Suri, Kim Capture Hammock Beach Title
Battling tough course conditions, Julian Suri won the boys 16-18 age division on the fourth playoff hole as Stephanie Kim secured her second title of the Florida Junior Tour (FJT) season at The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach in Palm Coast on September 29-30.
After 36 holes, three juniors were tied for the top spot in the boys 16-18 age division. Julian Suri, Connor Barry and Taylor Szyndlar each finished with a tournament total of 150 to force a three-way playoff. Each made par on the first playoff hole to move onto the second hole where Suri and Barry made birdie while Szyndlar made par. Suri and Barry each parred the third playoff hole to advance to the fourth playoff hole, the par 4, 7th hole. Barry hit his ball into the hazard to record a bogey as Suri hit the green in two and two-putted for par and his first FJT win. Suri, 16, of Saint Augustine, shot a 73-77 for a spot in the playoff. In two events last season in the 16-18 age division, Suri took second place twice. Connor Barry, 16, from Jupiter, recorded a 77 in the first round and advanced to the playoff with a final round 73, the low round of the day. Taylor Szyndlar, 17, of Jupiter, was the first round leader shooting even par and finished with a 78 in the final round. Szyndlar placed second in this year’s Boys Junior Championship.
Stephanie Kim, 16, from Bayside, NY, secured her second consecutive FJT title winning by three strokes. After a first round 79, Kim held a two stroke advantage heading into the final round of play. Kim fired a 78 in the final round, the low round of the division, to finish with a 157 total. Kim won the first event of the new season earlier this month at Summerfield Crossings where she fired a final round 64 to break three FJT records including lowest score for 18 and 36 holes as well as lowest final round. Jessica Schall, 15, from Lake Mary, took second place shooting an 81-79. Briana Carlson, 16, from Inverness, finished third with rounds of 82-79. Carlson won the 13-15 age division of the Florida Girls’ Junior Championship this past June.
The 2007-2008 season consists of 21 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 Victoria Hills Golf 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.