Kim and Stone Prevail to Win State Titles
With a day guaranteed for excellent golf, it was Jenny Kim and Latanna Stone who put on the best show to claim the 2017 Girls' Junior State Amateur Championship in the 16-18 and 13-15 age divisions, respectively. Playing the Oaks Club in Osprey, the field was cut yesterday and left Jenny Kim and Alyssa Lamoureux leading in the 16-18 division whereas Katie Yoo held the 36-hole lead in the 13-15 division.
The stage was set as Kim and Lamoureux headed to the first tee today and Yoo was the one to beat in the 13-15 age division.
In the 13-15 age division, it looked like Katie Yoo had complete control over the field after the first nine holes. Starting off with a birdie, Yoo increased her lead with another birdie on the eighth hole to get to eight-under par for the tournament. Yet coming down the stretch, Yoo made uncharacteristic mistakes with bogeys on the 11th and 16th and a double bogey on the 15th to drop to four-under for the tournament and shoot a two-over par, 74 today. With the door open, Latanna Stone made a charge for the top spot on the leaderboard. Beginning her day with a birdie at the first, Stone added eight more pars to her scorecard and made the turn at one-under par. With a bogey at the 14th, Stone dropped to four-under for the championship. Her crucial moment of the round came at the 17th, a 475-yard par 5, when she rolled in a putt for birdie to get to five-under. With a par on the final hole, Stone finished the day at one-under par and finished the championship five-under par, one shot ahead of Yoo.
In the 16-18 age division, it was a battle to the finish for Jenny Kim and Alyssa Lamoureux. Both started out with a bogey on the first, however it was Lamoureux who bogeyed the second hole to put herself one-shot back of Kim. However, Lamoureux fired back with two birdies while Kim could only scrape one, so after six holes, both were tied at the top of the leaderboard again. Two costly bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes left Lamoureux with a two-shot lead at the turn. Yet while Lamoureux was the player who fired on the front nine, it was Kim on the back nine who managed to get back to even par after birdies on the 11th and 12th holes. When both players reached the par-five 15th hole, both were tied for the lead at even-par, but after a bogey by Lamoureux on 15, Kim regained solo lead of the championship. With a one-shot lead on the final hole, Kim had the opportunity to seal the deal and become the champion. However, a devastating double bogey dropped Kim to two-under for the championship and into a tie with Lamoureux, who bogeyed her final hole to drop another shot.
While the players had completed their 54 holes, the competition was still not over yet. With Kim and Lamoureux sitting again at the top of the leaderboard tied, it was time for a playoff to determine who would walk away a champion. With a tie on the first hole, Lamoureux and Kim went to the second playoff hole in hopes of crowning a new champion. With a par at the second, Jenny Kim outlasted Alyssa Lamoureux to win the championship.
After 54 holes of excellent golf from the best junior girl golfers in the state, Jenny Kim and Latanna Stone will forever have their names etched in history as a Florida Girls' Junior Amateur State Champion.
The Girls' Junior Amateur Championship features an additional age division, 12 & under. Those competing in the 12 & under participated in two, nine-hole rounds that took place Tuesday and Wednesday at the Oaks Club. After the first round on Tuesday, Brianna Castaldi of Port Saint Lucie dominated the field with an even-par, 36. Next closest to her was Eliza Kodak and Addison Klonowski, both from Naples and both of which shot 40. As round two unfolded, Brianna stood strong and did not let the rest of the field come near her. Shooting a one-over par, 37, Brianna finished the competition with a one-over par, 73. Her score of 73 was good enough for a five shot victory over Eliza Kodak, who shot a two-over par, 38 for round two.