Hanover, Pennsylvania — July 20th, 2020 — Buckeye Junior Golf Tour hosted its annual Gettysburg Junior Golf Open at South Hills Golf Club-North/West courses this weekend in Hanover, Pennsylvania. It was a blazing hot weekend with some scores that matched weather. Read below to check out some of the best individual performances our tour has ever seen!
Round 1 – Saturday, July 18th — Hanover, Pennsylvania was in for a hot one Saturday, but luckily, we were one of the first tee times on the day. The only advantage of the heat and dry conditions came off the tee box. Hitting Fairways in Regulation allowed for maximum distance and roll, a common theme on the weekend. The signature hole at South Hills, Hole-4 on the West Course, proved to be extremely challenging for our Older Boys on Saturday. The hole is extremely challenging from the Tips. A drive of over 200 yard is needed to put you at the dog-leg to make sure you have an approach shot to the green. But don’t hit it too far! The ball was running due to the conditions and some found themselves with a great shot off the tee but in the water hazard that stares you down from 250 yards away. From there a pin point 2nd shot is required to land on the extremely small and hard green. Even if you do everything right there’s a 0% chance at Eagle and only a very slim chance for Birdie. Jack Novis from down the road in Lancaster, PA was the only player in the entire tournament to pick up a very well-deserved Birdie. Hole-4 on the North Course was the easiest hole in Round 1 for our Older Boys. The handicap for this hole sits at 8, but the Older Boys made it seem like a walk in the park. A straight up-hill but short Par-5 that is wide-open lets the long bombers take out the driver and crush the ball. It was no surprise that we saw 4 Birdies from the field and barely any players come in higher than a Bogey on the hole. Aaron Sorkin III was our Leader in the Division after Round 1. Aaron hails from Westminster, MD right down the road but had never played South Hills golf course before making his sub-par, 70, an even bigger feat when you look at it. Aaron set all kinds of BJGT Records this weekend on Saturday alone. He tied Devin Smith’s 9-hole record of 33 strokes, he broke Brad Freyberger’s 18-hole record Scoring Record of 71, he broke the 9-hole Relative to Par Record with his -3 and our 18-Hole Relative to Par Record with a -2. An extremely impressive day from an extremely impressive junior golfer. Well done Aaron!
Our Boys 10-14 Division and Girls 14-19 Division always seem to stay true to hole handicaps. It was no different this weekend with our Boys 10-14 division as they found the 2nd hardest hole on the course, Hole-3 on the North Course, the toughest in Round 1. This is a funky hole. A bottle-shaped fairway sits in front of you off the tee box with a pond looming to the right and OB to the left. The pond sits in between you and the 180-yard approach to the green. It’s a lot to ask only 3 holes in! Less than a 33% of the field were able to pick up a par but that was short-lived. Following up what the Boys 15-19 Division did on Hole-4, the Boys 10-14 wanted in on some of that action. Tyler Fortney from Fayatteville, PA and our Runner-Up at our Tour Championship last weekend in his Age Division picked up an elusive Eagle on Hole-4! Tyler is really starting to make a name for himself on BJGT. His hard work and dedication to the game always has him at the top of the Leaderboard. His Eagle propelled him into 2nd-place for Round 1. Benjamin Baker shot a blistering Even Par in Round 1. Benjamin is from Broadlands, VA and people may remember him as our Champion at the Washington DC Junior Golf Championship earlier this season. Benjamin is on a relentless path to shoot Par golf at any course. In his 4 Rounds with Buckeye Junior Golf Tour his scores are 71, 72, 72, 73. Now that’s is some really great golf right there!
Hole 3 from the white tees was no joke Saturday. The Girls also found this hole to be the toughest on the day. Jayden Ford from Rochester, NY and Lillian McNally from York, PA picked up Bogeys on the hole and were probably still happy with those scores, as they lead the field. After a long hot day on the course it was extremely encouraging to see the Girls play Hole-17 the best in Round 1. This is one of the tougher holes on the course with its 5th ranked handicap. With the White Tees placed above the water hazard, the only thing the Girls really had to contend with on this hole are the greenside bunkers and the very large fairway bunker sitting on the right side. Over 80% of the Field picked up a Par on Hole-17 and no one did worse than a Bogey. It was Jennifer Sorkin, the younger sister of Boys Round 1 Leader Aaron Sorkin, who led the Division in Round 1. Jayden Ford using her great play on Hole-3 and elsewhere on the day came in 2-shots behind Jennifer at 2nd Round 1.
Round 2 – Sunday, July 19th – Hole-3 continued its relentless assault in Round 2, causing the Boys 15-19 all kinds of trouble. Playing almost a stroke and half above Par, this odd Par-4 was indifferent on what brand of ball you played, taking numerous causalities. Finding a par was actually pretty good here and with only about 15% of our players doing this in Round 2, it was a great way to pick up some strokes. Once again Hole-4 was allowing our contestants to pull out the big guns. Teegan Humelsine from Chambersburg, PA was claimed King of the Hill in Round 2 on this hole being the second player in the tournament to pick up an Eagle. Teegan took 13 strokes off his game from Round 1 allowing him to come in with a cool 75, on this hot day. Great job Teegan! In the end it was Aaron Sorkin III that was crowned Champion Sunday. Aaron was just too good all weekend and his 14-stroke win is the largest for any BJGT Tournament. Along with some impressive stats, Aaron broke more records on Sunday. Aaron tied Rylan Wotherspoons BJGT 36-Hole Scoring Record with a 144. Rylan was just a Freshman in High School when he achieved this record and a couple months later, he verbally committed to play for the University of Cincinnati’s golf team. With records like this, Aaron looks like he is going to achieve a D-1 Scholarship at a very good golf school. Congratulations on your victory Aaron! For the first time ever on tour we had a 3-way tie for 2nd place. Evan Twyman, a local from Hanover, PA was playing his home course and knew he had a chance to pick up a Runner-Up Finish. Evan was Mr. Consistent all weekend knowing the course like the back of his hand. He led all players in the Boys 15-19 Division with 23 Pars. Congratulations Evan! Daniel Kibe from Silver Spring, MD also picked up one of those Runner-Up positions. As a lot of other players started melting under the afternoon sun, Daniel turned on the jets and finished strong. Daniel had a Bogey Free Streak of 8-Holes in Round 2 form Hole-3 to Hole-10. Congrats to Daniel on his stamina and fantastic score of 78 in the 2nd Round! Last, but for sure not least, Dustin Stocksdale. Everybody from parents to fellow competitors love Dustin on and off the golf course. He lets his game do the talking when out on the course but is always in a great mood post round at scoring. People might know Dustin from his 2 wins on tour this season at the Washington DC Junior Golf Classic and the Washington DC Junior Golf Championship. He owns the DC area tournaments and was looking to start taking down the Gettysburg/York area, making good progress with his Runner-Up finish. Dustin moves to the top the Player of the Year Leaderboard for his Division. Great job once again Dustin!
Once again in Round 2 the Boys 10-14 were having a lot of trouble with the relentless Hole-3. Nathan Eldridge from Owings Mills, MD and Sebby Elias from Lancaster, PA were able to pick up a ton of strokes on their fellow competitors by achieving par on this hole in Round 2. Nathan had a tremendous Round 2, improving by 7 strokes and carding a 78. Hole-4 was allowing everyone to beat up on it in Round 2. This hole was the complete opposite of number 3, letting everyone in the tournament have a chance for Birdie. It played under Par for our Younger Boys, allowing 4 Birdies in the process. Benjamin Baker held strong to his lead finishing with a Round 2, 73. Benjamin is a Par and Birdie Machine leading his Division with 30 Pars or Better throughout the weekend. A common theme we saw from our Champions and Runner-Ups this weekend was playing the much easier Back-9 better than the rest of the field. Benjamin did just that having an outrageous -4 on the Back-9! Benjamin takes home another Champion flag in as many tournaments. Congratulations Ben! Tyler Fortney was once again at the top of the leaderboard. In all of Tyler’s tournaments he has played with us, I don’t think I have ever seen him drop below 3rd-place on the Live Scoring Leaderboard. This kid gets it done on the golf course! It is pretty rare when we see an Eagle from our Younger Boys and so seeing 13-year old Tyler pull that off in Round 1 was just awesome! Another weekend, another trophy flag for “The Fort”, it’s getting to be like clockwork for him. Well done Tyler!
Hole-13 showed its teeth for the Girls in Round 2. Jennifer Sorkin and Cassidy Miksich from Tyrone, PA made Bogeys on the hole, but it was enough to gain at least 1 stroke on the rest of the field. After the headache that is Hole-3 out at South Hills, Hole-4 was like a cool drink of water for everyone on this hot Summer day, once again playing the easiest for the Girls. Jennifer Sorkin would not let anyone take her hard-earned lead from her Birdieing the whole and widening the margin on the rest of her competitors. Jennifer came in as our Champion for the Girls 14-19 Division. I don’t think we have ever sent home 2 Champion Flags to the same household but Jennifer would not be outdone by older brother Aaron. Jennifer is a long ball hitter. She loves herself a challenging Par-5 and it showed this weekend playing them at least 7-strokes better than her nearest competitor. She also had that winning formula of playing the Back-9 the best in her Division. Great first win on Tour Jennifer! Jayden Ford coming all the way from Rochester, New York was the Runner-Up. Jayden is extremely consistent. You don’t have to play on the Buckeye Junior Golf Tour long to figure out that Par’s go a long way and Jayden figured that out fast, earning herself 15 of them in the tournament and leading her Division. Jayden also has fantastic Iron play and accuracy. She dominated the Par-3’s playing them 4-strokes better than her nearest competitor. Safe travels back to New York Jayden and great Runner-Up finish!
We want to thank everyone who came out and joined us at South Hills Golf Club this weekend! We know it was blazing hot but there was some great golf and it was really fun to watch. Powering through and putting up good scores was impressive and had to be better than sitting inside playing video games. Our field sizes continue to grow in the York/Gettysburg area and we hope to see many of you at the rescheduled Links at Gettysburg on August 29th-30th. The Links at Gettysburg is a beautiful but challenging course with the Gettysburg National Park right around the corner. See you there!