STATESBORO, GA. — Brandon Cho of Suwanee held on to the lead to win the Georgia Junior Championship by three strokes at 5-under-par 211 at Forest Heights Country Club. Finishing a few minutes later was the Georgia Girls’ Championship at Georgia Southern University Golf Course, as Ivy Shepherd of Peachtree City earned the win at 3-under-par 213.
Cho posted rounds under par (69-70) the first two days to give himself a chance for the title. During Wednesday’s final round, the 15-year-old recorded a steady even-par with a bogey on one and a birdie on 18 to seal the championship. Cho was tied with Grant Sutliff of Suwanee with one hole to play at 4-under. Sutliff missed his putt for par and made bogey to give Cho a one-stroke lead with one to play. Cho took advantage of Sutliff’s mishap and made birdie for the win.
Sutliff finished as runner-up at 3-under-par 213 (70-72-71). Davis Kirk of Dalton, who at one point during the final round held the lead, finished third at 2-under-par 214 (69-75-70). Three players tied for fourth at 1-under-par 215, including 18-hole leader Jack Vajda of Canton (68-77-70), Matthew Giesler of Marietta (72-71-72) and reigning Georgia Amateur champion Colin Bowles of Albany (72-70-73). Takafumi Shimoji of Suwanee (73-73-70) and Beck Burnette of Blairsville (70-72-74) tied for seventh at even-par 216. Rounding out the top 10 were seven players at 1-over-par 217: Bartley Forrester of Gainesville (74-76-67), Myles Jones of Suwanee (74-72-71), Gavin Noble of Ringgold (73-72-72), Dustin Demersseman of Athens (72-72-73), Mark Brown of Johns Creek (70-74-73), Ben Carr of Columbus (72-70-75) and Owen Burden of Atlanta (73-69-75). Once 36 holes were played, 73 competitors made the cut at 11-over-par 155 and better.
The top eight finishers at the Georgia Junior Championship qualify for the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match, taking place at Bulls Bay Golf Club in Awendaw, South Carolina, July 21-22. Those who will represent the Peach State include Cho, Sutliff, Kirk, Vajda, Giesler, Bowles, Shimoji and Burnette. Seven players finished tied for ninth, so a playoff was needed to determine the first and second alternate spots. After replaying number one, Burden and Jones earned the first and second alternate positions, respectively.
Shepherd (70-75-68) won the Georgia Girls’ Championship by six strokes over Tess Davenport of Buford, who earned runner-up honors at 3-over-par 219 (73-77-69). Shepherd recorded nine birdies and six bogeys over the 54-hole competition to claim victory. During the final round, she made birdies on holes five, six and nine on the front side to turn at 3-under. On the back, she made a bogey on 14 and added birdies on 15 and 18 for good measure.
Carol Pyon of Macon finished third at 4-over-par 220 (69-74-77), and Louise Yu of Duluth came in fourth at 5-over-par 221 (70-77-74). Fifth-place went to Christine McDonnell of Suwanee at 7-over-par 223 (72-76-75). Elisa Yang of Norcross posted an 8-over-par 224 (75-75-74) to finish sixth. Caroline Craig of Sautee Nacoochee came in seventh at 12-over-par 228 (72-78-78). Sara Im of Duluth came in eighth at 13-over-par 229 (83-75-71). Rounding out the overall top 10 were two players at 16-over-par 232, including Ayanna Habeel of Decatur (79-80-73) and Christyn Carr of Duluth (76-82-74).
Six players at the Georgia Girls’ Championship will play for the Georgia-South Carolina Girls’ Junior Challenge Match, taking place across the border at DeBordieu Club in Georgetown, August 5-6. The team will include include Shepherd, Davenport, Pyon, Yu, Yang, and Craig. The 51st playing of the Georgia Junior Championship took place at Forest Heights Country Club and the 38th edition of the Georgia Girls’ Championship was contested at Georgia Southern University Golf Course.