Justin Suh, Sabrina Iqbal Win Junior Tour of Northern California Player of the Year Crowns
July 29, 2015
Justin Suh closed out his junior career by making history, while Sabrina Iqbal made it two in a row.
Both San Jose residents, Suh and Iqbal claimed JTNC Boys’ and Girls’ Player of the Year honors for the 2014-2105 season.
Suh, the first male to earn Player of the Year honors twice, took the top spot thanks to a first place finish at the annual season-ending JTNC Tour Championship at Poppy Hills GC. An 18-year-old freshman at USC, Suh finished the season with 2,260 points.
Fellow San Jose resident Thomas Hutchison, who lost to Suh in the finals of this year’s San Francisco City Amateur, finished second with 1,755 points.
“I’ve been a part of the JTNC for so long that it means a lot to me,” said Suh, who won the Tour Championship by two strokes after shooting a final round 1-under 70. “It’s not a bad way to go out.”
Along with his wins at Poppy Hills and the San Francisco City, Suh also captured titles at the JTNC Summer Series II and Fall Series VIII Championships and the Santa Clara County Championship. The Player of the Year in 2013, Suh also added a tie for second at the CIF State High School Boys’ Championship at Poppy Hills after returning as defending champion.
“Northern California events have such tough fields in general, so it’s a huge confidence booster moving on to the collegiate level,” Suh said.
With her title, Iqbal, who also won the honor in 2014, joined Casie Cathrea as the only females to win back-to-back Player of the Year honors. Cathrea’s record three Player of the Year titles came in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
A 14-year-old sophomore at Pioneer High, Iqbal finished the season with 3,955 points, nearly doubling the total of runner-up Yealimi Noh of Concord (2,307). In 2014, Iqbal tallied 4,003 points en route to earning the title.
“I’m proud. The JTNC means a lot to me. It’s helped me grow as a player and it’s fun,” Iqbal said. “I’m hoping to break some records.”
During the season, Iqbal racked up four JTNC wins at the Fall Series I, Spring Series VII, Spring Series VIII and Summer Series I Championships. She’d have a chance to match her own JTNC record of four wins in a row but settled for a 12th place finish at the Summer Series II Championship.
Other Iqbal victories came at the CIF State High School Girls’ Championship and the NCGA Junior Championship at Spyglass Hill. She also finished second at two other JTNC championships and the NCGA/CIF NorCal Girls’ Championship.
“I didn’t play very well early in the season because I was really busy with school stuff,” said Iqbal, who now has 14 career JTNC wins, just four shy of Cathrea’s record of 18. “In the spring I was able to get back into a groove.”
Both Suh and Iqbal picked up the game from their fathers.
Suh’s dad, Duk, took Justin out to the range and the course when he was younger. Iqbal’s dad, Shaheen, is a PGA professional at The Villages Golf and Country Club.