Lebioda & Zhang Prevail at the Boys' Junior
Hank Lebioda captures the 58th Florida State Boys' Junior Championship as Andy Zhang claimed the junior division title at Sawgrass Country Club and TPC Sawgrass, in Ponte Vedra Beach, on July 10-12.
In the 16-18 age division, Hank Lebioda, of Winter Springs, posted a tournament total of six-under par 210, to win the 2012 Boys’ Junior Championship by four strokes. After a first round of three-under par 69 on the Dye’s Valley course at TPC Sawgrass, Lebioda would trail by two strokes heading into the second round of play. Lebioda continued his solid play in the second round firing a one-under par 71 at Sawgrass Country Club, to find himself only one stroke behind the 36-hole leader Jalen Ledger. In the final round Lebioda stumbled out of the gate carding a double bogey on the par 4 second hole, but rebounded nicely with birdies on 4, 7, and 8 to turn at one-under par 35 and take a two stroke lead into the back nine. “My game plan was to play my own game out there and try to simplify my thinking. Making double bogey on the second hole really made me refocus” said Lebioda. He would birdie 11 and 16 to go along with bogeys on 14 and 17 to stand on the 18th tee with a three stroke lead. Lebioda hit his approach shot to the middle of the green on the 18th and drained the birdie putt to cap off his final round of two-under 70. Lebioda joins the short list of players to capture the Boys’ Junior twice in his career. “This victory was more nerve racking than the first one, and it mean a lot more to me at this point in my career” said Lebioda. Lebioda will also be attending Florida State University in the fall on a golf scholarship. Ryan Stovash, of Orlando, finished alone in second place after rounds of 67-76-71, for a tournament total of two-under par 214. Jalen Ledger, of Palm Beach Gardens, and Harrison Winger, of Orlando, finished tied for third place with a tournament total of even par 216. The Defending Champion, Hunter O’Mahony, of Tequesta, finished tied for 10th after rounds of 73-75-73.
In the 13-15 age division, Andy Zhang, of Reunion, continued his solid play in the final round posting a two-under 70 to win by three shots. After a first round of two-under par 70 at Sawgrass Country Club, Zhang would hold a share of the lead heading into the second round of play. In the second round, Zhang continued where he left off posting another round of two-under par 70 on the Dye’s Valley course at TPC Sawgrass, to take a two stroke lead into the final round. Zhang got off to a flawless start in the final round posting a two-under par 34 on the front nine with birdies on 7 and 8 with no bogeys. ” My plan today was to focus and hit fairways and greens and not get into too much trouble” said Zhang. After making birdies on 13 and 14, Zhang would make birdie on number 16 and par the 17th hole to take a two stroke lead into the final hole of the tournament. After laying up to 90 yards, Zhang hit his approach shot to one foot to finish off the Championship with a birdie to post a tournament total of six-under par 210. This victory caps off Zhang’s incredible summer. Earlier in the summer Zhang became the youngest player in the 112 year history of the U.S Open to qualify for the Championship. Zhang said “Playing in the U.S. Open really helped me relax out there. This is the biggest victory of my career, and it feels awesome”. Jack Comstock, of Jacksonville, finished alone in second place with rounds of 71-71-71 for a tournament total of three-under par 213. Gabriel Lench, of Lake Mary, finished in third place with a final round of three-under par 69 for a tournament total of one-over par 217.