Beaufort News

Local Golf Notebook, Feb. 3

Winning one of the top junior tournaments in the nation would have been impressive enough for a 14-year-old golfer.

But Jim Liu didn't stop there.

Less than six months after winning last year's Sea Pines Junior Heritage (then known as the Verizon Junior Heritage), Liu became the youngest player ever to win the U.S. Junior Amateur -- yes, even younger than Tiger Woods.

Liu, now 15, will try to add another impressive line to his resume this weekend, when he attempts to become the third player to win consecutive titles in the Junior Heritage's history.

The defending champion leads a field of 45 boys and 33 girls who will tee it up in the prestigious event.

The first round begins at 9 a.m. Saturday on Sea Pines' Ocean Course, with the final round starting at 8:30 a.m. Sunday on Harbour Town Golf Links.

As the defending champion and the No. 9 player in Golfweek's Junior Rankings, Liu has to be considered the favorite in the boys division, but he will face stiff competition, including a number of prominent players from the Palmetto State.

Among them are Stephen Behr of Florence, who is ranked 18th by Golfweek and plans to play at Clemson next fall, and Cody Proveaux of Leesville, who is Golfweek's No. 24 junior and has committed to Clemson for 2012.

Behr and Proveaux tied for third last year, two shots behind Liu and one shot back of Andrew Knox.

South Carolina players also figure prominently in the girls field, led by Goose Creek's Katelyn Dambaugh -- the runner-up at the 2010 U.S. Girls Amateur -- North Augusta's McKenzie Talbert and Columbia's Collins Bradshaw.

Six players from Hilton Head Island are in the field: Olivia Landino, Pailin Ruttanasupagid, Minami Levonowich, Laura Restropo and Rika Park on the girls side, and Matthew Rushton on the boys side.

Junior Heritage Pairings

Pairings for the first round of the Sea Pines Junior Heritage, to be played Saturday on the Ocean Course at Sea Pines Resort.

BOYS

No. 1 tee

10:50 a.m. -- Blake Morris, MJ Maguire, Michael Werenski.

11 a.m. -- Cody Proveaux, Jim Liu, Stephen Behr.

No. 10 tee

9 a.m. -- Taylor Zoller, Aaron Terrazas, Michael Chen.

9:10 a.m. -- Branson Davis, Rigel Fernandes, Chandler Fischer.

9:20 a.m. -- Stan Gautier, Matthew Gerrard, Dylan Healey.

9:30 a.m. -- Brannan Hudson, Trey Valentine, Zack Jaworski.

9:40 a.m. -- Cory Sciupider, Matthew Rushton, James Yoon.

9:50 a.m. -- Charles Valluzzo, Chase Koepka, Bennett Lavin.

10 a.m. -- Hank Lebioda, Zheng Liang, Blake Kennedy.

10:10 a.m. -- Ben Dietrich, John Voetsch, Joshua Martin.

10:20 a.m. -- Billy Kennedy, Matthew Nesmith, Jordan Niebrugge.

10:30 a.m. -- Carter Page, Davis Womble, Nicolas Reach.

10:40 a.m. -- Ryann Ree, Jason Roets, Sean Kelly.

10:50 a.m. -- Alberto Sanchez, Carl Johnson, Sawyer Shaw.

11 a.m. -- Cory Taylor, Keagan Cummings, Maclain Huge.

GIRLS

No. 1 tee

9 a.m. -- Amira Alexander, Olivia Landino, Clara Teixeria.

9:10 a.m. -- Rachel Dai, Katelyn Dambaugh, Kailey Walsh.

9:20 a.m. -- Pailin Ruttanasupagid, Cindy Ha, Janie Jackson.

9:30 a.m. -- Irene Jung, Katie Kirk, Hally Leadbetter.

9:40 a.m. -- Rika Park, Jordan Lippetz, Minami Levonowich.

9:50 a.m. -- Michaela Owen, Samantha Marks, Ayaka Nakayama.

10 a.m. -- Laura Restrepo, Annie Park, Taelor Rubin.

10:10 a.m. -- Nicole Quinn, Kayli Quinton, Mayko Chwen Wang.

10:20 a.m. -- Simin Feng, Monfia Sealy, Samantha Wagner.

10:30 a.m. -- Collins Bradshaw, Allison Emrey, Mariana Sims.

10:40 a.m. -- McKenzie Talbert, Daniela Lendl, Sierra Sims.

HJGT MAKING 12 S.C. STOPS IN 2011

The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour again will hold 12 tournaments in South Carolina this year, including one at Wexford Plantation Club on March 5-6, the tour announced this week.

Last year, only one of the HJGT's stops in the Palmetto State counted toward the S.C. Junior Golf Association's rankings, which requires at least 25 boys and eight girls to play in the oldest age division. but the tour expects all 12 to count toward the SCJGA 's rankings in 2011, according to Bryan Fyalkowski, the HJGT's South Carolina director.

HJGT events are open to players ages 10-19. Information can be found at HJGT.org.

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