BJGT Tour Championship
BJGT Tour Championship at Penn State presented by Taylormade
State College, PA, July, 12 2021 — The tournament we have all been waiting for! The 2021 BJGT Tour Championship finally arrived it delivered in every way possible. Penn State Golf Club’s has proven to be the perfect destination for this tournament. This was our biggest tournament we have ever had with almost 100 participants; we want to thank each and every player and spectator who joined us to make this event possible. We want to thank Taylormade for being such a great sponsor for this tournament. All the balls that they gave away, the tee marker signage and Taylormade banners that were up around the course truly made this feel like a high-class special tournament.
Round 1 – Saturday, July 10th — A beautiful day of golf was handed to us. Sitting right in the middle of the Nittany Valley there was sunshine and a few clouds passing by for our tee times. A beautiful scenery to start this terrific event.
The Boys 15-19 Division was having the most trouble with the 190-Yard, Par-3, 14th-hole. This is a scary tee shot for a Par-3. Not only is the distance extremely hard your tee shot has to travel over a large pond in front of the green. Perfect accuracy is needed. Furthermore, any wind and a back pin location can make this hole play more like 210 from the Buckeye-Black Tees. The lone Birdie of the Round on this hole came from Pittsburgh Junior Golf Open Runner-Up, Kyle McClintock from Venetia, PA. The easiest hole in Round 1 for the Boys came on the closer of the Front-9, Hole-9. This is a relatively short Par-5, sitting at only 518-yards. An easy distance for most of the Boys 15-19. The fairway bunkers really do not come into play as they sit 397-yards up from the tee. Not even the biggest hitters on tour are crushing the ball 400-yards. The only worry really comes close to the green. As the 3 large greenside bunkers can catch a stray ball. If anything add some extra distance and roll off the back to give yourself a better chance at earning at least a Par if you do not hit the green. Blake Bertolo, from Gibsonia, PA, our Pittsburgh Junior Golf Open Champion in 2021 earned the highest mark on the hole, earning an extremely well-deserved Eagle! E. Alexander Brooks one of the most well-known members on Buckeye Junior Golf Tour dominated the 7,013 yard course in Round 1, going an amazing +1 (73) to be atop the 63-man field. E. was followed closely behind by a cast of great players including Kyle McClintock, Benjamin Chamberlin from Germantown, MD, Blake Bertolo and Trevor Heid from Churchville, MD who all shot a +2 (74), respectively.
The toughest hole for the Girls in Round 1 was the absolutely brutal 3rd-Hole. The #1 handicap out at Penn State Golf Clubs-Blue Course this hole was eating players up all weekend. Playing an iron off the tee might be the smart move here as only about 170-Yards was needed from the Buckeye-White Tees to land it at the edge of the dog-leg. Complete accuracy is needed however as large trees stand all along the left and right side. The hole dips very low then you have to add a bunch of distance to fight your way back up the hill. 3-large green side bunkers surround the hole making it even more difficult. Like most the holes on the Blue Course going long over the green is actually not the worst thing that can happen. Landing short, right or left is much worse. Only 20% of the Girls field was able to find Par’s on the hole in Round 1. The easiest hole for the Girls in Round 1 was the easiest Par-5 on the course Hole-5. You have to capitalize on this hole to be near the top of the Leaderboard. A small pond sits left off the fairway at 260-Yards. A good drive could reach there but just a little accuracy off the tee and you can land in the middle of the fairway. Once again, the green is surrounded by frontside green bunkers. A long approach is fine. Elle Overly our Champion at the York Junior Golf Classic, from Lititz, PA and Brooke Graham from Carlisle, PA, a Qualifier from the Lancaster County Junior Golf Tour both gained strokes on the rest of the field by taking advantage of the hole and making Birdies. Marissa Malosh from South Fayette, PA was atop the leaderboard for the Girls in Round 1 going +4 (76). Marissa was followed closely behind by 2020 Tour Championship Winner Sydnee Gaines from Middle River, MD with a +5 (77).
The Boys 10-14 were also having a lot of trouble with the extremely difficult 3rd-hole. Zachary Rengen from Mechanicsburg, PA was the only player in the 12-man field to Birdie the hole and was 1 of only 2 players in the field to Birdie the hole the entire weekend. Great job Zachary! The Boys 10-14 were dominating the 2nd-hardest hole on the course in Round 1. The giant 12th-hole that plays 524-yards from the Buckeye-White Tees. The 12th-hole is a bear but it plays downhill almost the whole way. Long hitters will feast out here. A small creek sits 70-yards before the green so make sure you approach is well placed. This is one hole that does not allow you to roll off the back as a large bunker sits on the back right. Ben Miller earning his spot as a SPJGT Qualifier from McMurray, PA and Sebastian (Sebby) Elias from Lancaster, PA both made Birdies on the long-winding 12th to gain a stroke on the rest of the field. Tyler Fortney, Champion at the Gettysburg Junior Golf Classic and Gettysburg Junior Golf Open, from Waynesboro, PA and Jesse Shue, Champion at the Baltimore Junior Golf Classic, from Columbia, PA both lead the Division going -1 (71). Great Rounds from two fantastic players. They were followed closely behind by 3rd-Place finisher at the Gettysburg Junior Golf Open, Aidan Tudor from Mount Airy, MD with an Even Par (72).
Round 2 – Sunday, July 11th – In a surprising twist the hardest hole for the Boys 15-19 in Round 2 was the 2nd-easiest hole on the Course the 202-yard, Par-3, 8th-hole. Most of the Boys were reaching the 8th-hole by the time the wind came barreling into the course. 202-yards on a Par-3 is no joke to begin with let alone with a strong head wind and uphill tee shot, Yikes! Only 2 Birdies were earned throughout the entire day one from Washington DC Junior Golf Shootout Winner Horace Pennix III from Clinton, MD and one from Washington DC Junior Golf Classic Winner Alexander McClain from Reston, VA. Once again, the Boys 15-19 putting a hurting on Hole-9, playing it the best for the 2nd consecutive Round on Sunday. Around 12% of the field earned themselves Birdies on this hole. Ben Saggers from West Chester, PA and our Winner at the Gettysburg Junior Golf Open shot a blistering Round 2 4-under-par (68) to come back and win Champion at the 2021 BJGT Tour Championship. Ben led the division with 29 Pars-or-Better throughout the tournament. He also capped off his Round 2 with an Eagle on Hole-18 in Round 2. Ben’s accuracy was in full effect leading the Division on the Par-3’s going -1 on those 8-holes in the tournament. Not an easy feat when you look at the difficulty of the Par-3’s in the tournament. Ben also led the division on the much harder Front-9 going +1 on those 18-holes. Ben also had the longest Bogey-Free-Streak of 14 holes from Hole-17 in Round 1 to Hole-12 in Round 2. An absolutely amazing performance from Ben to come out on top of this 63-Man Field. Ben earns himself $450 in Taylormade Credit, a BJGT framed Trophy Flag, an AJGA PBE Star and an Automatic Bid to the BJGT Tour Championship for the remainder of his high school career. Huge congratulations to Ben on a wonderful performance. A crazy end to the tournament led to a 4-way tie for the Runner-Up spot. Logan Wagner from Quarryville, PA was the Co-Leader for the Par-4’s in the tournament helping himself to 1 of these 4 spots. Kyle McClintock’s amazing -1 performance on the Back-9 also earned him one of the Runner-Up spots. Jack Novis from Lancaster, PA was the other Co-Leader on the Par-4’s to help himself to the Runner-Up pie. E. Alexander Brooks’ Round 1 performance and his well-timed 8 Birdies would also be on the 4. A fantastic tournament in tons of different ways for these 4 gentlemen.
The Girls were playing the course extremely true throughout the entire tournament. In Round 2 they were having trouble with the 3rd-hardest hole on the course The 367-Yard, Par-4 7th-hole. Hole-7’s major defense is the huge dog-leg of the hole. A crushing 230-yard drive is needed to land in the middle of the dog-leg. A nice 140-yard approach shot is needed to land at the center of the green after this. With only 1 greenside bunker the approach is much easier than the drive but still difficult. Sydnee Gaines, Jillian Fidler from Lebanon, PA earning her spot through a LCJGT Qualifier and Alexa Aurand from Hilliard, OH earning her spot through a COGA Qualifier led their division on the hole by simply picking up Pars. The Girls ended the tournament extremely strong by playing the 18th-hole the best in Round 2. Sitting at only 437-Yards this is a much-needed Birdie hole. Playing this hole from the shorter left side is simply not an option with water with a huge water hazard sitting 200 yards up and 3 greenside bunkers protecting the left side. Take the longer route and play it from the right side where there is no trouble. Marissa Malosh capped off a fantastic tournament putting in a signature Birdie for the Win on the 18th! Marissa was simply amazing throughout the event going wire-to-wire through the 36-holes. Marissa played the much harder Front-9 the best in her Division. Marissa earns herself $450 worth of Taylormade Credit, a BJGT framed Champion Trophy Flag, an AJGA PBE Star and an Automatic Bid to the BJGT Tour Championship for the remainder of her high school career! Great job Marissa! Alana Alexander-Giles from Marriottsville, MD played some amazing golf in Round 2 to jump up 2 spots on the leaderboard and earn herself a Runner-Up position. Alana was our Champion at the Washington DC Junior Golf Classic and Washington DC Junior Golf Classic this season. Alana put it on cruise control starting at the end of Round 1 going on a Bogey Free Streak from Holes-16 to Hole-6 in Round 2 to lead her Division in that category. Alana had the consistency working for her for the entire tournament leading her Division on the Par-4’s. Alana earns herself $200 in Taylormade Credit, a framed BJGT Runner-Up Flag and an Automatic Bid into BJGT’s Tour Championship for the remainder of her high school career. Congratulations Alana on a fantastic tournament and a well-deserved Runner-Up finish!
Hole-14 was playing the toughest for the Boys 10-14 in Round 2. This hole is a struggle as we saw from the Boys 15-19 in Round 1. That wind blowing through can snag a ton of golf balls and throw them into the pond. Zachary Rengen once again gets featured in the highlights with his Birdie on the hole, being the only player in the Boys 10-14 to do so. Hole-18 must have been the money hole from the Buckeye-Whites in Round 2 as the Boys 10-14 were playing it the best. Colin Ford helped lower the average for the hole in a big way with his Eagle on the 18th! Colin was the only player in the Boys 10-14 to record an Eagle in the tournament. Great finish to the Tour Championship Colin! Tyler Fortney battled it out with Jesse Shue and Aidan Tudor all day but was able to play well enough down the stretch to be crowned Champion! Tyler gets a little redemption this year after losing the Tour Championship last year to Dylan Ramsey in a playoff. Tyler led the division with the Most Pars or Better at 30. Tyler also absolutely dominated the much harder Front-9 at Penn State going an amazing -1 on those holes throughout the tournament. Tyler wins $450 worth of Taylormade Credit, a Framed BJGT Champion Trophy Flag and an Automatic Bid into the BJGT Tour Championship for the rest of his playing career. Congratulations on another fantastic tournament and a great win Tyler! Jesse Shue played Jesse Shue golf throughout the tournament. Jesse came in as our Runner-Up. Calm, Cool and Collected this guy doesn’t get rattled EVER and stays the course. Jesse got in the zone going 14-holes without a Bogey from Hole-9 to Hole-4 in Round 2. Jesse earns himself $200 in Taylormade Credit, a Framed BJGT Runner-Up Flag and an Automatic Bid into BJGT’s Tour Championship for the rest of his playing career. Here’s to many more great tournaments Jesse, this was a big one!
We want to thank everyone for coming out to this tournament. Our Tour Championship means so much to us and we wanted to offer all the players fantastic prizes, player gifts, highlighted trophy flags and other items for being Members with our tour. Every single one of you mean so much to us and we can’t thank you enough. We want to thank Taylormade who was a huge contributor into making this such a successful tournament. Their strong support of junior golf is one reason they are such a strong brand and will continue to be a huge player in the world of golf for many years. We want to thank Short Par 4 for their sponsorship of our tour. They are always giving us cool things to give away and are an influential brand in this day and age. We want to thank Confidio for being a huge tour sponsor. Their support of BJGT made many of the prizes and cool things that we gave away possible. We want to thank the wonderful staff out at Penn State especially Steve Eskey who is a huge supporter of junior golf and our tour mission. We especially want to thank all the spectators out there this weekend. As many of you know we are a small staff of 2 people here at BJGT. Many people ask us how we pull off these great events with a quarter of the staff of some of the other junior tours and it’s because of our parents and spectators understanding that our first and foremost goal is the success of your child in life and in the game of golf. This tour has grown from a small 7 event tour 4 years ago to a leader in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region and you as supporters of the tour are the main reason for that. If you had a good time please continue to spread the word, it means so much to us if we hear that someone else joined our tour at the recommendation of another parent. From Me (Arick Downard-Executive Director) and Dan Schwenkel (Director of Operations) thank you for an amazing experience this weekend and we hope to see you at many more events in the 2021 Season!