The SOPGA Jr. Tour took to Sharon Woods Golf Course for its first championship event of the 2023 season. 63 juniors teed it up competing for the coveted exemption into the SOPGA Jr. Tour Championship at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Timmy Hollenbeck picked up right where he left off last season on the SOPGA Jr. Tour. Hollenbeck started his first round off with a birdie, but faltered slightly afterwards on his front nine. That didn’t stop him from roaring back on the second nine with a two-under-par 33 to finish the day at even-par 70. Following closely behind Hollenbeck was Jack Ward who started his day with three birdies in his first five holes en route to an opening round three-over-par 73. Luke Lenahan birdied three holes of his opening nine to sit in third place after a first round five-over-par 75.
Familiar faces filled the boys 13-15 leaderboard after Saturday’s opening round. Vincent Fesenmeier followed up his win at the Hamilton Jr. Open with an opening round six-over-par 76 to take the first round lead. One stroke behind Fesenmeier was Will Reiser. Reiser has had a strong start to the season and continued that play to sit in second place thanks to a first round seven-over-par 77. Teja Pothuru finished his round strong after some early struggles to sit two strokes behind the lead in third place.
Four girls battled the hills of Sharon Woods in the girls 16-19 division this weekend. Ellie Lim got off to a strong start in her campaign to claim her second consecutive SOPGA Jr. Tour Player of the Year Title. Lim opened with an eleven-over-par 81 and a three shot lead. Medha Pothuru was within striking distance of Lim after an opening round fourteen-over-par 84. Katelyn Miley continued her consistent play this season, sitting in third place after a first round 23-over-par 93. Tied with Miley was Elaina Lord in her first start of the SOPGA Jr. Tour season.
The girls 13-15 division was a close race after Saturday’s first round. Nikitha Suresh finished the first round with the lowest score of all the girls at eight-over-par 78. Closely behind Suresh was Eva Becceril, who’s play vaulted her to second place after the opening round 10-over-par 80. Cadence Monroe-McCoy continued to find herself atop the leaderboard as she sat in third place following an opening round 26-over-par 96.
Sunny skies welcomes players for Sunday’s final round at Sharon Woods Golf Course. Timmy Hollenbeck made the turn to his final nine clinging to first place. Four bogeys to start his back nine put him in a difficult position. However, he would go on to birdie back to back holes and cruise to a six stroke victory. Plenty of players took advantage of perfect conditions in the final round for the boys 16-19 division. Jake Royce and TJ Kreusch posted scores of three-over-par 73 to vault up the leaderboard. Royce ultimately finished the weekend in second place with Kreusch only one stroke behind in third. Andrew Rabe posted the low score of the day with a one-over-par 71 to soar up the leaderboard and finish alone in fourth place.
The final 18 holes saw some players fighting for the top spot of the boys 13-15 division. Pulling up to the tee just in time, Teja Pothuru would not be denied his first win of the season. A five-over-par 75 vaulted Pothuru to the top of the leaderboard to claim his first gold medal of the year. Will Reiser continued his steady play to finish the weekend in solo second. Harrison Young improved three strokes on Sunday’s final round to sneak into third place marking his fourth consecutive podium finish for the year. Andrew Maxwell claimed the shot of the day on Sunday making his first career hole-in-one on the 150 yard second hole while improving by 12 shots from Saturday to Sunday!
The final round saw all four players in the girls 16-19 division improve on their day one scores! Medha Pothuru came roaring back on Sunday with a score of three-over-par 73 to claim her first win of the SOPGA Jr. Tour Season. Ellie Lim used two birdies in her final round to post a six-over-par 76 and finish in a tie for first place, ultimately losing in a scorecard playoff. Katelyn Miley knocked nine shots off of her first round score to post her lowest round of the season on the SOPGA Jr. Tour this season at 14-over-par 84, good for a third place finish. Elaina Lord improved by three strokes on the final round to build some momentum for her next event.
The race heated up for the girls 13-15 during Sunday’s final round. Ultimately, Eva Becceril claimed the top spot in the division after a final round seven-over-par 77. Nikitha Suresh played steady all weekend and finished with an 11-over-par 81 to claim second place. Three players saw some great improvements on the day from their first round scores. Cadence Monroe-McCoy knocked 10 shots off of her first round score to post a season low 16-over-par 86 and finish in third place. Mallory Masterson improved by 14 shots on the final round and Sophia Acevedo improved by 15 shots to end their tournament strong.
In the end, it was Timmy Hollenbeck and Medha Pothuru earning their way into the SOPGA Jr. Tour Championship. Their impressive play over two days earned both players the win in the overall 13-19 age division, claiming them their spot in the #MarchToMuirfield.
Congratulations to all of our players who competed this weekend!
Click here for full leaderboard.
Click here for Player of the Year Standings.
Thank you to Taylor Suggs, PGA, Mike Thomas, PGA, and the entire staff at Sharon Woods Golf Course for hosting a great event!
Next on the tee: Springfield Jr. Open.