By Rick Price, PGA
The Southwest International Junior Cup was contested over 36 holes in a Ryder Cup style format to crown an overall winning team between the American and the South Korean junior teams. Furthermore, within the team format there was an individual 36 hole medal play winner in both the boys and girls division.
This was a very special event for some top rated junior golfers from Arizona and South Korea. The event was sponsored by the Southwest Section Southern Chapter PGA and the Ricki Rarick Junior golf program. The juniors from Arizona were invited by their team captain based on their junior and high school tournament record. The boy’s team captain was State Champion Gentry Hicks from Canyon Del Oro high school. Unfortunately, Hicks was unable to play because of a hand injury a week prior to the event. The girls were captained by Laura Jabczenski the State Champion from Catalina Foothills. There was also an opportunity for the juniors to qualify for the team during the Southwest Junior Invitational.
The first day of competition was played over the par 70 Dell Urich golf course in both a Four Ball and Individual medal play format. In the Four Ball competition, they had two partners play against two other competitors in a best ball point system receiving one point for the low front nine, one point for the low back nine and one point for the overall low 18 hole score.
The American junior girls jumped off to a quick lead and never let go. The American boys were not as fortunate and were unable to convert a point in either of their matches. The American girls posted 8 ½ points allowing the team to take a 2 point lead over the South Koreans 6 ½ points after the first round of play.
In the individual medal play Kyung Kim from Phoenix, Arizona fired a 33-34=67 -3 under par round to take a two shot lead over her Captain and teammate from Tucson Laura Jabczenski, after posting a -1 under par 69. Tucson resident Jordyn Carter opened with 71 to position herself comfortably in third place.
The top three scores in the boys division were also recorded by the Americans. Oro Valley’s Alex McMahon opened with a spectacular 33-33=66 -4 under par to take a two shot lead over Colin McCarty of Sierra Vista, AZ shooting a 33-35=68 –2 under par. Also, finishing under par with a 34-35=69 was Matt McClure of Tucson. These three gentlemen did not compete in the Four Ball competition, only the individual medal play.
During the final round, the weather took a turn for the worse, however they were able to complete play in less than ideal conditions. The par 72 Randolph golf course played all of its 6,900 yards during this challenging round.
The final round consists of single matches and the individual medal play for medalist honors. The girls played six matches, and boys played four to see what team would be crowned the Southwest International Junior Cup Champions.
The South Korean’s put up a good fight and won some key matches, although were unable to keep up with the depth of the American juniors. The Americans posted another 19 ½ points to the Koreans 10 ½ points giving the American’s a two day total of 28 points to South Korea’s 17 points to win the Cup.
It appeared the weather did not bother Kyung Kim as she continued her stellar play firing another under par score of 69 -3 under for a 136 total and an eight shot victory. Laura Jabczenski finished second shooting 69-75=144 and from Seoul, Korea moving into third was Seon Kim 75-74=149 and her teammate Hyo Kim finishing fourth at 75-77=149.
With only one score posted under par during the final round for the boys, it was good enough to catch and pass first round leader to take home the low medalist honors. Colin McCarty recorded a -2 under par 70 to add to his opening round 68 giving him a 138 -4 under par total to edge out first round leader Alex McMahon’s 66-73=139. In a tie for third was Matt McClure at 69-75=144 with South Korea’s Hyun Yang 71-73=144. In fifth place from Seoul, Korea was Yun Jeong 70-76=146.