-Six Division Titles Handed Out to Players Representing Four Countries-
Palm Harbor, FL (December 30, 2019) – With the threat of rain never materializing, the 160 junior golfers from 25 countries completed the final round of the CJGA World Junior Challenge at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, FL today. There was a number of outcomes possible when the final round began, yet when the final putts dropped, the event had winners from Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the United States.
Entering the final round with a one-stroke lead, Niagara Falls, Ontario resident Nolan Piazza was not to be caught on the challenging Copperhead Course. An up-and-down front nine included three birdies, three pars and three bogeys, the Canadian headed to the back nine with a two-stroke lead. Eventual runner-up finisher Sean-Karl Dobson (Austin, TX) put some pressure on Piazza with a birdie on the par 5 14th hole to bring his lead back to one with four holes to play.
Standing on the 18th tee with a one stroke lead, Piazza would not be outdone, making birdie on the 54th hole while Dobson made bogey, crowning the Niagara Falls, ON resident with his first World Junior Challenge title.
Jiarong Liu (Bradenton, FL) and Thomas Latter (Mississauga, ON) finished in a tie for third place, six strokes back of Piazza.
Hong Kong’s Chloe Chan, the Junior Girls second round leader, would not be outdone in the final round on the North Course at Innisbrook Resort. Opening her round with three straight birdies, she opened an eight-stroke lead heading to the back nine over eventual runner-up Savannah De Bock (Belgium). Making a few bogeys on the back nine, Chan sustained her lead and captured her first World Junior Challenge Junior Girls title by an eight-stroke margin.
Ellen Dong (Longwood, FL) moved into third place as Oakville, ON resident Nicole Gal finished in solo fourth place.
Mexico’s Rafael Estrada entered the final round on the North Course with a two-stroke lead and that is where it finished. The only change was the challenger on the final day as Spain’s Ali Berker put together the best round in the division shooting even-par (70). Estrada closed, finished with a round of 73 (+3), but a birdie on the 53rd hole all but sealed the victory for the Mexican native.
Hungary’s Bence Bertenyi moved down one position to finish in solo third three strokes back and Braeden Sladek (Alexandria, MN) finished in fourth, four back of the champion.
Mi Li of Winter Garden, FL ran away with the Bantam Girls Division title going went wire-to-wire to capture the title by 14 strokes. Shooting rounds of 71-73-73 (217), Li was in control from the outset. Miriam Barcalova (Boynton Beach, FL) jumped up the leader board to finish solo second after a round of 74 (+4).
Trinity Beth (Calvert City, KY) jumped up the leader board with a strong final round score of 72 (+2) while Ella Wong (Pepper Pike, ON) and Olivia Wilkie (Toronto, ON) finished in a tie for fourth.
Taking a five-stroke lead into the final round, Carson Bertagnole (Casper, WY) would not be caught on the resort’s North Course. With four birdies, an eagle and a double bogey on the front nine, he maintained his five-stroke lead with nine holes to play. Bertagnole would give away one shot on the back nine, but comfortably held onto his lead and captured his first World Junior Challenge title by four strokes. Ronav Benak (Tampa, FL) put forth a good challenge but was not able to overcome the strong play of his competitor. Benak fired a final round 64 (-6), finishing runner-up and four strokes back.
Henry Dao (Laprairie, QC) finished in solo third place and Lucas Latimer (Rockwall, TX) finished in solo fourth.
In one of the closest divisions on the tournament, Hong Kong’s Zoie Chan held on to captured the Peewee Girls division title by one stroke. Going head-to-head with Toronto, ON’s Bridget Wilkie, Chan would open her lead to two strokes after the first nine holes, however Wilkie would bring it back to one stroke with a birdie of her own on the par 4 14th hole. Playing the 54th hole with the outcome uncertain, both players matched scores and Chan held on for her first World Junior Challenge division title.
Germany’s Constanze Keferstein shot an even par round (70) to move up to finish solo third and Ann-Sophie Bourgault (Mont Tremblant, QC) finished in solo fourth.
Tournament Information – CJGA World Junior Challenge
About Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort
Operated by Salamander Hotels & Resorts and owned by Sheila C. Johnson, Innisbrook is situated on 900 wooded acres of rolling hills in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and is located just 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport. The resort features 72 holes of championship golf, 550 spacious guest suites and rooms, four restaurants and three bars, the Innisbrook Golf Academy, 11 tennis courts, the luxury Indaba Spa with 12 treatment rooms and state-of-the-art Fitness Center, six heated swimming pool complexes, a nature preserve, and three conference halls with 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Part of Salamander’s Golf Collection, Innisbrook hosts the annual Valspar Championship presented by BB&T at its famed Copperhead Course. For additional information call 727.942.2000 or visit www.innisbrookgolfresort.com.
About Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
Situated on a sun-drenched peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico from Tampa Bay, St. Pete/Clearwater is the most popular destination on the Gulf of Mexico with 35 miles of white-sand beaches. Renowned for its award-winning beaches and charming Florida beach towns, St. Pete/Clearwater routinely lands on TripAdvisor’s Best Beaches lists. Reaffirming its reputation as America’s Best Beaches, Clearwater Beach was crowned TripAdvisor’s 2018 No. 1 Best Beach in the U.S. for the second time in three years, in addition to being named No. 7 in the World. St. Pete Beach came in at No. 7 putting two area beaches in the Top 10.
In addition to the raved-about beach towns, the area’s culinary, arts and cultural scenes are just a few reasons why St. Pete/Clearwater is a top international destination. From world-class museums, including The Dali Museum and more than 100+ vibrant urban murals sprinkling downtown St. Pete, to Winter the dolphin, star of blockbuster film Dolphin Tale, calling Clearwater Marine Aquarium home and the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course, there’s even more to discover beyond the beaches.
No matter where you visit while on vacation in the St. Pete/Clearwater area, you’ll get a glimpse of authentic Florida with great people, tons of attractions, and fun (and beaches) for miles.
About the Canadian Junior Golf Association
The Canadian Junior Golf Association (CJGA) is a “registered Canadian amateur athletic association” (RCAAA) non-for-profit registered federally with Revenue Canada. The CJGA is dedicated to providing Canada’s junior golfers with the necessary skills and knowledge required to lay a foundation for a future in competitive golf.
Through its six-stage competitive development program that focuses on tournaments, clinics, international competitions, and mentoring programs with PGA Tour professionals, the CJGA introduces the game to juniors as young as five and offers competitive multi-day events for the more advanced golfer. The CJGA acts as a feeder system to provincial and national competitions, collegiate and university golf, as well as professional and recreational golf. For more information, please visit www.cjga.com.
The Canadian Junior Golf Association is generously supported by its National Partner, Freedom 55 Financial, which provides financial security advice and planning for Canadians.
For Additional Information:
Canadian Junior Golf Association