Out-of-State Flavor in 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl Tommy Moore Memorial Golf Championship park
Conditions at English Turn Golf & Country Club for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Tommy Moore Memorial Junior Golf Championship could have been best described as cold, damp and windy. North winds remained constant on Day Two of the tournament.
Shooting a Day Two round of 1-under 71, Benjamin Nelson (144) of Madison, Miss., fought through the adverse conditions to capture the Boys 16-18 division. Nelson, grandson of longtime PGA TOUR rules official Ben Nelson (both pictured right), was able to win the event with his grandfather in attendance.
The 16-year-old said, "It was a very special moment for me to have my granddad here. He spent over 30 years working on the tour and for him to see me get my first victory in a junior tournament is something that I will always remember."
When asked about the conditions, he stated, "Everyone had to play the same course. It played long the first day with the wet conditions. Then they shortened the course on the second day but the wind made it just as challenging."
The elder Nelson remembers his days with Tommy Moore on the PGA TOUR and stated that he has "known Tommy since he first received his PGA TOUR card and has been close with his family ever since. Like anyone else who had ever met Tommy, I will always remember how much he made everyone laugh."
"Coming into the last few holes, there were a number of players that were in contention to win," said tournament director Randy Mason. "Benjamin put together an exceptional round and deserved to come out on top today. There were some very talented players in the field and for him to win his first tournament in this environment, is very impressive."
University of South Alabama commit, Brooks Rabren (146) of Dozier, Ala., finished the day with the low round of 2-under 70 followed by Colin Troxler (147) of Luling, La., and first-round leader and 14-year-old Hayden White (147) of Benton, La.
Coming through with an 8-stroke victory in the Girls 13-18 division was Julia Johnson (147) of St. Gabriel, La. The defending back-to-back champion of both the LWGA State Junior Amateur and the Division II Louisiana High School State Championship added one more victory to her resume.
After shooting 4-over par on her first nine holes of the tournament, she recovered with a three birdies on the back nine for a first round total of 1-over 73. On Day 2, she had only two bogies to shoot a 2-over 74.
"I didn't start the tournament off very well. When I got to the back nine, something just clicked and I started having fun," said Johnson. "I really enjoyed playing this course and just tried to block out the cold temperatures today."
"I know she was a little frustrated out there the first day and is currently working her way through a swing change, but she persevered and never looked back after those first few holes," said Mason. "Her play in this championship was simply outstanding given the conditions. The scary part is that she gets better each time she steps foot on the golf course."
Finishing in second place was Angelica Harris (159) of Harvey, La., followed by Madeline Gordon (162) of Kenner, La., and defending Mississippi Girls Junior Amateur Champion Karley Whittington (162) of Vicksburg, Miss.
The winner of the Boys 13-15 division was Joey Kirkland (146) of West Monroe, La., followed by Nicholas Arcement (147) of Mathews, La., and Davis Irving (149) of Germantown, Tenn.
For full tournament results, go to www.bluegolf.com and search "Kelly Gibson."
[Story courtesy of the Kelly Gibson Foundation]