South Team Defends Junior Florida Cup
The Junior Florida Cup is back again, this year at The Founders Golf Club in Sarasato. Last year, the South Team grabbed the victory.
The Junior Florida Cup is a Ryder Cup style, invitation only event that brings together the best male and female golfers from Northern and Southern Florida. Separating the state, juniors are selected based on their performance throughout the year. 10 boys and 6 girls are selected for each team. Those who have risen to the top of the points leader board or captured their captain's attention are picked to be on the team. Notable players in the past include Lexi Thompson and Brooks Koepka, both which have represented the United States in recent Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup.
This year's Florida Cup features a slew of talented golfers. The North Team is highlighted by Chloe Schiavone, winner of this year's Girls Junior Championship and Junior Match Play. She is joined by John DuBois who won the boy's Junior Match Play. The North Team is captained by Kyle Walkiewicz. The South Team features Taylor Roberts who just recently returned after making it all the way to Round of 16 at the U.S. Girls Junior Championship. Roberts is playing alongside Luke Clanton, who won his last 4 out of 6 FJT tournaments this year. The South Team is captained by Kevin Fullenkamp.
Monday- The first round of the Florida Cup, just like the Ryder Cup, is eight matches of four-ball. The first match of the day was played by North Team, Brendan Valdes and Jonah Leach, and South Team, Luke Clanton and Frankie Harris. After an early lead thanks to four birdies on the front nine, Valdes and Leach did not hold back. They closed out the match 4&2 after two more birdies on the back nine. The first girl's match of the day was played with North's Lauren Heinlein and Claire Albrecht, and South's Jacqueline Putrino and Rachel Carlson. Purtino and Carlson captured the win 4&3. The highlight match of the day would be North's Gray Albright and Stewart Slayden playing against South's Leopoldo Herrera and Roberto Nieves. It was a tight match all day as both teams made birdies. The match would be taken all the way to the eighteenth hole as Nieves and Herrera made 3 birdies in the last 6 holes to capture the win.
After the first round, South has 3 points whereas North has 5 points.
Monday's afternoon matches are foursomes. This foursome, alternate shot, format would prove to be the ultimate test of teamwork. Each team had six mixed matches and two non mixed matches. The North Team once again dominated the matches by winning the first three in a row. South would finally be able to move two matches their way with Taylor Roberts and James Nieporte leading the charge and winning 4&3. They would be followed by fellow teammates Luke Clanton and Jacqueline Putrino who would also win 4&3. The one match that was halved was played between Brendan Valdes and Claire Albrecht from the North and Max Coutsolioustsos and Aaron Whitley from the South. Both teams found themselves struggling to find momentum as each team would mistakenly make bogeys. Valdes and Albrecht was 1 up going into the eighteenth hole but after some costly shots, they lost the hole to their opponents and saw a tied match. North's Chloe Schiavone and Cody Carroll was a power team as they worked together in making a slew of birdies to go head to head with South's Remi Chartier and Ariel Yu. Both teams played exceptionally well. Yu and Chartier made 3 birdies on the back nine to get to all square, just as they thought the match was favoring their team, Schiavone and Carroll birdied the seventeenth hole to get one up going into eighteen where both teams pared out. Schiavone and Carroll helped North earn their final point of the day. The foursomes ends with North earning 4.5 points and South earning 3.50.
After day one of the Junior Florida Cup, the North Team earned 9.50 points and the South Team sat behind with 6.50 points. Tuesday's single matches is going to be a tough one for the South Team.
Tuesday- The singles matches would give the South Team a fighting chance to defend the Cup. Things started to get heated once all players were teed off. The first match between South's Roberto Nieves and North's Genki Sadato. Both players battled it out but he match ended all square. Drew Angelo from the South Team would then go on to with the first point of the day as he defeats Cody Carroll 2&1. As the temperature got heated, so did the matches. The next three matches finish all square. Claire Albrecht on the North would prove her worth after defeating Skylee Shin from the South Team, both players had a tough day on the course but Albrecht was able to keep her composure as she double bogeys the last hole to win 3&2. Aside from Albercht's win for the North Team, the South had the matches all to themselves. Taylor Roberts from the South Team, squares her match against Chloe Schiavone. The next two matches are won by the South's Max Coutsolioutsos and Frankie Harries. Harries defeated Brendan Valdes with seven impressive birdies. The next three matches to end never even made their way to the sixteenth hole. Jaqueline Putrino, and Ariel Yu from the South close out their matches 5&4 along with teammate James Nieporte who closed out his match 4&3. This accelerated the South Team's lead with four more matches to end. The North finally earns another point after Stewart Slayden defeats Leopoldo Herrero. Slayden birdies the eighteenth hole to win the match 1 up. The South Team's fate was sealed once Aaron Whitley and Jude Kim defeated both their opponents on the North Team. Kim birdied his last two holes to win 1 up against Jonah Leach on the North Team. The last match of the day to be completed had no relevance to the score. The South Team had won after an amazing display of golf in the singles matches. After winning 11 points in the final day, the South Team wins 17.50 points to 14.50 points.