May 30, 2007

McConnell, Kennedy Claim TwinEagles Title

Ian McConnell and Casey Kennedy each claimed their first victory in the older age division winning the 54-hole FJT event.

Ian McConnell, 15, from Riverview, came back from three strokes down to secure the boys 16-18 age division on the second playoff hole. After 36 holes, McConnell posted a 72-69 to trail the leader by three. “In the first two rounds, I made a lot of putts,” said McConnell. “I only missed one or two putts inside of ten feet.” Coming out strong in the final round with two birdies on the first three holes, McConnell shot a 73 to force a playoff. “I didn’t know where I stood until the 18th hole,” said McConnell. “I just needed to 2-putt for par to go to a playoff.” McConnell as well as Blayne Barber, 17, from Lake City, and Andres Pumariega, 17, of Miami, posted a 2-under par 214 for the three rounds. Playing the 18th hole, McConnell and Barber made par to continue on to the second playoff hole. On the 10th hole, Barber’s 20 foot birdie putt lipped out as McConnell sank an eight foot putt for birdie and the win. “I hit the ball well in the final round,” said McConnell. “I didn’t make any putts until the second playoff hole.” This is McConnell’s best finish in the older age division and adds to his two wins in the 13-15 age division. Barber, the 2006 Boys Junior Champion, shot a 72-71-71 while Pumariega logged a 72-73-69 to share second place.

Casey Kennedy, 15, from Venice, went wire-to -wire to win her first event in the older age division. Kennedy posted consistent rounds of 74-73 to lead by two heading into the final round of play. On the back nine of the second round, Kennedy recorded a 3-under par 33. “The 2-stroke lead was very comforting,” said Kennedy. “I just wanted to play it safe and not do anything too crazy.” Firing a 2-under par 70 in the final round and tying the low round of the division, Kennedy sealed the victory by five strokes recording a 217 total. “I putted much better in the final round,” said Kennedy. “It’s very nice to have a win in this age division.” This victory tops her second and third place finishes this season in the 16-18 age division. In a tie for second place, Meghan Chapman, 17, from Seminole, and Andrea Messer, 16, of Belleair, each logged a 222 total. After each recorded a first round 77, Chapman shot a 72-73 as Messer shot 75-70 in the final two rounds.

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. The 2006-2007 season consists of 23 events for juniors, male and female, ages 13-18. Beginning September and running through May, the FJT schedule will play at some of the state's top courses including TwinEagles and Lake Jovita. 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 or $115. 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, FJT events will be ranked by Golfweek/Titleist and Junior Golf Scoreboard. The FJT will maintain a points list to assist in determining Junior Player-of-the-Year and invitations to other tournaments.

To view complete pairings, tee times, and results, please see www.floridajuniortour.org.

The FJT is conducted by the Florida State Golf Association which conducts 25 State Championships and more than 40 qualifying tournaments for USGA National Championships. The FSGA also maintains the USGA Handicap System, performs course ratings throughout Florida and assists in junior programs and scholarships.


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