Hannaford, Chung Win First FJT Event
Matthew Hannaford and Karen Chung captured their first Florida Junior Tour (FJT) titles winning the 13-15 age division event of the new season at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice on September 8-9.
In the boys 13-15 age division, Matthew Hannaford, 15, of Cape Coral, ran away with the title shooting a tournament total of 4-under par 140. After a first round 70, Hannaford was tied for the lead with Rocky Khara. Hannaford matched his 2-under par 70 in the final round to claim the division title by five strokes. This summer, Hannaford advanced to the US Junior Amateur Championship. Jan Vincent Jaro, 14, of Jacksonville, and MJ Maguire, 14, of Saint Augustine, shot similar rounds of 73-72 to tie for second place. First round co-leader Rocky Khara, 15, of Sebring, posted a 76 in the final round for a share of fourth place with Chase Marinell, 15, of Cape Coral, and Travis Tolbert, 15, from Titusville.
Twelve-year-old Karen Chung, of Livingston, NJ, edged out the girls 13-15 age division to win by one stroke. Chung recorded a 76 in the first round to sit three back from the leader. “I was three off the lead,” said Chung. “I went into the final round just wanting to play my game.” In the final round, Chung made six birdies en route to firing a 1-under par 71, the only under par round of the division. On the 18th hole, Chung secured the win with a par putt. “I was hitting the ball well and I hit most greens,” said Chung. Shelby Coyle, 15, of Pembroke Pines, also had her best finish in an FJT event placing second shooting a 73-75. Simin Feng, 12, from Orlando, took third place in her first FJT event after carding a 74-77—151.
The 2007-2008 season consists of 21 events for juniors, male and female, ages 13-18. Beginning in September and running through May, the FJT schedule will play at some of the state’s top courses including Plantation Golf and Country Club and Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club. This year will also feature 54-hole events over the Thanksgiving and Easter weekends. 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, 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.
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.
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.