First-round Notes: 2015 World Championship

The 2015 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship marks the 10th anniversary in Pinehurst and the 16th anniversary of the tournament.

Today, 1,442 junior golfers (and caddies) embarked on a three-day journey with their sights set on raising the coveted World Championship trophy. Ten Pinehurst area golf courses will play host to thirteen age groups again over the next two days.

Road to Pinehurst

The U.S. Kids Golf staff is proud to welcome players and their families from over 50 countries. Three players from Sydney, Australia traveled farther than anyone else this week—9,577 miles:

  • Christian Rees (Boys 7)
  • Ruby Kavanagh (Girls 7 & Under)
  • Sophie Yip (Girls 11)

We are also joined by three Pinehurst natives who are fortunate enough to enjoy the company of their own home while living in arguably the most golf-friendly area in the world:

  • Sebastian Balbin (Boys 6 & Under)
  • Hou Guanting (Boys 8)
  • Harley Parks (Girls 12)

Low Rounds

Little River is getting quite the workout again this year to a tune of 63 carded by Allan Kournikova (Boys 10) who carries a five shot lead into day two.

Seven Lakes, the newest edition to the World Championship courses, was no match for Alexa Pano (Girls 10) on Thursday. Pano, who was one of Kournikova’s co-stars in the documentary The Short Game, tied Elle Nachmann (Girls 12) with a 3-under 69 in round one.

“A bad attitude is worse than a bad swing.”

-Payne Stewart

Boys Results & Tee Times

Girls Results & Tee Times

Van Horn Cup Projections


Final-Round Notes: 2015 Teen World Championship


Final results
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Three international players and three Americans claimed Teen World Championship titles Saturday in Pinehurst.

Boys 13  |  Pinehurst No. 8
1  Canon Claycomb (Bowling Green, KY): -8
2  Louis Dobbelaar (Australia): -7
3  Vanchai Luangnitikul (Thailand): -6

After posting a steady 2-under par in the first two rounds of the tournament, Canon Claycomb carded a clutch 4-under on the final day. Claycomb’s 68 was the lowest score of the final round across all age groups. His overall score of 208 gave him a one shot advantage over Louis Dobbelaar (Australia) and earned him the title of the 2015 U.S. Kids Golf Teen World Champion (Boys 13). He will return home to Bowling Green, KY with a new piece of hardware to add to his 2015 collection— 1st place in the Copperhead Classic and Jekyll Island Cup.

Boys 14  |  Pinehurst No. 9
1  Connor Creasy (Abington, VA): -6
T2 Henry Dubiel (North Palm Beach, FL): -5
T2 Jake Miller (Richmond, VA): -5
T2 Andres Quintanilla (Mexico): -5

A single stroke also decided the Boys 14 age group: Connor Creasy (Abingdon, VA) narrowly edged out three competitors, carding a 2-under 70 on Saturday. A strong 33 on the back side of Pinehurst No. 9 solidified his spot in U.S. Kids Golf history. Henry Dubiel (North Palm Beach, FL), Jake Miller (Richmond, IN), and Andres Quintanilla (Mexico) fell just short of Creasy’s 210 total, and will look to improve on their solid finishes as they graduate to the Boys 15-18 age group in 2016.

Boys 15-18  |  Pinehurst No. 2/4
1  Paul Chaplet (Costa Rica): -4
2  Ryggs Johnston (Libby, MT): -1
3  Keelan Van Wyk (South Africa): +1

In Boys 15-18, Paul Chaplet (Costa Rica) rose to the occasion on Saturday, carding a 73 at the storied Pinehurst No. 2 en route to his first Teen World Championship victory. The four-time participant won by three strokes as the majority of the field struggled on the U.S. Open track. Keelan Van Wyk (South Africa) and Paphangkorn Itthiratchai (Thailand) carded the low rounds of the day— 71.

Girls 13  |  Mid Pines
1  Bentley Cotton (Austin, TX): +8
T2 Phoebe Beber-Frankel (Miami, FL): +17
T2 Lillian Berry (Dover, FL): +17

Bentley Cotton continued her dominance of the Girls 13 age group posting a 2-over 74 at Mid Pines on Saturday. Her nine stroke advantage was the largest margin of victory across all age groups. She improved on her 2014 World Championship appearance by 37 places, and will return to Austin, Texas a U.S. Kids Golf Teen World Champion. Phoebe Beber-Frankel (Miami, FL) and Lillian Berry (Dover, Florida) tied for second at +17.

Girls 14  |  Mid Pines
1  Georgia Oboh (United Kingdom): +7
T2 Sitanan Jonglikit (Thailand): +10
T2 Rachel Kuehn (Asheville, NC): +10

In Girls 14, Georgia Oboh (United Kingdom) erased a five shot deficit by carding a 3-under in her final round. Her 69 at Mid Pines was the lowest round of the tournament among female competitors, and earned her a champion’s speech at the Closing Ceremonies where she inspired the audience and brought many to tears. Sitanun Jonglikit (Thailand) and Rachel Kuehn (Asheville, NC) both shot 74 on the final day to tie for second at +10, three strokes off the lead.

Girls 15-18  |  Mid Pines 
1  Maria Fernanda Escauriza (Paraguay): E
2  Shuan Chen (Taiwan): +2
3  Haeley Wotnosky (Wake Forest, NC): +5

Maria Fernanda Escauriza produced the low round of the day (70) in Girls 15-18. Her 34 on the back nine proved to be pivotal in her quest for her first Teen World Championship win. Shuan Chen (Taiwan) fought hard to erase her detrimental first round by posting 70-71 in the final two days of the tournament, but it would not be enough to overthrow Escauriza. North Carolina native and 2014 Teen World Champion, Haeley Wotnosky finished in third place, five strokes off the lead.

Sam Thomas (Boys 14): Pinehurst No. 9, Hole #17 with a USKG Tour Series PW

Second-round notes: 2015 Teen World Championship

Second-round results  |  Final-round tee times
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Five of the six age divisions have outright leaders with 18 holes left to play, but many worthy competitors hang in the balance. Saturday promises to make for an exciting final round at the Teen World Championship.

Boys 13 features our largest lead, a distinction held by Australia’s Louis Dobbelaar (-9). Dobbelaar, who shot 67 in the first round fired a 68 on Friday to take a commanding four shot lead on Hiroshi Tai (-5).

The Boys 14 age group is dominated by U.S. players. 10 of the top 11 in the division call America home, and the pack is co-led by Connor Creasy (Virginia) and Henry Dubiel (Florida) at 4-under. Dubiel birdied three of his last four holes to tie for the lead and solidify his final round pairing with Creasy. Three players are tied at 3-under, so it’s still anyone’s tournament.

Small town Ryggs Johnston (-6) maintained his lead after day two, but Paul Chaplet (-5) was able to gain a stroke after carding a 1-under 71. Chaplet, a three-time Teen/World Championship participant has improved his finish tremendously each year, and has his sights set on the title this week.

The largest lead among the girls belongs to Ms. Consistent, Bentley Cotton who posted her second consecutive 75. She has a four shot lead on Ieon Sin Kuan (China) and Katie You (Florida).

Rachel Kuehn (North Carolina) broke into the top three of the Girls 14 age group with a 2-over 74. She pulled herself into a tie for second at +8 with Sitanun Jonglikit (Thailand). Both girls have some ground to make up if they are going to catch Nicha Vorrasanpisut (Thailand) who sits atop the leaderboard at +5. Saying that Caroline Hodge (New York) improved on day two would be an understatement. After posting a disappointing 86 in round two, Hodge shocked the competition with a 1-under 71. She heads into day three in seventh place at +8.

International players currently occupy seven of the Top 10 places in the Girls 15-18 field, including the top 3. Maria Fernanda Escauriza (Paraguay) leads the pack at +2 after carding a steady even par in her second round. Shuan Chen (Taiwan) occupies second place after recording a bogey-free, 2-under second round. Chiara Arya (Indonesia) and Haeley Wotnosky (North Carolina) are tied for third at +4. Wotnosky was the champion of the 2014 Girls 14 age group, and will look to add some more hardware to her trophy case on Saturday.

Travon Willis (Boys 14): Pinehurst No. 9, Hole #17

Teen Van Horn Cup Projections:
Boys Projections After 2nd Round
Girls Projections After 2nd Round

First-round notes: 2015 Teen World Championship

First-round results  |  Second-round tee times
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Three United States players and three International players currently occupy the tops of the leaderboards after the first round of the Teen World Championship.

One boy in each age group emerged with a two-stroke lead or better, while a handful of challengers have positioned themselves nicely for the upcoming rounds.

The three-stroke lead held by Louis Dobbelaar (Boys 13) is the largest among the three competitors. The Australian native traveled further than any other competitor at this year’s event — over 9,300 miles and across 14 time zones. He should sleep well on a three-stroke lead heading into day two.

Behind the strength of seven birdies and only two bogeys, Jake Miller (Boys 14) carded a 5-under, 67 on the day. Miller’s strong effort in the first round gave him a two shot lead, with eight Americans behind him.

Ryggs Johnston (Boys 15-18) leads the pack at only 15 years of age after shooting a tournament-low 66 in the opening round. In the 2014 Teen World Championship he carded a final round 62 to finish runner-up in the Boys 14 age group. That puts him at 16-under for his last two rounds at Pinehurst; not bad for a kid from the small town of Libby, Montana that posses whopping 2,628 people.

Comparable to the boys, one girl in each age group beat out the rest of the field to gain sole possession of the top spot on the leaderboard.

Bentley Cotton, who possesses the name of a champion, leads the Girls 13 age group after shooting a 3-over 75 at Mid Pines. The three-time World Championship participant carded four birdies on the day en route to a two shot lead.

Three competitors from Thailand showed up to play in the Girls 14 age group. Nicha Vorrasanpisut, a U.S. Kids Golf rookie, emerged onto the stage after carding four birdies and four bogeys for an even par, 72. Her two fellow Thailand competitors, Janejilla Martston and Sitanun Jonglikut, reside closely behind her in second and third place, respectively. These Thai girls mean business.

Another 15-year-old occupies the top spot in the 15-18 age group, but this time in the Girls division. Julia Alhemoud carded a 1-over, 73 in the first round. Alhemoud is back with a vengeance this year after coming up just short in the 2014 Teen World Championship. She will look to carry her momentum into Day 2 and take one step closer to the World Championship trophy that narrowly escaped her.

Jonah Leach (Boys 13): Pinehurst No. 8, Hole #5
Michael Ikejiani (Boys 13): Pinehurst No. 8, Hole #15

Boys 15-18 (Pinehurst No. 4)
-6…Ryggs Johnston (Montana, USA)
-4…Paul Chaplet (Costa Rica)
-4…Justin Johns (Tennessee, USA)
-4…Isaac Simmons (Virginia, USA)

Boys 14 (Pinehurst No. 9)
-5…Jake Miller (Indiana, USA)
-3…Henry Dubiel (Florida, USA)
-3…Ross Steelman (Missouri, USA)
-3…Matt Stuart (Alabama, USA)

Boys 13 (Pinehurst No. 8)
-5…Louis Dobbelaar (Australia)
-2…Canon Claycomb (Kentucky, USA)
-2…Jack Heath (North Carolina, USA)
-2…Jason Quinlan (Minnesota, USA)
-1…3 Tied

Girls 15-18 (Mid Pines)
+1…Julia Alhemoud (Kuwait)
+2…Maria Fernanda Escauriza (Paraguay)
+3…Maria Regina Gonzalez (Mexico)
+3…Chloe Belle Hooton (California, USA)
+3…Chiara Arya (Indonesia)

Girls 14 (Mid Pines)
E…Nicha Vorrasanpisut (Thailand)
+2…Janejilla Marston (Thailand)
+7…Sitanun Jonglikit (Thailand)
+7…Georgia Oboh (United Kingdom)

Girls 13 (Mid Pines)
+3…Bentley Cotton (Texas, USA)
+5…Soona Lee-Tolley (New York, USA)
+6…Sophie Holland (North Carolina, USA)
+8…4 Tied

Check the scoreboard at each course to view the Van Horn Cup Projections through Round 1. The Van Horn Cup will be played Sunday, July 26, on Pinehurst No. 2