Yujeong Son Repeats as Tommy Moore Champion park
The 2016 Allstate Sugar Bowl Tommy Moore Memorial Junior Golf Championship concluded Thursday with a repeat winner in the Girls 13-18 division, a tournament newcomer winning the Boys 16-18 division, and a New Orleans native capturing the Boys 13-15 division.
First round co-leader Jack Gnam of Ridgeland, MS outlasted past champion Jacob Bergeron down the stretch to win the Boys 16-18 division title by two strokes in his first appearance in the tournament. Both players shot first round 70s with Gnam following up with a 73 for a 143, and Bergeron posting a second day 75 to finish at 145. Third place in this division went to Matthew Braley of Broken Arrow, OK, who edged out Braxton Watkins of Texarkana, TX in a scorecard playoff with both shooting 36-hole scores of 147.
Gnam said following his winning round that he "really had a great time in his first Allstate Sugar Bowl tournament." The Mississippi high school junior, who has verbally committed to play at Ole Miss, added "I love English Turn. This is a great tournament with not only a spectacular golf course, but awesome staff and volunteers." He praised the play of runner-up Bergeron, an LSU signee, saying, "Playing with Jacob is always a great experience."
Yujeong Son of Norman, OK fired back-to-back rounds of 69 for a 36-hole score of 138 to win the Girls division by 8 strokes despite the windy conditions. "Winning this tournament for the second year in a row means a lot to me. I love English Turn and New Orleans, so this event is a great fit for me." Foundation Chairman and PGA TOUR Veteran, Kelly Gibson quoted "Yujeong is the most impressive 15-year-old golfer I have ever seen. I have been around professional golf for thirty years and have not seen anyone of her age play golf at the level she's playing at." Son was one of 16 players in the 84-player field who is instructed by Rob Noel, Golf Magazine's Top 100 Instructors, and has a golf academy at Money Hill Golf & Country Club in Abita Springs, LA.
Runner-up honors in the Girls division went to Michaela Morard, a high school freshman from Huntsville, AL. Morard, a verbal commit to the University of Alabama, shot rounds of 70-76 (146). Third place in this division went to Hannah Levi of D'Iberville, MS with a score of 151. Levi, who is in the Class of 2018, has committed to play at Mississippi State University.
New Orleanian, Trey Morse, held off a strong challenge by runner-up Eli Maxwell of Memphis, TN to win the Boys 13-15 division and give him his first national tournament victory. Morse, who started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead after shooting 71 the first day, finished with a 78 to post the winning score of 149. Maxwell opened with a 76 and then added a 74 on Thursday, the best round shot in the 13-15 division on the second day of play. Third place in this division went to Payne Johnson of Shreveport with rounds of 76-77 (153).
Morse was excited about what he calls his "biggest win to date. This was a hard-fought event and I knew that there were a lot of good players in our division." Morse admitted he didn't play as well the second day but added, "the conditions were very tough out there and I am proud that I was able to hold on."
Morse's father, Chuck, called his son's win a "breakthrough for him and definitely something he can build on for the future. I was very proud of him for keeping his nerves under control down the stretch."
Tournament Executive Director, Randy Mason, said Morse's win was "very special for me." Mason added, "I had the opportunity to work with Trey as one of my first students when I was a golf instructor. Having a hometown player from New Orleans win this national event is extremely gratifying."
Making the trophy presentations to the winners at the conclusion of play Thursday, along with PGA TOUR Veteran Gibson, and Foundation Executive Director Mason, were G. Charles "Chuck" Lapeyre, Sugar Bowl Committee President for 2016-17 and Dr. John Moore and Mason Moore, father and son of the late Tommy Moore, who is the namesake of the tournament. Lapeyre stated, "We are extremely proud of this event and our partnership with the Kelly Gibson Foundation to promote amateur athletics in the New Orleans community."