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February 19, 2014

Huntsville’s Phillips faces top competition

Junior Hornet golfer places 19th at boys national invational in The Woodlands

Over the past two and a half years, Huntsville’s Chandler Phillips has proven to be one of the best golfers in the state of Texas.

Last weekend, he got the chance to see how he fared against the best junior golfers from around the world.

He competed at the CB&I Boys Championship, an invitation-only event hosted by the American Junior Golf Association, which was played on the par-72, 7,311-yard Fazio Championship Course at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands on Friday through Monday.

Phillips shot 74-76-70 to finish with a three-day total of 220 and four strokes over par to finish tied for 19th.

“This was the toughest field I’ve played against,” Phillips said Tuesday. “There were players from all over the world. There was a kid I played against who was from Taiwan. This is probably the biggest tournament I’ve played in. The 72 top-ranked (junior golf) players were here.

“I thought I was pretty good, but I realized I was nothing. Those guys really pushed me around.”

Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, Ill., won the tournament with a 12-under-par 204 to break Jordan Spieth’s 54-hole tournament record of 10-under-par 206 set in 2011.

Among the 72 golfers invited to the tournament was Bryan Rudder’s Jonathan Vasquez, who outlasted Phillips for the District 18-4A individual medalist title last April.

“I beat some guys who were ranked in the top 20,” Phillips said. “It just shows what I have to do to get to that next level.”

Phillips was able to navigate through holes Nos. 1-13 with ease, playing 4-under golf through all three rounds.

The last five holes presented a few troubles and he finished the tournament 8-over-par on the five finishing holes.

“I played good all three days on those first 13 holes,” Phillips explained. “I got tired on those last five holes and you can’t be tired on those holes.”

Phillips was set to join his Hornet teammates at the Dodson-Evans Memorial golf tournament in Bastrop last weekend, but he said he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play at the AJGA invitational tournament.

“I couldn’t miss this opportunity,” Phillips said. “They called my dad on Thursday and the tournament started on Saturday, so there wasn’t much time to decide.”

The 72-player field featured players from 20 states, Colombia, China, Bolivia, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Zimbabwe. The field included 12 of the top 25 boys in the Polo Golf Rankings and 32 Rolex Junior All-Americans.

Next up for Phillips and the Hornets is the regional preview tournament, which will be held at River Ridge Golf Club in Sealy on Feb. 28 and March 1.

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