Media contact: Jeff Shain
Full scoring: JuniorOrangeBowl.org/what-we-do/sports/golf
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Jan. 4, 2023) — Kelvin Hernandez and Vincent Stjernfeldt began Round 2 at the Junior Orange Bowl International golf championships with a four-shot cushion over anybody else in the boys’ division.
Within an hour, troublesome starts left each lumped back among the rest of their rivals.
Yet to their credit, both golfers used the remainder of Wednesday’s proceedings to battle back and find themselves in pretty much the same positions where they started the day — Nos. 1 and 2 on the leaderboard.
“It was definitely a roller coaster of a round,” said Hernandez, the Puerto Rican teen who rose from a par/bogey/double bogey start at breezy Biltmore Golf Club for an even-par 71. That left him one shot clear of Sweden’s Stjernfeldt (72) as the tournament’s 59th edition reached the midway point.
Anna Davis endured a dicey patch of her own on Wednesday, but a closing eagle eased any frustration as the reigning Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion took control of the girls’ competition after a 2-under-par 69.
“The finish was nice,” said Davis, who had seen three back-nine bogeys offset three birdies before the turn. “I was getting a little distracted out there. It was kind of hot and slow, so in the end it was a good finish.”
The California teen’s eagle at No. 18 allowed her to become the only girl to complete 36 holes under par. At 1-under 141, she was three shots clear of a pair of South Florida challengers in first-round leader Remi Bacardi (Miami) and Kayla Bryant (Boca Raton).
“I’m actually looking forward to (the pairing),” said Bryant, Wednesday’s only other girl with a round at par or better after carding a 71. “I’ve looked up to her for a while, following what she’s done.”
Wednesday’s warm and breezy conditions put a damper on going low at The Biltmore, with a 68 from Morocco’s Hugo Trommetter the best of just six boys’ rounds to break par. By contrast, there were 10 such rounds one day earlier.
Trommetter’s 68 moved him up the board into third place, two shots behind Hernandez.
“I think the wind was a factor for all of us,” said Hernandez, who holds both the Caribbean Junior and Caribbean Amateur titles. “On the last nine holes, the wind picked up and the greens got harder.”
The final stretch really wasn’t Hernandez’s headache, though. It was going 3-over in his first three holes, prompting him to make up ground the rest of the day.
“Oh, it was shocking,” said Hernandez. “I honestly didn’t expect to start off like that.”
Starting his day on the back nine, Hernandez made a “pretty bad bogey” at the par-4 11th hole and then found himself staring at a 30-minute wait at the par-3 12th.
“I’d say it affected things a little bit,” said Hernandez. “I’d just made bogey and 12 is a tough hole, so I’m just wanting to put it on the green. Then when I saw two groups (in front on the tee), I’m telling myself to take my time and relax.”
When it came his time, Hernandez pulled his tee shot on the way to double bogey.
“It was more mental than anything,” he said.
From there, though, Hernandez recovered nicely. Birdies on four of the next six holes managed to more than get back the strokes lost to par. The front nine was much steadier, with a birdie and two bogeys.
“I’m really happy with that,” Hernandez said. “I know the front side’s a little easier and I shot 1-over, but after the start I had, to shoot even-par is nice.”
There was no chance Stjernfeldt was going to duplicate his start from Round 1, when he made two eagles in his first four holes. But he also didn’t figure to bogey two of his first four and add another two holes later.
“It was the other way around this time,” said Stjernfeldt.
Back-to-back birdies bridging the turn helped make things right, and he played the rest of his round in even-par.
“I battled out there,” the Swede said. “It wasn’t the score (I made) yesterday, but I have to be pleased with a 72 after my start.”
After Trommetter in third, four golfers were another shot back at 3-under 139. That group included Jay Brooks (Boca Raton, Fla.), last year’s runner-up whose attempt to go wire-to-wire was foiled by Miami’s Nicholas Prieto.
Davis appeared ready to run away with the girls’ division, playing her front nine in 3-under par to start putting distance between her and anyone else. But bogeys at Nos. 13, 14 and 17 brought her closer to the pack until the closing eagle.
“I kind of went on a dry spell there,” she said. “I just wasn’t hitting it as close or making the putts.”
Bryant had perhaps the day’s steadiest round, carding two birdies with two bogeys for her 71 that pulled her alongside Bacardi (73) for second.
“I made a lot more putts today, a lot more up-and-downs (for par),” Bryant said. “I hit less greens (in regulation), but my putter was really working.”
The Junior Orange Bowl International’s history features such champions as Tiger Woods (1991), LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park (2002), LPGA major winners Lexi Thompson (2009) and Brooke Henderson (2013) and recent PGA Tour winners Joaquin Niemann (2014) and Kevin Na (2000).
This year’s field brings together entrants from such divergent locales as Ukraine, Paraguay, Finland, Hong Kong, Poland, Zimbabwe, Serbia, Iceland, Hungary, Haiti and the Cayman Islands.
Live scoring and other tournament information can be found at JuniorOrangeBowl.org/what-we-do/sports/golf.
The Golf Championship is one of 10 athletic, artistic and cultural events that make up the Junior Orange Bowl International Youth Festival, which celebrates its 74th anniversary in 2022-23. The festival draws more than 7,500 youth participants to South Florida’s community each year.
For more information on the Golf Championship or other Junior Orange Bowl activities, visit JuniorOrangeBowl.org.
BOYS TOP 5
1. Kelvin Hernandez, Puerto Rico 65-71=136 (-6)
2. Vincent Stjernfeldt, Sweden 65-72=137 (-5)
3. Hugo Trommetter, Morocco 70-68=138 (-4)
t4. Marco Florioli, Italy 69-70=139 (-3)
t4. Filippo Ponzano, Italy 69-70=139 (-3)
t4. Jay Brooks, Boca Raton, Fla. 70-69=139 (-3)
t4. Eric Zhao, Canada 70-69=139 (-3)
GIRLS TOP 5
1. Anna Davis, Spring Valley, Calif. 72-69=141 (-1)
t2. Remi Bacardi, Miami 71-73=144 (+2)
t2. Kayla Bryant, Boca Raton, Fla. 73-71=144 (+2)
t4. Savannah De Bock, Belgium 73-73=146 (+4)
t4. Marie-Elodie Prats-Rigual, France 74-72=146 (+4)