Congratulations to the
2016 Joe Cheves Junior Invitational Champions!
2016 Joe Cheves Junior Invitational Champions!
Inman, South Carolina
The 2016 Joe Cheves Junior boys champion is Trent Phillips, a rising Junior from Inman, South Carolina, with rounds of 67-67=134. Trent carded nine birdies and one eagle to capture the victory by one shot in his fourth appearance at the Joe Cheves Junior. He will return next summer to defend his title and end his JCJI tenure before heading to UGA in 2018.
Akshay Bhatia a rising freshman of Wake Forest, North Carolina, also playing in his fourth Joe Cheves Junior finished runner-up after costly bogies on 17 and 18 offset 12 birdies and an eagle, leaving him one shot shy of the title (67-68=135). A chip off on the 18th green resulted in first round co-leader Carson Ownbey a rising junior and UNC-Charlotte commitment from Candler, North Carolina claiming third place (66-72=138). Sophomore Chris Kim of Cary, North Carolina took fourth (67-71=138), while Alex Shead, an Augusta University commit rounded out the top five (72-66=138).
The 2016 Joe Cheves Junior girls champion is Elisa Yang, a rising senior from Norcross, Georgia, with rounds of 67-69 =136. Elisa is committed to play collegiate golf next fall at the University of Georgia. Fifteen birdies throughout the weekend helped her take the title by a 5 shot margin, and better her top-10 finish in 2015 by 11 shots.
Rising sophomore Aneka Seumanutafa of Emmitsburg, Maryland (70-71 = 141), also the 2015 JCJI runner-up, and Madison Moosa of Charlotte, North Carolina (72-69=141), the Joe Cheves Memorial Scholarship recipient, tied for second place. Kathryn Carson an East Carolina commitment of Mooresville, North Carolina (70-72=142) took fourth. Rachel Kuehn of Asheville, North Carolina (74-71=145) and Skylar Thompson, Buford, Georgia (73-72=145) tied for fifth place.
Trent Phillips, Elisa Yang Victorious at the 2016 Joe Cheves Junior Invitational
For Immediate Release: Article by Brent Paladino
The 14th Joe Cheves Junior Invitational, conducted at Mimosa Hills Country Club, concluded Sunday afternoon under crystal clear blue skies. Emerging victorious were Trent Phillips of Inman, South Carolina and Elisa Yang of Norcross, Georgia, both of whom played exceptional golf in the final round to capture their first Joe Cheves Junior titles in their respective divisions.
The Joe Cheves Junior Invitational is held each year at the Donald Ross-designed Mimosa Hills Country Club and is a nationally ranked, invitation-only junior golf championship. Players from eleven different states and Canada traveled to Morganton to compete in this year’s event, which features many of the top-ranked junior golfers in the country.
Day one of the Joe Cheves Junior Invitational saw a total of twenty-six boys break par, with Carson Ownbey of Candler, North Carolina and Will Kahlstorf of Watkinsville, Georgia leading the way after shooting rounds of six under-par 66. Trent Phillips began the final round one stroke behind the leaders after his bogey-free 67 in round one, and with a total of thirteen players within three strokes of the lead, he would need a stellar final round to separate himself from the pack. After making the turn with a two under-par 34, Phillips kept the momentum going on the difficult back nine at Mimosa Hills. A birdie on the par-5 12th and an eagle on the par-5 14th brought him to within one stroke of leader Ashkay Bhatia of Wake Forest, North Carolina, whose front nine score of 31 was the talk of the course.
After failing to birdie any of the final four holes, Phillips finished at ten under-par, one behind Bhatia, and at the time wasn’t sure it would be enough. But Bhatia found trouble on the difficult finishing stretch, making bogey on his final two holes to fall one stroke short. After hard-fought rounds of 67-67=134 (-10), Phillips had claimed his first Joe Cheves Junior Invitational title in his fourth consecutive appearance.
A win for Phillips, a 2018 graduate who has committed to play collegiate golf at the University of Georgia, caps off a summer that included a win at the 58th South Carolina Junior Championship and the 19th SCJGA Junior Players Championship which helped him to his ranking of #17 in the country and highest ranked junior golfer in South Carolina.
After shooting a five under-par 67 on day one, Elisa Yang entered her final round with a three shot lead over Kathryn Carson of Mooresville, North Carolina and 2015 runner-up Aneka Seumanutafa of Emmitsburg, Maryland. With light winds and soft conditions, Yang knew that she would have to keep her foot on the gas and not let up in order to maintain her three stroke advantage. With the early wave of girls teeing off almost four hours before the leaders, Madison Moosa of Charlotte, North Carolina made an early move with a final round 69 to post a three under-par total of 141 before Yang struck her first tee shot. Yang responded to the pressure like a true champion, making birdie on each of her first three holes to open up a five shot lead. Despite a string of bogies in the middle of her round, Yang’s eight birdies on Sunday earned her a two-day total of eight under par 136 and a five-shot victory.
Yang, a 2017 high school graduate who has also committed to play collegiate golf at the University of Georgia, has had a remarkable summer, including back-to-back AJGA titles in July and early August. Entering the Joe Cheves Junior Invitational, she was ranked #44 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, and with a win on Sunday against an elite field, her ranking is sure to improve.
Thank you to all of the volunteers and sponsors who helped make the 14th Annual Joe Cheves Junior Invitational a truly special event, and congratulations to Trent Phillips and Elisa Yang, our 2016 Champions.
Photos from Friday, August 26, 2016 Little Caesars Pizza Party and Long Drive Contest, and Saturday, August 27 Opening Ceremonies, and morning practice range