Junior Match Play Champions Crowned
Tyler Bakich was able to outlast Cole Johnson in a back and forth match that ended in extra holes to claim the Junior Match Play Championship in the 13-15 age division. Bakich, a Valrico native won the 17th hole to hold a 1 up lead heading to the 18th. Johnson would not go quietly though and after a birdie on 18, the pair would go to extra holes to determine a champion. Bakich parred the first hole which was enough to win the title after Johnson made double bogey. Bakich's win comes on the heels of an impressive T8 finish at the Boys' Junior Championship two weeks prior. Tyler hopes to keep the momentum going into next week's Junior Florida Cup as he represents the North side.
The action came to a dramatic conclusion in final match of the Girls 13-18 division. Lauren Riehle outlasted Valentine Herrera of Plantation in 19 holes to capture the championship. After receiving a first round bye, Riehle made it to the final relatively easy with none of her matches reaching the 15th hole. She found herself in trouble in the championship match however, being 1 down heading to the final hole. Riehle was able to birdie 18 to force extra holes and and on the first extra hole she hit her approach shot to within 5 feet and made the birdie to win the title.
Andrew Alligood of Saint Johns captured the Byron Nelson bracket title, defeating Josh August of Boynton Beach 2 & 1 in Friday's final match. After getting a bye in his first round, Alligood defeated Yui Fujii of Rotonda West 5 & 4 in the quarterfinals and Eric Grimes of Naples, 2 & 1 to reach the championship match.
The Championship was held at Worthington Country Club in Bonita Springs. The players were treated to immaculate course conditions as well as hot and humid weather. Playing multiple matches on the same day meant competitors were battling not only their opponents but fatigue as well.