Byrd, Hurst Win at Orange County National
James Byrd, 15, of Windermere, fired a 67 in the first round for the low round of the tournament. Byrd carded a 74 in the second round to finish with a 3-under par 141 on the Crooked Cat Course and win the title. This is Byrd’s first FJT event playing up an age division. Last season, his best finish came at the Ritz-Carlton event where he tied for third. Kyle Hammond, 17, also from Windermere, and Bradley Stone, 16, of Jacksonville, tied for second place each shooting a 74-72—146. This is both Hammond’s and Stone’s best finish in an FJT event.
Vicky Hurst, 14, of Melbourne, won her third FJT title at Orange County with scores of 71-74—145. Hurst’s two-round total of 145 is her lowest two-round total to date in an FJT tournament. This is Hurst’s second title in the 16-18 age division after winning at TwinEagles in October and leads this season’s points list. Last season, Hurst won the 13-15 age division at the first FJT event at the Ritz-Carlton. Yu Lee, 16, from Orlando, placed second shooting 82-73—155. Lee also finished second at the TwinEagles event and has two previous fifth place finishes. Sandra Changkija, the 2003-2004 FJT Player-of-the Year in the girls 13-15 age division, shot 79 in each round to take third place. Changkija, 15, from Orlando, also played up in the TwinEagles event where she placed sixth.
Conducted by the Florida State Golf Association, The Florida Junior Tour (FJT) is a junior golf tour offering highly competitive and affordable competitions for juniors in Florida. Since the response was so great to the FJT’s first season, the 2004-2005 FJT season consists of 13 events for the state’s top junior golfers. Beginning September and running through May, the FJT schedule will play at some of the state’s top courses including The Club at TwinEagles and Orange County National. The FJT’s focus is on quality, affordability and integrity. Tournaments consist of 36 holes conducted over 2 days, typically weekends, with an entry fee of $95. Scholarship entry is available to junior golfers unable to afford the entry fee.
Working closely with the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), FJT top competitors will receive exemptions and performance points towards AJGA events. The FJT is the only Florida tour to participate in the AJGA’s Performance Based Process. In addition, all FJT events will be ranked by the Junior Golf Scoreboard, which helps junior golfers market themselves without having to travel the country. The FJT will maintain a points list to assist in determining Junior Player-of-the-Year and invitations to other tournaments.
Generally, entries will be accepted based upon the order of receipt but players may also gain exemptions through different means. Non-exempt players may receive added priority based upon their playing ability as documented in their application. Juniors can receive season-long exemptions, exempt status into three events and be exempt into one event. Exemptions are posted online at www.floridajuniortour.org.
The FJT website, www.floridajuniortour.org, is a great source for juniors and parents. There, participants can register for membership and tournaments as well as view player profiles, scoring history, and other valuable information.