Niebrugge, Pezzola win Golfweek Jr. Series
GAYLORD, Mich. – Jordan Niebrugge and Chelsea Pezzola came to Golfweek’s Junior Series event at Treetops Resort with a common goal: qualify for the Golfweek Junior Invitational in November.
Niebrugge, who advanced to match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur at Trump National in July and lost in the first round to Max McKay, followed an opening-round 2-under 68 with a final-round 67 to finish at 5-under 135 and claim medalist honors. Pezzola won the girls’ division, finishing with a 5-over 75 for an eight-shot victory.
“I have been in this situation before and know how it feels,” said Niebrugge, of Mequon, Wis., at No. 281 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings the top-ranked player in the field.
Golfweek Junior Series highlights
The 6-foot-2 sophomore at Homestead High School gave credit to his putting.
“I just had it going on the greens. I didn’t really hit it that close but I was making my 15 to 20-footers, which helps a lot,” Niebrugge said.
Niebrugge finished four shots better than runner-up Eric Ong of Carmel, Ind. Ong posted the tournament’s low round – a 5-under 65 – on the par-70 Traditions Course.
“I didn’t make any mistakes,” Ong said. “I hit every fairway and a lot of greens and didn’t take any risks.”
Jordan Niebrugge and Chelsea Pezzola chat about their victories at the Golfweek Junior Series event in Michigan.
Ong felt he needed a 66 or better to have a chance to win. His 65, which include no 5s on his card, was his best competitive score.
Two players tied for third at 1-over 141 - Otto Black of Pickney, Mich., and Sam Weber of Hartland, Wis. They joined Niebrugge and Ong as qualifiers for the Golfweek Junior Invitational.
Pezzola, who started on No. 10, shot 40 on her front nine, but finished strong with an even-par 35. Her 36-hole total of 149 was eight shots better than Chelsea Guoynes (79).
With the University of Michigan women’s coach Cheryl Stacey watching, Pezzola battled her nerves early, but found her way before day’s end.
“I started out and was pretty nervous,” Pezzola said. “I didn’t have a great front nine so I knew I needed to pick it up.”
Pezzola, of Bradenton, Fla., took advantage of her trip north. Not only did she earn a spot in the Golfweek Junior Invitational, she also made an unofficial visit to the University of Michigan prior to the start of the tournament.
“It was awesome,” Pezzola said. “I’m really looking forward to (the Golfweek Junior) and playing against some of the best juniors.”
Niebrugge was also happy to have set a goal and reached it.
“This means a lot to me,” he said. “Now I get to go to Florida and hopefully play better and maybe win there, too. Playing in the U.S. Junior was obviously more memorable, but this has got to be top 5 at least.”
Advancing to the Golfweek Junior Invitational at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 7-8:
- Jordan Niebrugge
- Eric Ong
- Sam Weber
- Otto Black
- Chelsea Pezzola