Mancheno & Gibson Defeat Tough Conditions
A cold front accompanied by inclement weather moved across the state during the first Florida Junior Tour event of 2016 hosted by Belleair Country Club in Clearwater. Play was suspended at Belleair, host of the 2014 State Junior Championship, on Saturday around 2:30 PM. Some players finished five holes while others made it through hole number fifteen before play was suspended. Play resumed early Sunday morning and the juniors played anywhere from 22 to 31 holes to complete the 36-hole tournament.
The juniors arrived at the course at daybreak on Sunday ready to face a day of golf in cold and windy conditions. Despite the tough conditions and delay in round one, impressive scores were posted. Manuel Girona, of Windermere fired a spectacular five under-par, 66 to lead after round one by three strokes. Two under-par, 69, carded by Tim Graham, of Stuart finished in second place followed by Clark Lea, Brandon Mancheno, and Jonathon Cachon tied for third place with a score of 70.
The Boys 16-18 leaderboard shifted after round two as the temperature decreased and the wind increased in the afternoon. Girona fell to third place after struggling to a second round score of 77, tournament total 143. Steady rounds of 71 and one under-par 70, helped Calvin Sierota, of Melbourne capture second place, two strokes from first, with a tournament total 141. Brandon Mancheno, of Jacksonville finished 2015 strong being named Junior Player of the Year and took that momentum into his first event of 2016. Mancheno improved his first round score by one stroke carding a 69 for a tournament total 139. The Auburn University commit managed to post a total of five birdies, four of them in a row on holes 16, 17, 18 and 1, to be crowned victorious.
The girls’ division saw a tight race for the top after round was completed. Haydyn Gibson, being an employee and caddie at Belleair Country Club, had home course advantage and seized first place with an even par score of 71. Tampa resident, Alison Armstrong tied 2015 Girls 16-18 Tour Champion, Morgan Baxendale, of Windermere with a two over-par 73 for second place. Alyssa Lamoureux finished alone in fourth with a first round score of 80.
Unlike in the boys’ division, the girls did not see much change in the leaderboard after round two. Baxendale fell to third place after a round two 76 and tournament total 149. Armstrong broke free of her first round tie with Baxendale by one stroke, finishing the tournament with a 75, 148 tournament total. Haydyn Gibson did not lose her lead with a second round 75 and tournament total 146. Gibson, who has committed to Tulane University, started off 2016 with her first FJT win in two years!
The 2016 Florida Junior Tour schedule is complete with a list of fantastic venues! Don Veller Seminole Golf Course and Club in Tallahassee hosts the 13-15 division January 16-17, as the next stop on the tour.