3rd Annual BJGT Tour Championship
BJGT Tour Championship @ Penn State
State College, PA, July 11th, 2022 — Buckeye Junior Golf Tour was back at Penn State Golf Courses this weekend for our 3rd Annual BJGT Tour Championship. This tournament has always produced an extremely talented field with great sponsors. We were able to hand out Strackaline yardage books this past weekend to all of our players. Strackaline is a leading yardage book company that produces yardage books for some of the best colleges in the nation. We also gave away custom made BJGT Scorebook Holders from Go To Caddie. These got high praise and all of our players seemed to really enjoy them. Taylormade was a sponsor for the 2nd straight year and we handed out 2 sleeves of their leading golf ball, the TP5. Along with Short Par 4, our official player of the year sponsor, we got all of our participants some awesome registration prizes. Penn State Golf Course-Blue Course is an extremely American style golf course. With its woodlined Front-9 showcasing some of the hardest holes on the course and its open but water hazard filled Back-9, a good score on this course is a really great feat for any player. Let’s dig in below on who was able to win this AJGA PBE Star tournament!
Round 1 – Saturday, July 9th — For some reason we always have the best weather out at Penn State. A slightly breeze was rolling in to a sunshine filled day. Perfect weather for going low.
The hardest hole for our Boys 15-19 in Round 1 was the 14th-handicap, 14th-hole. Although this Par-3 has a high handicap it is anything but easy. The hardest part about this hole was probably the tough front pin placement. You get tricked into thinking to club down as the hole sits below on elevation and a front pin but with how hard this hole was playing it tricked a lot of our players with that. The hole produced only 2 Birdies from the entire field. One from recent BJGT Champion at our College Golf Prep Series @ Kent State, Dimitrios Townsend from Bethesda, MD and another from BJGT staple Tyler Kimble from Westminster, MD. Per usual Hole-18 was playing the easiest in Round 1 for our Boys 15-19. This hole almost always gets the easiest hole award for Rounds because it’s always giving up tons of Birdies and even sprinkles in a few Eagles. Round 1 for the Boys was no different. 18’s only defenses sit on the left side of the hole. Most of our players will not put it far enough right or hit it short enough to land in the right-side pond so you can basically take that out of the equation. If you land in the fairway you can really take it to the hole from the right-side. An astonishing 37% of the field found Birdies on 18 in Round 1. It was shaping up to be a really fun tournament as we had an outrageous 6 players within 1 stroke of each other at the top of the Leaderboard. Zachary Wilcox from Street, MD and Riley Ruby all the way from Atlanta, GA sat at the top with their Even Par, 72’s. Sitting right behind them with 73’s were Evan Jozwiak from Sinking Spring, PA, Logan Monzak from Elizabeth, PA, Brady Manning from Downingtown, PA and Joseph Sembrot from Harrisburg, PA. I know you want to keep reading to see how Round 2 finished out for these tough competitors!
The hardest hole for the Girls 14-19 was the 12th-handicap, 13th-hole. This hole plays drastically uphill. Adding some distance to the 316-yards that we put the Buckeye-White Tees at. This makes it very difficult as the 3 fairway bunkers sit right at where your ball will most likely land on your drive. Your only options are really to land it in the fairway or if you can hit a 220+ yard drive try to carry the bunkers on the right and land it over the hills making for an easy approach. Easier said than done, am I right. Hole-13 only offered up one Par on the day and that was to York Junior Golf Championship Winner Elle Overly from Lititz, PA. The Boys really should have taken some pointers from the Girls on how to play Hole-14, as a Field they went under-par on the hole in Round 1! Birdies from Tara Thomas from Erie, PA and Olivia Aronhalt making the trip all the way from Powell, OH led the group. It was tight at the top from the Girls as well as Tara Thomas and Elle Overly led the Division after Round 1 with their +2, 74’s. They were followed closely behind by Hannah Higgins making the trip from North Canton, OH. Both the Boys and Girls Divisions were shaping up to be an awesome Round 2 to watch!
Hole-14 was a tough one for the Boys all around in Round 1. The Boys 10-14 also found that it was playing the toughest. Ty Swann from Gambrills, MD came in clutch though with his Par to help out the group average. The Buckeye-Whites were a weird Tee in Round 1. The Boys actually found that Hole-13 was playing the easiest in Round 1. The stretch of Holes 13-14 were producing some interesting scores all around in Round 1. Joshua Rusmiesel from West Alexander, PA, who played on the Buckeye Cup Winning Western PA team last year, Birdied the hole helping to lower the average to Even Par for the Division. Ty Swann led the group of Boys 10-14. He was followed behind by Ethan Bobonski from Clinton, PA.
Round 2 – Sunday, July 10th – About the same weather our 2nd day of the tournament but with less wind.
Hole-8 another tough Par-3 was playing the hardest for the Boys 15-19 in Round 2. I think Penn State needs to check their handicaps because this hole is ranked as the 2nd-easiest on the golf course. A 210-Yard straight up shot is no easy feat. This hole is also surrounded by 4 bunkers 2 on each side sitting in the front, so don’t land short. Less than 25% of the field were able to find Pars on the hole. Once again Hole-13 shows up. It was playing the easiest for the Boys 15-19 in Round 2. A lot of the Boys in this Age Group have the distance off the tee to clear all the hard stuff, making for some easy Birdie chances. 4 of the players in the Field were able to pull that off and a ton of others were able to pick up Par’s. In the end it was Evan Jozwiak shooting a Round 2, 74, to come in as our Champion! The name of the game out at Penn State is consistency and Evan really exemplified that in the tournament. Evan had 29 Pars or Better to lead the Field. That is an extremely impressive stat to have in a 36-hole tournament. Evan also led the field on the Par-4’s in the event. We always see a lot of our Champions lead on Par-4’s and it is always an important stat to have. Evan showed a ton of mental fortitude after a rough 7th-hole for him he really turned it around and basically won the tournament for himself by Birdieing Holes 9-11. A Birdie or Better streak is always great to have but it doesn’t get much better when you do that on the Back-9 of a Tour Championship when you are near the top of the Leaderboard. Great tournament Evan you beat out a stack field and earned that AJGA PBE Star! Caden Blanchette from Manchester, PA and Zach Wilcox from Street, MD came in as our Division Runner-Up’s. Caden had his short-game working throughout the tournament. He played the best on the Par-3’s in the event. This was not easy to do after seeing that the 2 hardest holes on the weekend, 8 and 14, were Par-3’s. Caden parred every single Par-3 in the tournament, WOW! Caden also played the easier Back-9 the best in the tournament going -1. Great tournament Caden, you just keep getting better and better and it really showed this weekend getting Runner-Up against a great field. Zach was the complete opposite owning the Par-5’s in the tournament. He tied the best score in the tournament on those holes, going -3 on them in the tournament. We are really going to miss Zach on tour next year. He is always in a great mood and backs that with even better play. Best of luck at Methodist University next year Zach! A great ending to the Tour Championship with 5 players within 2 strokes of each other at the end of Round 2 it was super fun to sit out and watch these final groups coming in!
With all the Girls so close together to start Round 2, they all started off a little nervous. They were having the most trouble with Hole-1. Hole-1 is a medium tough hole sitting at the 9th-handicap. Watch out for the right side of the Fairway as a large bunker sits right in the driving distance from the Buckeye-White Tees. The green is surrounded on all side by bunkers so a good approach shot is necessary for a good score. Pars from Hannah Higgins, Madison Kuratani coming all the way from Kapolei, HI and Elaina Seeley from Circleville, OH led the way on the hole. Hole-16 one of the tougher holes on the course and sitting at 365-yards for the Girls was the easiest hole for them in Round 2. This hole features an astonishing 7 bunkers, with 5 of them being fairway bunkers. You have to hit your drive in the middle of the fairway to have a good score on the hole, which is no easy task with the way the hole dog-legs. Madison Kuratani continued her impressive Round 2 by having a Birdie on the hole. Tara Thomas shook off a tough Front-9 and put in an Even Par Back-9 to come in as our Champion. Tara led the division with the Most Pars, 26. Consistency was clearly the goal out at Penn State as both of our Champions had a ton of Pars. Tara also had her short game working leading the Division on the Par-3’s as well. Congratulations on a fantastic tournament Tara! Hannah Higgins came in as our Division Runner-Up. Hannah keeps getting better and better every tournament she plays with BJGT. That really showed this weekend as she followed up her 3rd-place finish at the College Golf Prep Series at Kent State with a Runner-Up finish in the Tour Championship. Hannah led the Division with 4 Birdies. Hannah also dominated the way tougher Front-9 going an insane +4 on those holes throughout the tournament. Hannah is always in a great mood after every tournament but she looked even more happy than she usually does after getting her Runner-Up flag this weekend. Congratulations on a really great tournament Hannah!
Hole-6 was playing the toughest for the Boys 10-14 in Round 2. Hole-6 is a straightaway but tough Par-4..The main difficulty lies in the green which is surrounded on both sides in the front by 2 very large bunkers. There is also another bunker that sits about 20 yards behind the front side bunker for those that land it even shorter than they intended. It is best to club up on your approach on this hole to make sure you clear those bunkers as rolling off the backside of the green is not the worst thing that can happen. Ethan Bobonski’s Bogey on the hole led the group. The easiest hole for the Boys 10-14 in Round 2 was the hardest hole on the course from the Buckeye-White Tee’s. Hole-9 is an extremely tough Par-5. Sitting at 447-yards the distance is no joke even from the White Tees. A huge dog-leg sits in the middle of the hole but getting to it you would absolutely need to crush your drive. Most of us land on the bottom of the hill and have to layup our approach shot. The hardest thing about the approach and I am sure they are there by the design are 2 huge bunkers on the sides of the fairways sitting about 100-yards off the green. If you do plan to crush it and go for the green there are 3 greenside bunkers at the front waiting to catch any stray balls. Stay in the middle of the fairway the entire time on this hole and you will be fine. Ethan Bobonski continued his stellar Front-9 and picked up a Birdie to put some pressure on Leader Ty Swann. In the end Ty Swann would shoot an Even Par on the Back-9 and come in as our Champion! Ty led the Division with the Most Pars, 18. As you can tell this stat was the key to winning this weekend. Ty also took home the sweep by playing the Par-3’s, 4’s and 5’s all the best. He dominated the much easier Back-9 throughout the tournament. Another main reason Ty took home the Champion flag was his mental game. He went on a Bogey Free Streak from Holes 13-18 in Round 2, extremely impressive. Congratulations on a fantastic tournament Ty! Ethan Bobonski came in as our Runner-Up. Ethan was extremely good on the much harder Front-9 at Penn State. He was the only player in the Division to have a Birdie on the Front-9. Ethan had a nice little Bogey Free Streak himself from Holes 9-11 in Round 2. Great tournament and congrats to Ethan!
It was so great to be back at Penn State for another awesome Tour Championship. The staff at Penn State are tremendous and love junior golf. We want to personally thank Joe Hughes and Andy Breon for their wonderful service. We want to again thank all of our sponsors for the tournament including the Comfort Inn and Suites-Near Penn State, Go To Caddie, Strackaline, Short Par-4 and of course TaylorMade! Don’t forget about our tournaments coming up at PB Dye and Dauphin Highlands. These are 2 extremely well known and well-manicured courses that are close and were asked to be put on the schedule this year, don’t miss out!