Pano and Nido Storm to the Top
The Florida Junior Tour put another 16-18 division event in the books on May 1st. Players competed at one of the toughest tests of golf in the state of Florida, Old Corkscrew Golf Club in Estero, Florida.
Old Corkscrew provides one of the biggest challenges to competitors each time the FJT travels there, and this time around was no different. Round one saw scores average just over 83 strokes per round. Jacob Penny paced the field on Saturday with a one over par, 73, placing him a in a good spot to earn his second straight victory on the tour. Within two shots of Penny were Chris Nido, David Morgan and Cole Castro. Eleven year old, Alexa Pano and fourteen year old, Katie You tied the round one lead in the girls' division after opening 76s. Lurking behind the two leaders were a group of five girls within three shots.
Sunday saw the average score shrink by just under a stroke to 82.7, but the course still provided everyone a substantial challenge. The girls division saw its youngest competitor take her opening lead to the top after an obscene one under par, 71. Pano birdied holes 11, 15, 16 and 17 on the back nine alone, as she went out in 34. A paltry two birdies on her closing nine lead to a 37 giving her the only red score of the weekend. Alexa has won twice in the 13-15 division and now has earned her first win in the 16-18 division. First round co-leader Katie You closed with a 77, the second best score of the day for the girls division, placing her in solo second.
The penultimate group of the boys division saw some fireworks on the front nine as Chris Nido opened with a 33, getting him back to even par for the tournament. Jacob Penny, also in the final group went out with a 38, leaving him three shots behind Nido at the turn. A triple bogey for Nido on number 10 brought the two back to a tie, where they would stay for the duration. The two went out to the 18th hole for a playoff and both were in prime position as both drives found the fairway. Both would go on to miss the green, Nido long and right and Penny left into the lateral water hazard. Nido hit a beautiful chip from a downhill lie to 5 feet. Penny just missed his chip-in par attempt, leaving Nido a putt for the win, which he drilled right in the heart for his first FJT title.
Thank you to everyone at Old Corkscrew Golf Club for welcoming us with open arms and providing a stern test of golf and congratulations to our winners, Alexa Pano and Chris Nido.