FJT Tour Champions Crowned
Adena Golf & Country Club hosted the Florida Junior Tour Championship, challenging the juniors while presenting them with beautiful scenery. The top junior players in the state teed off Saturday morning en route to determine who would be crowned Tour Champion!
After round one, there was a four-way tie at the top in the Boys’ 16-18 division at one under-par, 71. Jacob Penny, of Valrico, Brett Schell, of Saint Augustine, Jackson Suber, of Tampa, and Austin Aliff, of Vero Beach, led by one stroke over Chris Nido, of Palmetto Bay, heading into the final round. To highlight round one, Justin Rickerson, of Eusits, dunked a hole-in-one on the par three eighth hole!
Round two saw impressive golf from 2015 Player of the Year, Brandon Mancheno. Brandon went on a birdie streak from hole six to hole 10, making five straight birdies! Making the turn in his final round at four under-par, Mancheno continued playing strong moving up to first place going into the final holes. Two more birdies gave Mancheno a six under-par, 66 and 140 (-4) total. Brett Schell followed close behind carding four birdies on his front nine to turn at two under-par. A one under-par final nine also moved Schell to a 140 two-day total. Jacob Penny was also a force to be reckoned with. Penny lit up his final nine holes with birdies on holes 10, 12, 16, and 18 to finish with a 69 and 140 total. The great final round play saw Mancheno, Penny, and Schell tied for first place and heading into a sudden death playoff to determine the winner!
The three leaders made their way to the 18th hole for the first hole in the sudden death playoff. Penny continued on his hot streak and stuck his approach shot into the 364 yard par four to three feet. A one-putt birdie sealed his victory over Mancheno and Schell! Penny won two FJT events in 2016 to end his year with three wins.
In the Boys’ 13-15 division, Jake Beber-Frankel, of Miami, sat in first place by one stroke after a round one three under-par, 69. Not far behind chased Joseph Pagdin, of Orlando, at two under-par, 70. Beber-Frankel held onto first place in round two with birdies on holes six, nine, 12 and 13. Jake finished the final round, one stroke over his first round, with a 70 and 139 (-5) total. A wire-to-wire first place win crowned Beber-Frankel Champion, four strokes ahead of second place. Jude Kim posted a two under-par second round to tie Joseph Pagdin for second place at a one under-par 143 total.
Julia Towne, of Eustis, and Jenny Kim, of Heathrow, tied for the lead after round one at three over-par 75. 2016 Girls’ Junior Player of the Year, Alyssa Lamoureux, of Seminole, tied Sarah Noonan, of Vero Beach, and Macy Somoskey, of Sanford, for second place heading into the final round at four over-par.
Lamoureux started the final round strong with an eagle on the 335 yard first hole followed by birdies on holes three, four, and eight to enter her last nine holes at five under-par. Alyssa’s strong play moved her up the leaderboard to first place. Towne and Kim faltered during the final round allowing Yurika Tanida, of Port Saint Lucie, to advance to second place heading into the final holes of the Championship. Alyssa finalized her victory with a birdie on the 16th hole to finish with a two under-par 70 and 146 total. Tanida captured second place by improving her first round score by eight strokes for a 148 total. Towne fell to third place at 149 and Sarah Noonan took fourth at 151.
There were no ties at the top of the leaderboard in the Girls’ 13-15 division after round one. Orlando resident, Erika Smith, stole the early lead with a first round of two under-par, 70. Following close behind with a first round 71 was Victoria Hwang, who earned her spot in the Tour Championship one week prior by winning the FJT at Timacuan Golf and Country Club.
The second round saw Siyan Chen, of Howey-in-the-Hills, overcome Erika to capture first place! Chen played an impressive front nine with four birdies and with two more birdies on her final nine holes she finished at one under-par, 71. Finishing the two days at even-par (144), Chen claimed first place honors one stroke above Erika Smith! Smith and Hwang both posted a final round 75. Smith claimed second place with a 145 total while Hwang completed the top three with a 146 total. Chen can add Tour Champion to her 2016 resume that includes Girls’ Junior Amateur Champion and Girls’ Junior Match Play Champion!