This weekend, the Sea Pines Resort will welcome one of the strongest fields in recent years for the Sea Pine Junior Heritage on Feb. 3-4.
Competitors from 16 states will compete for the title. The first round will be played at Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love, III golf course. The championship will conclude the following day at the Harbour Town Golf Links.
The event is conducted by the South Carolina Junior Golf Association and the Sea Pines Resort and provides an exciting kickoff to the junior golf season.
Lugoff’s Tyler Gray, who led the 2017 event after firing an opening round 68, looks to begin his final junior season with a strong finish before entering Coastal Carolina University. Right on his heels will be Inman’s Jacob Bridgeman who secured a top 10 finish last year after carding a final round one-over par in tough conditions. Bridgeman, who will attend Clemson University in the fall, comes into the event following a record year, representing Team USA in the inaugural Junior President’s Cup.
First-time contender, Jansen Smith of San Angela, Texas is in the field. Smith ranks 50th in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and enters the event after posting five wins in the 2017 season, including the Honor Junior Championship where he fired a final round 61.
Other notables in the boys division include: Rolex All-American, Jackson Van Paris from Pinehurst, NC, Fred Biondi of Port St. Lucia, Fla., who is currently ranked 25th in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, and Austin Vukovitz out of Fishers, Indiana who qualified for the event by punching his ticket to the 2017 US Junior in Andover, Kan.
Lexington senior and Clemson signee Gracyn Burgess will be the player to watch on the girls’ season. Burgess, the top ranked player in South Carolina, looks to improve on a strong 2017 season.
Last year’s runner-up, Baylee Evans of Lancaster, comes into the event knowing how to battle for the win in the final round. Evans showed her strength at the 10th Annual Beth Daniel Junior Azalea where she captured a win in a wire-to-wire finish. Siyan Chen brings national exposure experience to the event, hoping to take advantage of her two US Junior Girls appearances.
Other notables include: Pennsylvania State Champion, Carolina Wrigley, US Junior Girls qualifier and local standout, Savannah Hylton from Hilton Head and two-time winner in 2017, Katie Whitfield from Clemson.