After battling it out for 18 holes, Father Duenas’ Markus Nanpei finished second at the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour’s Augusta Summer Junior Open Sunday in Evans, Georgia.
In the first day of competition, Nanpei shot 8-over par to tie it up for third in the Boys 14-15 Division. The Father Duenas junior opened with a flawless three rounds, sinking two pars and a birdie on the Bartram Trails Golf Club’s Will Smith course. His golf game wasn’t as consistent as the day wore on, however.
“The first day I struggled a little bit, but on the second day, I turned things around and played better,” said Nanpei, who hopes to eventually play golf at the collegiate level if he continues to improve.
He started off the second day three strokes behind the leader, playing stellar golf to take the lead after the first nine holes. He duked it out for the next nine holes with South Carolina’s Carter Allison and Matthew Baxley.
“The competition came down to the last hole with Markus already posting six birdies after 17 holes,” said his dad, Mark Nanpei. “He needed a par on the last hole to send it into a playoff.”
Unfortunately, the elder Nanpei said, Markus bogeyed, settling for second in his age division.
Looking back, Markus Nanpei is taking some of the lessons from Georgia and evaluating what he needs to improve as he moves forward.
“I’m proud of the way I putted,” he said. However, he admits, he probably could have hit his drives a little better.
The Guam Daily Post caught up with the busy Friar just as he wrapped up the two-day tourney and was preparing for a trip to Tennessee where he will compete in another two-day tourney to help him elevate his golf game.
“We are trying to get Markus as much tournament experience as possible so he can feel confident to compete against national and international competitors,” Mark Nanpei said. “We arrived stateside July 5 and have been hitting the road since.”
The 15-year-old has a tourney in Tennessee that starts on July 28. From there, he will head to Pinehurst, North Carolina, to compete in the National High School Invitational with several of his teammates from Father Duenas.
Driven to compete well, the younger Nanpei has competed in several countries across the region, including Japan, China, the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as several states.
With his eye on refining his short game and adjusting after Georgia, Markus Nanpei said he is eager to get to Tennessee.
"I want to get some practice time in before the next competition,” he said. “We left Georgia right after the tournament and are on the road right now to Tennessee.”