Cypress Course
Three divisions of competition, nine holes per day for 18-hole total

Boys 10-12 Red Tee Division

Junior HernandezJunior Hernandez of Stafford posted a 2-under-par total of 36-34—70 to win the Boys 10-12, Nine-Hole Red Tee Division of the 2011 STPGA Junior Golf Championship by a 4-stroke margin over a quartet of juniors tied for second place.

Hernandez’ scorecards included six birdies against two bogeys and a single double-bogey. The 11-year-old champion had finished in first place in 13 summer 2011 Little Linksters events heading into the championship.

“I feel good about winning because I put so much time into working on it,” Hernandez said. “My putting was good and I was confident . . . I didn’t worry about winning, just about having fun. That helped me relax.”

The four-way tie for second place included Pasadena’s Mateo Saavedra (41-33—74), Roger Zhong (40-34—74) of Katy, Madisonville’s Sam Bennett (37-37—74), and Houston’s Chase Osterman (37-37—74).

Girls 10-12 Red Tee Division

Gurleen KaurHouston’s Gurleen Kaur, 11 years old, posted an 18-hole score of 37-43—80 to win the Girls 10-12, Nine-Hole Red Tee Division of the STPGA Junior Golf Championship by two strokes over Karlei Hemler of Groves, who finished at 43-39—82.

The Championship win was far from Kaur’s first of the year; she finished in first place in eight of the 13 STPGA Academy Sports+Outdoors Little Linksters tournaments she entered this summer.

“The first time I played in this tournament I finished ninth, and last year, I tied for third,” Kaur said, “so it felt really different, really good this year.”

“I think I got a little excited after the first round and was trying too hard in the scone, but my dad helped me settle down. And that helped me win.”

Houston’s Grace Ni took third place at 41-42—83, followed by Tiffany Nguyen of Houston, Kim Clark of The Woodlands and Tenzin Palkyi of Sugar Land, tied in fourth place at 46-43—89, 45-44—89 and 45-44—89, respectively.

Co-ed 6-9 Nine-Hole Modified Tees Division

Jacob BorowJacob Borow of The Woodlands, 10 years old, took his 10th first-place finish in Summer 2011 STPGA Academy Sports+Outdoors Little Linksters tournaments this summer, winning the Co-ed 6-9 Division of the Junior Championship with a score of 38-38—76.

“It felt really good playing against the best and holding up that trophy,” said Borow. “I had to practice a lot, but it was worth it.”

“My short game was really good,” Borow said of the key to his victory, adding that he chipped out of the tree and almost holed out on the final hole of his first round.

Borow finished 4 strokes up on runner-up Evan Perez of San Antonio, who carded a 40-40—80 total.

A trio of juniors tied for third place— Fidel Riojas III of Houston went 47-36—83, Houston’s Jacqueline Nguyen went 42-41—83 and Giovanni Guerra of Corpus Christi posted a total of 41-42—83.

For complete results of the 2011 STPGA Junior Championship’s Junior Tour competition, please click here. For results of the Little Linksters’ divisions, please click here.


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