Hole-In-One Propels Liu to First Title
The 13-15 age division ventured to Port Saint Lucie and played the Santa Lucia River Club for the last 13-15 age division event before the Tour Championship.
The girls division played the par 72 course at 5,632 yards and encountered windy conditions both days. In the first round Ruixin Lin, of Orlando, took a two shot lead with a 72. Annie Kim, of Winter Garden, and Valeria Sofia Pacheco, of Hallendale Beach, trailed by two strokes with a 74. The 2013 state junior champion, Kendall Griffin, shot a 79 and headed in the final round seven strokes back.
In the final round the girls found more difficult conditions as the wind increased from round one. Kendall Griffin, of Sebring, had one birdie and three bogies to shot a 75 and move up into third place. Annie Kim played very consistent and followed her 74 with a 75 by making three birdies in the final round. Kim shot 74-75 to finish in second place.
Liu held a slight lead when she reached the par three 17th hole (her 8th of the day) which was playing 149 yards and dead into the gusty wind. Liu hit a solid shot right on line and amazingly found the hole for a hole-in-one and vaulted her into a larger lead. Later, a birdie on the 8th hole (her 17th) sealed up the victory. Liu shot 72-74--146 for a two shot win and her first FJT title.
Tanvir Kahlon, of Winter Garden, took the first round lead in the boys division with an opening 70 (-2). Kahlon led a trio of players at 72 and numerous players who sub-75 scores.
In the final round, Sachin Kumar, of Trinidad & Tobago, made four birdies to shoot 74-74--148 and finish in third place. Alberto Martinez, of Weston, shot a 75 in the first round and posted a 71 in the final round. Martinez posted the two over par total of 146 while the leaders still had a few holes remaining and he had to wait and watch the scoreboard.
The final group of the day consisted of Colin Kresl (72), Eduardo Blochtein (72) and the leader Kahlon. Kahlon struggled to hold onto the lead and finished with rounds of 70-82--152 to finish in 4th place. Blochtein, of Delray Beach, also struggled and fell to a 16th place finish. Kresl, of Lakeland, shot a 74 and found himself in a tie with Martinez and knew there was more golf to play.
Martinez and Kresl headed out for a sudden death playoff. The playoff started on the par 5 10th, Martinez was on in three shots and two putted for par. Kresl hit his second shot into the lateral water hazard, but was able to get up and down to save par. The duo went on to the par 4 11th. Both players found the green in regulation, Martinez was able to two putt from the opposite side of the green for a par as Kresl three putted for a bogey giving the title to Martinez. This is Martinez's first FJT title.