Thompson and Herzog take penultimate 2017 titles

Rain, cold, and gusting winds presented a different challenge for the final round of the Gulf Shores Junior Classic, on Sunday. After a seemingly mild start to the 2017 event on Saturday, the conditions changed for the worse on Sunday and changed the complexion of the tournament. The par-71 Gulf Shores Golf Club, lined with hazards and out of bounds throughout, played much longer than the day previous. Despite the change of weather, our players competed fiercely and posted some great final round scores. The overall male champion, after a change at the top, was Benjamin Herzog. Alongside Herzog, Lauren Thompson captured the overall female championship.

In the female 12-14 division, our overall female champion Lauren Thompson took the spoils. Rounds of 75 and 78 gave Thompson a four-stroke lead over second place. The Midland City, AL native carded the two lowest individual rounds of her entire division. Following up in second place was Cassidy Lambert. Consistent rounds of 78 and 79 comfortably placed Lambert ahead of third. Rounding out the division Sydney Papke. A final round 80, combined with her opening 82 gave Papke a 162 total and the third-place trophy.

The female 15-19 division needed a sudden-death playoff to decide its victor. Coming out on top, after a three-hole playoff, was Callee Breland. Rounds of 79 and 76 was enough for Breland to make the playoff, along with Lauren Gilchrist. Breland held her nerve on the third extra hole to capture the division title. In second place, having fallen short in the playoff, was Lauren Gilchrist. With identical rounds to Breland, 79 and 76, Gilchrist finished on a 155 total. In third place, Lilly Thomas birdied the 18th hole to take the award on a card playoff. Having tied with Kate Dean and Reese Drezins, a back-nine card playoff was used to decide Thomas as the award winner.

Moving in to the male 12-13 division and another sudden-death playoff was needed to separate the top-3 players. Making the playoff, after final totals of 154, were Justin Burroughs, Cole Komyati, and Jake Harbison. On the second playoff hole, Jake Harbison made a bogey behind Burroughs and Harbison’s pars. This meant Harbison was eliminated from the playoff and ultimately finished third in the division. After both Burroughs and Komyati parred again on the third playoff hole, the division went down to a fourth extra hole. This time it was Burroughs who had a chance to seal it with a 15-foot birdie putt. Burroughs holed the putt and finished as the male 12-13 division winner, with Cole Komyati taking second place.

Will Feagin fired a strong final-round 70 to move up the male 14-15 leaderboard in to first place. Even with a double-bogey seven in his final round, Feagin managed to post a one under-par round of 70 and a 144 total. Finishing just three shots behind Feagin, on a 147 total, was Jones Free. A very solid closing round of 71 helped Free jump up the leaderboard into second place. Taking third place, after a card playoff win over Harry Jones, was Matthew Madden. A final nine 34, in his final round 71, gave Madden a 149 total and the third-place award.

Taking the male 16-19 division and the overall male championship was Benjamin Herzog. Rounds of 71 and 68 gave Herzog a three-under total of 139. Herzog was the only player to break a 140 total and made an astonishing seven birdies in the final round. It actually took Herzog to birdie the 36th hole to win by one stroke. Finishing in second place, having led round one, was BJ Morrison. A final round 72 gave Morrison a 140 total and a very impressive tournament display. Rounding out the division, after rounds of 70 and 73, was Matt Stuart. Eight birdies in the tournament pushed Stuart up the leaderboard and into the third-place award position.

The SJGT would like to thank Gulf Shores Golf Club for their excellent hosting of this weekend’s event. With such a large field, it took a lot of cooperation and support from the golf club, which we received in abundance. Also, thank you to all our players, parents, friends, and families for supporting the event and our tour throughout 2017. If we do not see you for the final event of 2017, enjoy the break and we are looking forward to seeing you in 2018.