Clanton, Putrino Go Wire-to-Wire
Florida Junior Tour (13-15)
- Palm Aire Country Club
- Yardages and Rating
- Boys - 6,567 yds. 71.6/128
- Girls - 5,938 yds. 73.5/127
- Round One: Sunny with a light breeze
- Round Two: Warm with gusty winds
SARASOTA - Scores were low this weekend for both the Boys and Girls divisions at Palm Aire Country Club. And we mean really low. Although the greens were fast and the winds were gusty, Luke Clanton and Jacqueline Putrino navigated their 36 holes to perfection.
Luke Clanton, of Miami Lakes, won for the third time in just three months. Clanton had no problem working the ball around the Palm Aire course, which is one of Sarasota's oldest country clubs. When asked what really made the difference this week, Clanton noted "my putting started a little slow, but really picked up on the back nine Saturday. I made everything within 20 feet and gained a lot of confidence for the rest of the weekend." After making it through his first 18 holes with eight birdies and no bogeys, Clanton was eyeing yet another FJT title. The rest of the field was not going to give in that easily, though. Six players, including Clanton, Joshua Stewart, Justin Sui, Caden Burr, Derek Weaver and Juan Echeverri shot under par in round one. Caden Burr, of Windermere, shot a 67 on the first day to trail Clanton by three strokes. He finished the tournament T-7, his best finish so far this year. Joshua Stewart, of Winter Springs, shot 69-68 to capture a second place finish.
Sunday saw many low scores again, the highlight of which was Nicholas Gabrelcik's round of 64. Sitting nine shots back of Clanton after day one, Gabrelcik had only one thing on his mind; play his game. He went on a birdie - spree, making four in a row on holes 14-17. He narrowly missed another birdie on 18 for a 63, which would have been the tournament low record. Sitting a few groups behind Gabrelcik was Clanton, still putting masterfully and staring down a victory. He stepped to the 18th hole with seven birdies and no bogeys yet again, hoping to match his score from Saturday. Instead, his drive ran through the fairway and into the water, leaving him lying three in the fairway. After hitting over the green and chipping up, he tapped in for his only bogey of the tournament, and a final round 66. His efforts would be good enough to capture the victory by seven strokes, and his 14-under par score of 130 ties a record for the lowest 36 hole score in a 13-15 event.
The girls division came down to the final hole on Sunday, with Jacqueline Putrino ultimately getting her first Florida Junior Tour title. Putrino went wire-to-wire, shooting a first round 71 to lead by one stroke over Karoline Tuttle, of Lake Mary, and Ellen Dong, of Longwood. Other notable scores include Madison Hewlett, of Oldsmar, who after a first round 80 shot a second round 69 to give her a Top-5 finish.
Juliana Camargo, of Winter Garden, was eyeing her second win of the season after sitting just 5 shots back of Putrino after day one. She would go on to shoot a second round 74, which was good enough for a T-5 finish. The real story from the girls division was the final pairing on Sunday. The trio of Putrino, Tuttle and Dong were neck and neck the entire round, no one player was ever able to break off from the rest of the group. Karoline Tuttle played a very impressive final round, holing five birdies, with three bogeys. Her slew of birdies could have unnerved Putrino, but she stayed the course and played a very steady round which included two birdies, and zero bogeys. The tournament came down to the final hole, where Tuttle left a birdie putt just short to tie Putrino and force a playoff. Instead, Tuttle finished with her best score-to-par of the year, and notched a solo second place finish. Putrino ended the tournament with a three under 141, also her best score-to-par of the year.