Four Win Big over MLK Weekend
Florida Junior Tour (Boy's 16-18)
- Don Veller Golf Course and Club - January 13 - 15, 2018
- Round 1 - Yardages and Rating - 6,990 yds. 72.1/127
- Round 2 - Yardages and Rating - 6,895 yds. 71.7/126
- Round 3 - Yardages and Rating - 6,905 yds. 71.7/126
- Saturday - Temperatures in the mid 40s, but heavy winds.
- Sunday - Frost delay in the morning. Temperatures never eclipsed the high 40s.
- Monday - Frost delay in the morning. Temperatures reached the mid 50s.
The weather was the most difficult part of the whole event in Tallahassee at this weekend's MLK Major Event. The temperatures for Saturday's opening round never eclipsed the mid 40s and the high winds made it feel even colder. Daisuke Nakano may have posted the best round of the event on Saturday opening with a 4 under-par, 69 which was enough to give him the first round lead by two strokes over Cody Carroll. Daisuke and Cody were the only two players to post scores better than par in the opening round and this put them together in the final pairing on Sunday. Carroll started off a little slow in Sunday morning's cold weather, but a stretch of five birdies in seven holes towards the middle of his round pushed him to the top of the leaderboard.
Similar to Sunday's round, Monday's tee times were pushed back an hour and a half due to colder temperatures and frost on the golf course. The staff at Don Veller, especially Superintendent Matt Murphy, did a fantastic job all weekend getting the course ready in brutally cold conditions. Starting the final round a few strokes clear of University of Florida commit, Tyler Wilkes, Cody started off the day with eight straight pars and a birdie on the ninth to go out in one under-par, 35. Coming down the stretch, Carroll made two late bogeys on holes 16 and 17 and stated "I had never been that nervous to close out an event before." He officially shut the door on anyone trying to make a late charge by birdieing the 18th hole to claim his first Florida Junior Tour victory.
Florida Junior Tour (Boy's 13-15)
- Mark Bostick GC at the University of Florida - January 13 - 15, 2018
- Yardages & Rating
- 6,488 yards
- Saturday - Breezy and Temperatures dropping throughout the day
- Sunday - Breezy and temperatures reaching low 50's
- Monday - Persistent winds with temperatures barely reaching 50 degrees
The Florida Junior Tour headed up to the Swamp as the first major of the year was conducted over Martin Luther King Day weekend. With the temperatures dropping and the wind persistent, boy's ranging from 13 to 15 years old needed to put on a stellar performance at Mark Bostick Golf Club, home course of the University of Florida Gators, in order to clinch the title.
After day one, only two players broke par with Luke Clanton, of Miami Lakes, taking sole possession of the lead with a two under-par round of 68 over Parker Bell of Tallahassee who shot 69. With the next nearest competitor firing a three over-par round of 73, it looked from the very beginning to be a two man race heading into the second and third rounds. The second round jumbled the leaderboard as Parker Bell remained consistent and posted his second consecutive round of one under-par, 69. His consistency would move him to the top of the leaderboard heading into Monday's final round. Struggling to back up his first round of 68 was Luke Clanton. After opening the round with eight pars, Luke struggled to find the birdies and finished with three bogey's, one double-bogey, and a birdie to shoot a five over-par round of 75 to drop him down the leaderboard behind Bell. With a five shot lead heading into the final round, Parker Bell seemed miles ahead of the field.
Monday's final round proved to be nothing but shocking as Luke Clanton came from behind and won by five shots over Parker Bell. A ten-shot swing in the final round was near impossible on the tough conditions Mark Bostick Golf Club brought to the FJT Major, yet consistency and confidence in Luke Clanton prevailed. After opening with two birdies in his first four holes, Clanton was only one back of Bell after two bogeys found its way onto Bell's scorecard on the second and fifth. With an unfortunate double-bogey by Bell on the seventh and a bogey for Clanton on the ninth, the two that were once five strokes apart were now tied heading into the final stretch. Proving consistent, Clanton finished his final nine holes with nine straight pars to shoot a one under-par round of 69 while Parker Bell finished five over-par on the back nine.
With Clanton shooting a one under-par, 69 the final round and Parker Bell finishing with a nine over-par, 79, Clanton would win the FJT Major at Mark Bostick Golf Club at the University of Florida by five strokes.
Florida Junior Tour (Girl's 16-18 & 13-15)
- Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - North Course - January 13 - 15, 2018
- Yardages & Rating
- 5,939 yards
- Saturday - Cold & Windy
- Sunday - 90 minute frost delay
- Monday - 30 minute frost delay
Girls' 13-15 Division
Cold temperatures, winds, and two frost delays where the early talking points of the inaugural January 54-hole Florida Junior Tour Major, but by the time the last putt fell, the topic of discussion changed to the impressive play out on the North course at Lake Jovita G&CC. Two previous winners on the Florida Junior Tour finished tied for third (Taylor Zeng & Lauren Clark), while the two players tied for first after the first two rounds battled it out for the victory. Madison Hewlett and Bailey Shoemaker would battle back and forth the entire final day. As they stepped on to the 18th tee, Madison held a one shot lead. In an unfortunate turn of events, Hewlett would accidentally move her ball in the 18th fairway which is a breach of Rule 18-2. The one stroke penalty and a bogey on the hole vs Shoemaker's par would lead to a tie after 54-holes. They went back to hole 18 for the playoff and Bailey Shoemaker would make par which was good enough to earn her first Florida Junior Tour victory in her very first event.
Girls' 16-18 Division
Emma Zhao would sit four shots back after the first round, but she did not let that hold her back. Steady rounds of 75 on Sunday and Monday would be good enough to earn her first victory with a two shot win. During the final 36-holes, the key to Emma's victory was her play on the par 3's. She played those eight holes in 2-under par. FJT veteran Lauren Heinlein would finish second and Amelia Root and Bianca Sol Cruz tied for third.