Coultas & Strafaci Win Boys' Junior Titles
John Coultas captures the 60th Florida State Boys’ Junior Amateur Championship as Tyler Strafaci claimed the 13-15 division title at Belleair Country Club, in Belleair on July 8-10.
In the 16-18 age division, John Coultas (18), of Valrico, (pictured left) posted a tournament total of 12-under par 201, to win the Boys’ Junior Amateur Championship by four strokes. After his first round of four-under par 67 on the East Course, Coultas would trail the first round leader by three strokes. Playing the West Course in the second round and also celebrating his 18th birthday, Coultas would post another great round of four-under par 67 which included birdies on 10, 14, and 18 and an eagle on the par-5 16th hole. With a 36-hole total of 134, Coultas would take a one shot lead into the final round.
Coultas got off to a hot start in the final round making birdies on 2, 6 and 9 to go with only one bogey. After turning at two-under par 34, Coultas would take a two shot lead into the final nine holes. Coultas put it into cruise control on the back nine playing the next eight holes in one-under par. Standing on the 18th tee with his first State Championship in sight, Coultas would put the icing on the cake making a birdie to cap off his round of 67. Coultas ended his junior golf career on a high note as he will be attending Florida Southern University in the fall to play golf for the Mocs. Tyler Backich, of Valrico, and Jack Comstock, of Jacksonville, finished tied for second place with a tournament total of eight-under par 205. Attempting to become the first player to win the Amateur Championship and the Boys’ Junior Amateur in the same season, Gabriel Lench, of Lake Mary, finished just five shots short in 4th place. Defending Champion, Jacob Kline, of Saint Augustine finished in 19th place after rounds of 72-69-72.
In the 13-15 age division, Tyler Strafaci (15), of Davie, (pictured right) posted a tournament total of nine-under par 204 to capture his second State Championship. Opening up his Championship run on Tuesday, Strafaci got off to a solid start firing an even par round 71 on the West course. Trailing by three shots entering the second round, Strafaci would cut into the lead posting a four-under par round of 67 on the East Course. With a 36-hole total of 138, Strafaci would only trail by one stroke entering the final round of play.
Strafaci would find himself chasing Alberto Martinez, of Weston, who held the 36-hole lead most of the day. Martinez went out in two-under par 34, to take a two shot lead over Strafaci entering the final nine holes of play. Strafaci was able to pull even with Martinez after birdies on 12 and 13, and would take the lead for good with his third consecutive birdie on the 14th hole. Needing a little more insurance, Strafaci would make birdie on the 17th hole to take a two shot lead into 18. The birdie on 17 was key as Martinez would birdie the final hole to finish only one shot back of Strafaci. With their victories, Coultas and Strafaci will earn an exemption into the 2015 State Amateur Championship. Martinez would finish alone in second place with a tournament total of eight-under par 205. Sachin Kumar, of Port Saint Lucie, finished in third place after rounds of 68-73-67 for a tournament total five-under par 208.
Before reaching the Championship, over 300 participants attempted to qualify at one of 6 sites across the state. In the Championship, all players played eighteen holes each on the West Course and East Course on Tuesday, July 8th and Wednesday, July 9th. After 36-holes, the field will be cut to the low 51 players and ties in the Boys 16-18 Division and 21 and ties in the Boys 13-15 Division. The final eighteen holes were played on the West Course.