EAGLE HARBOR - Fleming Island golfer Tyler Mawhinney had the round one lead for most of the Greater Jacksonville Junior Open Championship but had to withstand a four-hole surge from Orange …
EAGLE HARBOR - Fleming Island golfer Tyler Mawhinney had the round one lead for most of the Greater Jacksonville Junior Open Championship but had to withstand a four-hole surge from Orange Park’s Matthew French to win his second consecutive title Tuesday afternoon at Eagle Harbor Country Club.
“I’ve been in some situations like this where it came down to the final putt on the final hole, but it’s never seem to come out in my favor,” said Mawhinney, who won by one stroke ofver French in the two day even with rounds of 72 (even-par) and 70 (2-under par). “This is my home course and I’ve played here hundreds of times so I knew where I could make some ground, but Matthew had a great finish to make it close.”
French, who recently returned from Notre Dame after competing in a The First Tee tournament, was part of a round one contingency of four golfers trailing Mawhinney by two strokes prior to Tuesday’s round.
“I knew if I stayed close, it was just a matter of one of us making a slight mistake that could break the tournament,” said French, a junior at Bishop Snyder High School. “After I bogeyed 13, I knew I had to do something to turn things around to catch him.”
French not only turned things around, but put Mawhinney on his heels with French blasting four straight birdie finishes on 14, 15, 16 and 17 with 16 a five-par hole and 14 and 17 both par fours.
“I just got into a focus and kept good fairway to greens, good irons to the putts and landing the putts,” said French. “He had four birdies in the first nine to put the pressure on and he seemed to be on his game pretty good.”
French and group third Emmet Kuhlenkamp both tanked their drives on the 18th hole into the trees to force a simultaneous ball drop for both that proved costly in the end to French putting him in a situation that needed just a successful putt for par for Mawhinney if French was able to one-putt the hole. French missed his first putt to force a miss by Mawhinney as the tie maker. Mawhinney made his putt.
While Mawhinney and French waged their battle for the top trophy, in the girls match, Fleming Island High sophomore Alyzabeth Morgan also staged a second round attack on early leader and eventual champion Sahana Chokshi, an eighth grader to Episcopal High School, who dominated the Eagle Harbor course with a four over par 76 in round one followed by an improvement to just one over par in round two to win convincingly over Morgan who finished second at 12-over par after hitting eight over in round one. Morgan improved to just four over in round two, but Chokski stayed well above the field with just three birdies, but with 12 par scores. Morgan had one birdie on the first nine, then one on the final hole to close the gap.
Clay High’s Taylor Young finished tied for seventh at 23 over par with disastrous nine and 18 hole finishes keeping her rounds of pars from being able to approach the top five. Young had two birdies in the front nine on day two.
St. Johns Country Day School’s Abby Vogt finished tied for 13th at 30-over par. Vogt opened round two with a first hole bogie then a string of eight pars before landing just two pars in the final nine holes.
Finishing 19th was Orange Park’s Emily Ames at 67 over par.
For the rest of the boys field, Fleming Island’s Emmet Kuhlenkamp, starting with in the French, Mawhinney group on day two as one of the many plus-2 finishers on day one, opened with two birdies and three pars to stay the course, but eventually landed a handful of bogies including a double at eight before correcting to eight pars in the final nine with a bogie on 18 to finish sixth.
Orange Park’s Brock Buhnerkemper was at 3-over after day one and within striking range for day two. Buhnerkemper had just one birdie on the first nine and eventually finished ninth.
in tight fight for title
EAGLE HARBOR - Three area youth golfers; led by Fleming Island’s Tyler Mawhinney, finished Monday’s round one of a steamy hot Greater Jacksonville Junior Open golf championship at the Eagle Harbor Country Club course with just two strokes separating the top six golfers.
“The youth golfers have always liked this course and Eagle Harbor is a great course for a championship event like this,” said Jack Aschenbach, the exective director of the North Florida Junior golf Foundation in Jacksonville since 2012. “We host three events here on our 36 event schedule.”
The two-day event, with round two set for Tues., June 12, featured fairly dry fairways and super fast greens despite a week of in and out rainstorms in the area.
“We got a little lucky as it rained all around this area, but not enough to create significant water hazards,” said Aschenbach. “A lot of the top players out of this area; Bud Cauley, out of Daytona Beach, is probably the most recent player from NFGA, have made the PGA Tour from here.”
Cauley, a three-time All American at the University of Alabama, has played in the Master’s Tournament, the U.S. Opoen and The PGA Championships.
Mawhinny, at an even par 72 for the Eagle Harbor course, cleared two birdies in finishing back at the club house on the front nine to lead Bishop Snyder’s Matthew French. Fleming Island’s Emmet Kuhlenkamp and three others were locked at a two over par 74 in a four way tie for second place. Orange Park’s Brock Buhnerkemper is at a three over 75 tied for sixth.
French, who has played this summer in Pebble Beach and at the Notre Dame golf courses as part of The First Tee schedule, kept close to Mawhinny with seven straight pars to open but hit a snag with a bogie on eight followed by an eighth par.
French rebounded with a string of five pars and one birdie, but double bogied on 16 to create some space for Mawhinny.
Kuhenkamp fired off two birdies on his first two holes to be the very early leader with a two-under 34 on the first nine with seven pars to the clubhouse, but the hot, sizzling sun took its toll with two double bogies in the back nine.
Buhnerkemper, at three over par 75, had four bogies with two birdies.
For the girls, Sahana Chokshi, from the San Jose Country Club, and Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, faultered the least to hold court with a four over par 76 in a tough girls field with Fleming Island’s Alyzbeth Morgan (8-over), Clay High’s Taylor Young (10-over) and St. Johns Country Day School’s Addy Vogt (20-over) chasing from behind.
Chokshi, just a seventh grader last year at Episcopal and an FHSAA Class 1A championship qualifier, opened strong with seven pars but bogied eight and birdied nine to grab a slim lead at the clubhouse at an even par 36 while the field struggled to keep near 40.
Morgan had four bogies and five pars to fall behind early and repeated her 40 score on the back nine with one birdie, but also a double bogie on 14.
Two double bogies and one triple doomed Young’s front nine 40 with one birdie with a 42 on the backside.
Vogt also struggled from the start with two doubles and a triple to score a 49 up front, but rebounded to go 43 to the finish.
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