Topper and Im card sub-70 rounds to win at UGA Invitational
86 players arrived at the University of Georgia Club, this weekend, to play in the UGA Invitational presented by AutoTrader. Despite unfavorable weather forecasts earlier in the week, round one on Saturday stayed mostly fine with cloud cover giving slightly cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, due to an incoming tropical depression / hurricane, the 2017 UGA Invitational was shortened to just 18 holes of play. The leading players certainly made the most of those 18 holes, with 11 of the 86 players shooting even par or better. The overall male champion, Preston Topper, shot a 3-under par 68. Sara Im had a comfortable win, in the overall female championship, with her 6-under-par round of 66. Our female 12-14, female 15-19 and male 12-13 divisions played a par-72 UGA course. Whereas our male 14-15 and male 16-19 divisions played a par-71 layout.
In the female 12-14 division, Sara Im recorded an emphatic win and ultimately came out on top in the overall female championship also. Her round of 66 included a front-nine score of just 29. After six holes, Im was 5-under par and always looked like continuing the blistering pace. In second place, after a card playoff with Catie Craig, was Mikayla Dubnik. A 5-over round of 77 was good enough for Dubnik to take second place, being helped by her two birdies. Following Dubnik, in third place, was Catie Craig. Three birdies over the tricky UGA layout helped Craig, on her way to a 77 total.
Winning the female 15-19 division was Carson McKie of Hoover, AL. McKie shot a strong round of 74 that included 14 pars. Again on a card playoff, second place was awarded to Kaysie Harrelson. Two 2s on her back nine helped Harrelson to a 75. Rounding out the female 15-19 division, having bounced back from early back-to-back double bogeys, was Caroline Craig. Firing four birdies, Craig shot a 3-over par 75.
Picking up another male 12-13 division win was Andrew Garger. His 3-under par round of 69 included four birdies and just one bogey. Garger’s 69 gave him a comfortable four-shot winning margin. In second place was Will Baker. A strong round of 73 from Baker included four birdies and gave him a two-shot margin over third place. Finishing the male 12-13 awards, in third place, was Mason Crowder. Three bogeys and 15 pars gave Crowder a very steady round of 75.
Moving up in to the male 14-15 division, we saw a very impressive set of scores; 11 of the 26 players in this division scored 74 or better. Coming out on top was Myles Jones. A great 2-under par round of 69 gave Jones a two-shot cushion at the top. Jones dedicated his win to his great friend, Jackson Cross - this comes after Cross suffered an injury in a recent football game. Jones and all of us at the SJGT wish Cross a speedy recovery. Three players tied for second, with identical scores of 71. Taking the second-place trophy, on a card playoff going all the way back to the 9th hole, was Ryan Eshleman. An even-par round of 71 included a back nine of straight pars for Eshleman. Also making all pars on the back nine was Maxwell Ford. One birdie and one bogey gave Ford an even-par score of 71 and the third-place trophy.
Four players shot under-par rounds, in the male 16-19 division. Coming out on top, after a very impressive round of 68, was Preston Topper. Going bogey free, Topper made 15 pars and three birdies on his way to the male 16-19 and overall male titles. Finishing just one-shot adrift of Topper was Will Chambless. Making five birdies, Chambless carded a strong round of two-under par 69. Grabbing third place in the division, after another card playoff, was Auburn, AL native Connor Newton. Even with a double-bogey, Newton carded a strong one-under par total of 70.
All of us at the SJGT want to thank the players, spectators, and UGA Golf Course staff for the cooperation and understanding during this weather-shortened event. While it is disappointing to end a tournament prematurely, we value the safety of everyone involved as most important. If you would like to see pictures from the tournament, please visit the UGA Invitational BlueGolf tournament page. For more tournament and tour updates, please check out our recently revamped social media accounts (Instagram: @sjgtgolf, SnapChat: sjgtgolf, Twitter: @sjgt, Facebook: www.facebook.com/sjgt1994).