IMG Academy student-athletes win three of four divisions at IMG Junior Golf Tour Southeast Kickoff
Japan’s Shuhei Takahashi was one of three IMG Academy student-athletes to win their divisions
at the IMG Junior Golf Tour Southeast Kickoff
The IMG Junior Golf Tour officially teed off for its fifth season at the Southeast Kickoff at Sara Bay Country Club in Sarasota, Fla., Sept. 20-21. The event attracted a field 84 players from seven states and 15 countries, and three IMG Academy student-athletes emerged victorious. Notably, brothers Shuhei and Kyohei Takahashi won the Boys 15-18 and 11-14 divisions, respectively. The Toyokawa, Japan natives were the talk of the first round, creating a buzz around their impressive play during on the first day. The elder Takahashi, Shuhei, pulled away early with a 4-stroke lead heading into Sunday after carding an impressive 3-under 69 in the first round.
Shuhei Takahashi had been on the rise after winning Japan’s 40th annual Central Junior Golf Championship over the summer. Sixteen-year old Shuhei Takahashi entered the Southeast Kickoff with 21 career starts and two previous Tour victories. Younger brother Kyohei, 14-years old, finished with a 3-over 147 to win his division in his first-career IMG Junior Golf Tour start. Kyohei held off his classmate at IMG Academy, 14-year old Skyler Eubank of Bradenton, Fla., for the win. Shuhei’s win also meant a milestone for the Takahashi family, because Shuhei also won his first-career Tour start at the LPGA International in October 2012, making the Takahashi brothers the only set of siblings to each win their first-ever starts on the IMG Junior Golf Tour.
On the girls’ side, the IMG Junior Golf Tour Girls 15-18 Player of the Year Jaravee Boonchant, a native of Thailand, picked up right where she left off a season ago. Boonchant won Player of the Year honors by a landslide, but she faced a tough test from fellow IMG Academy student-athlete, Chinatsu Kobayashi of Chiba, Japan. Boonchant and Kobayashi entered the scoring tent on Sunday tied at 3-under 141 to force a playoff. The playoff was played on the 10th hole, with Boonchant walking away as the winner.