Birdies Galore at Briarwood
York Junior Golf Championship
York, PA, April 10th, 2023 — Buckeye Junior Golf Tour was back at Briarwood Golf Club for the 5th year in a row this past weekend. With an AJGA PBE Star up for grabs for the Boys 15-19 Division the competition was fierce. Briarwood is a very American style golf course complete with trees and long fairways. The Par-3’s and 4’s are extremely tough out at Briarwood so you need to make sure you take advantage of the easy Par-5’s to keep your score low. Let’s dig into this annual great tournament in the press release below!
Round 1 – Saturday, April 8th — The overcast skies in York provided everyone with a chilly morning tee off for Round 1. Add in some wind and toughing out the first 6 to 9 Holes of the day were going to be key to a good round.
The hardest hole for the Boys 15-19 in Round 1 was the downhill Par-3, 14th-Hole. Sitting at the 6th-handicap this is an extremely tough hole. Club selection is everything as the hole plays about 20-yards downhill. Complete with 3 large bunkers guarding the front left-right of the hole and the back left pinpoint accuracy is going to be needed. There are 2 ways to conquer this hole, play your shot short and hope that you get a good roll up the apron and onto the green. You can also take a hero approach and try to aim long and back right to get your ball to sit at the top of the sloped green or barely roll off into the rough where at least there is not a bunker to swallow your ball up. Only about 30% of the field were able to pick up a Par on this brutal Par-3. The easiest hole, just like it is every year, was the Par-5, 17th-Hole. Sitting at just 491-Yards this short Par-5 has a couple of defenses. The major 35-Yard dog-leg that sits right in the tee off landing zone is the first obstacle to clear. Spray your ball off right and there are 2 bunkers waiting to capture your ball. Go off left and you could end up in the pond or even worse go Out of Bounds. Thankfully only a 260+-Yard drive is needed to clear these obstacles and that is an easy feat for most of our Boys 15-19. An easy approach to green is offered up after this if you land in the fairway. There is a creek that sits about 100-Yards off the fairway but it very rarely comes into play with how short you would have to play your drive. Reaching the green and having a chance for Eagle is an absolute possibility on this hole. That is exactly what Caleb Itzoe from Phoenix, Maryland and Quinn Collins also from Phoenix, Maryland were able to do on this easy Par-5. Kind of crazy to see both kids from the same hometown be the only Players to Eagle the same hole in the same round, that has to be a first in BJGT history. After Round 1 it was Loic Simard from from Saint-Julie, Quebec, Canada and Caleb Itzoe, who was really helped out by that Eagle on 17, leading the Field with 75’s. Loic and Caleb were followed by Andrew Bilson from Lititz, Pennsylvania and Jackson Geyer, our winner at the Baltimore Junior Golf Championship this year, from Havre de Grace, Maryland with 76’s. Round 2 was shaping up to be extremely fun with 7 players within 3-strokes of the lead.
Hole-14 must have been playing extremely tough in Round 1 as the Girls 14-19 found it to be playing the hardest as well. The hole did not allow any Pars from the entire Division in Round 1. The easiest hole for the Girls 14-19 in Round 1 was the 4th-Handcaip, 11th-Hole. Sitting at just 272-Yards this hole is short in distance. The hardest part about this hole though is the approach shot. The hole sits about 15 yards up and would need a good pitching wedge with a lot of loft to land securely on the green. Olivia Kury a local from York, Pennsylvania was able to secure a Birdie on the hole gaining at least a stroke on the rest of the field. After Round 1 that Birdie on 11 helped Olivia Kury to tie at the top of the leaderboard with Elaina Seeley coming all the way from Circleville, Ohio. Vivienne Powers another local from York was sitting in 2nd-Place just 3 strokes off from the Leaders.
In a surprising turn of events the Boys 10-14 were struggling the most with the easiest hole on the course, the Par-5, 2nd-Hole. Sitting at 486-Yards this Par-5 is relatively long for the Boys 10-14 Age Division. The hardest part about this hole specifically for this age division is the bunker that sits exactly 200-Yards off the tee. That is usually around the average driving distance for the Boys 10-14 so undoubtedly it swallowed up a lot of golf balls in Round 1. The green is elevated like many of the other holes at Briarwood the greens are either elevated or downhill, making it extremely hard to land on. Not only that, there is a huge 20-yard long bunker sitting on the left side of the green making sure that you cannot luck your way into bouncing on the green. This hole did not give up a single Par from the Division in Round 1. A couple of holes later the Boys dominated another of the 3 Par-5’s on the Front-9. The 441-Yard, 13th-Handicap, 5th-Hole. A downhill tee shot will add major distance to any drive here. The only other real defense this hole has to offer is the huge greenside bunker on the left. Play this hole from the right the entire way and you are setting yourself up in good position to earn a Par or better. About 40% of the field were able to do that and pick up a Par on this Par-5. Dane Mohap from Nazareth, Pennsylvania continues his extremely strong run to start the year and led the division by being the only player to land in the 70’s for the Boys 10-14. Dane was followed behind by hard swinging Noah Westermann from Millersville, Pennsylvania.
Round 2 – Sunday, April 9th– Happy Easter to everyone! It was an absolutely gorgeous spring day for our Round 2 at Briarwood, which always provides tons of drama.
The Boys 15-19 were once again really struggling with Hole-14. Less than 30% of the field were able to pick up a Par on this tough Par-3. On the other hand Nevin Nardo a local from York, Pennsylvania shocked the field when he earned himself a Hole-In-One on the Par-3, 12th-Hole. This was the 5th 3rd Hole-In-One in BJGT history and a huge congrats to Nevin on his first Hole-In-One of his career. I am sure there will be many more to come with his excellent accuracy. Once Again, Hole-17 was playing the easiest for the Boys 15-19 in Round 2. They did so well on this hole that they actually took it a quarter stroke below Par. Over 33% of the field were able to pick up some much needed Birdies to finish out the tournament strong in Round 2 on this hole. It was a dog fight at the top of the leaderboard like usual at this tournament. Jackson Geyer eventually came out on top posting a Round 2 74 and a 150-stroke total for the tournament. Jackson’s main stat that carried him was his extremely long distance off the tee. Absolutely dominating the Par-5’s on the weekend and taking them to a -3 total in the tournament really helped to secure his spot at the top of the leaderboard. Congratulations to Jackson on picking up his 2nd Career Win on BJGT in this early part of the season! We had a tie for Runner-Up between Andrew Bilson and Andrew Ekstrom. The 2 Andrew’s both played some amazing golf in Round 2. Andrew Bilson took advantage of the many Birdie opportunities he had throughout the tournament tying for the Most Par Breakers with 7. Congratulations on another great year out at Briarwood, Andrew B.! Andrew Ekstrom used consistency to post some great scores. He tied at the top of the leaderboard for Most Pars for the Boys 15-19 with 22. Congratulations on earning Runner-Up in your first ever BJGT tournament Andrew E.!
The Girls 14-19 were having the most trouble with the Par-3, 3rd-Hole in Round 2. This hole’s main defense comes in the way of a creek that flows right before the green. Hitting your tee shot long is the way to go on this hole as even 10 yards off the green is better than having to contend with the creek. This hole also had a brutal hole location for the tournament (sorry everyone) making it hard to earn anything other than a Bogey. The easiest hole for the Girls in Round 2 was the 262-Yard, short Par-4, 7th-Hole. Sitting at the 7th-Handicap this hole is anything but easy. It plays uphill the entire way adding some major yardage to what is supposed to be a short hole. Landing on the green can be difficult as it slopes and undulates throughout. Vivienne Powers and Elaina Seeley were both able to earn themselves some much-deserved Birdies on the hole helping to lower the average and gaining at least a stroke on the rest of the field. Olivia Kury was extremely strong in Round 2 and came in as our Champion. Being from York Olivia knows the ins and outs of Briarwood and took major advantage of having some course experience. Olivia led her division with 16 Pars, earning one at 45% rate on the weekend. Olivia played the easier Back-9 4-strokes better than her nearest competitor helping to move her up the leaderboard. This was Olivia’s 3rd year in a row playing the York Junior Golf Championship and she has moved up from 7th in 2021, 4th in 2022, to 1st in 2023. She just keeps getting better every year and will undoubtedly add more Championship Flags to her trophy case very soon! Elaina Seeley came in as our Division Runner-Up. Elaina intends to play college golf after she graduates in 2024. She is getting looked at by some great schools across the Midwest. A stat that Elaina is used to coming in first in and once again she was crowned the queen of the Par-5’s out at Briarwood. Her long distance off the tee helped her to a +1 on those holes throughout the tournament. Congratulations to Elaina on a fantastic tournament and making the trip all the way from Ohio to represent the Buckeye State!
The Boys 10-14 were also struggling the most with Hole-3 in Round 2. Thankfully, a Par from Dane Mohap on the hole helped to lower the average slightly. The Boys 10-14 took some tips from the Girls 14-19 Division on Hole-11 as they played it the best in Round 2. Mickey Battista from Fulton, Maryland was able to pick up a much-deserved Birdie on the hole gaining at least a stroke on the rest of the Division. In the end Dane Mohap was just too good for anyone to pass and he came in as our Champion. Dane led the division in every single major statistical category putting together one of the best tournaments that we have seen from a player in some time. Congratulations to Dane on his 2nd Champion Flag of the Season and a great tournament all-around! Power swinging Noah Westermann came in as our Division Runner-Up. Noah Co-Led the Most Birdies in the Division with 3. Noah also went on a Bogey Free Streak in Round 1 of 3-Holes from Holes 5-7 helping him to run up the Leaderboard early. Noah takes home the Runner-Up flag a year after earning the Champion Flag last year at Briarwood. Great playing Noah!