Manning Wins State Junior Despite "Major" Mistakes
It could have been high school practice. Or it could have even been a high school match. But it wasn't. Matt Every, an upcoming sophomore and top player for Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, was paired with Major Manning, an upcoming freshman that played number two for Mainland this year. The two were together for the final round of the 45th Florida State Junior Championship at Walt Disney World. Manning shot a 69 in the first round, while Every posted a 70.
Manning tried to give the championship away on Tuesday, but a challenger could not step up. After starting his final round with three birdies on the front side, Manning quickly gave them back with a triple bogey on the 11th hole. Every and Sarasota's Joseph Lamielle, who was also in the final group after a first-round 70, finally had an opening. Every took advantage of the opportunity with birdies at 12 and 13 to cut the lead to one.
Now it seemed like match play. Both players bogeyed the 14 hole to draw a little closer to the rest of the field. Lamielle had fallen back to 1-over for the championship, while the two teammates were a few shots ahead. On 17 Every found the water, while Manning found the bottom of the cup - birdie for Manning, double bogey for Every. Manning had a comfortable lead, but decided to make it interesting. His drive on the final hole found the woods to the left. He ended up recording a nerve-wracking double-bogey. Every and Lamielle also dropped shots on the final hole.
North Port's Nick Clark was the only player to make a run at the leaders. He was 2-under after 8 holes, but double bogeyed the 9th hole to stand 1-over for the championship. He birdied 13 to pull to even-par, but gave it back with a bogey on 17. He finished 1-over for the championship, two strokes behind Manning.
“A lot of people could have won this championship,” the 17-year old Clark said, “but I had a really good shot at it."
Every and Lamielle both closed with 5-over 77's and fell to a tie for 4th with six other players. South Pasadena's Kyle McCarthy shot consecutive 1-over 73's to finish alone in third place. “After finishing in second last year, I really wanted to win this year," Manning said. "It hasn't hit me yet that I won, but it is a privilege to be the State Junior champion."
In the 12-14 age division, Homestead's Marco Morales shot 74-75--149 to by two strokes, Gainesville's Tyler Rucarean (74-77-151) was second.