Local high school golfers in contention at Dustin Johnson Championship

Local high school golfers in contention at Dustin Johnson Championship

February 14, 2016 

From Chris King

Myrtle Beach, S.C. – Blake Taylor of Atkinson, N.C., and China's Zhu Wenqi used strong finishes to take three-shot leads after the second round of the Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship.

Taylor and Graham Hutchinson of Bethesda, Md., were even heading into the 16th hole when the East Carolina signee separated himself with consecutive birdies. With temperatures falling along the with the afternoon sun, Taylor struck the ball beautifully over the last three holes and converted birdie putts on 16 and 17, getting him back to even par for the tournament.

Hutchinson had a three-putt bogey on the 18th, dropping him into a second place tie with Jamie Wilson of Mount Pleasant at 3-over par.

While Taylor finished with a flourish, he didn't start that way, as he made double bogey on No. 2 and bogey on No. 3. After bogey on the 10th, Taylor was +4 on the day, but he turned his round and the tournament around with a birdie on the 11th.

On a day when the average score was just over 80, Nick Willis of Cowpens, S.C., and Avery Price of Gastonia, N.C., each shot even par 72, the best rounds of the day.

On the girls' side, Wenqi, who began play two strokes behind first round leader Kathleen Sumner, bogeyed two of her first three holes but was resilient. She birdied her sixth hole to steady herself and took control of the event with birdies on her 16th and 17th holes.

Wenqi shot a 2-over 74, equaling the best round of the day on the girl's side, and is +7 for the tournament, three strokes better than Kayley Marschke of Suwanee, Ga. Caroline Cahill is four shots back in third place.

The final round will tee off Monday morning at 8:30 a.m.

The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship has attracted 90 kids from 12 states and eight countries to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the 54-hole event.

Among the countries represented at the event are Canada, China, England, Japan, Philippines, Scotland and Sweden. Nearly a quarter of the field will be comprised of international players.

A significant part of the tournament's appeal is TPC Myrtle Beach, one of the Grand Strand's most decorated layouts. TPC Myrtle Beach has hosted the Senior PGA Tour Championship and been ranked among "America's 100 Greatest Public Courses" by Golf Digest, making it an ideal venue to test golf's rising young stars.

With the support of Johnson, one of top 10 players in the world, the tournament will provide participants a PGA Tour-like experience, and the chance to challenge themselves against their peers from others parts of America and the world.

The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship is being sponsored by Founders Group International, the Dustin Johnson Golf School, and Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday.

Johnson's involvement with the tournament reflects his long-time commitment to junior golf, particularly in South Carolina, where he grew into one of the world's best players. Through the Dustin Johnson Foundation, which is headquartered in Myrtle Beach, Johnson has donated more than $250,000 to junior golf, sponsoring numerous events throughout the state and helping cover entry costs for kids who need financial assistance.

About Founders Group International 
Founders Group International is the foremost golf course owner-operator company in the Southeast. Formed in 2014 through various purchases and the 2015 acquisition of National Golf Management, Founders Group International owns and operates 22 golf courses (423 holes) in and around Myrtle Beach, S.C., the world's most popular golf destination. Founders Group International also has a division that does residential and retail development. And, it has partnered with one of the biggest travel agencies in China to bring golfers and wedding parties to Myrtle Beach, S.C.

About Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday
Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday is a non-profit trade association comprised of 79 championship golf courses and 99 golf package providers in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area. Founded in 1967, the organization continues to be the driving force behind the growth of the region's thriving golf market. The originator of the "Stay and Play Package," Golf Holiday provides non-biased information about accommodations and golf courses to assist golfers in making the most informed decisions when planning for their next vacation.

Golf Holiday also hosts seven events and tournaments annually to help to foster continued growth of the game. In addition to hosting the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After The Masters Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament each spring, Golf Holiday also runs the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship – the world's largest single-site amateur golf tournament, the Summer Family Golf Tournaments, the Palmetto High School Golf Championships, the Veterans Golf Classic, the Preseason Classic, the March Championship and the Myrtle Beach Fall Classic.