May 12, 2013

Palm Tree Devours Chances | Record 63 Shot

A palm tree eats up Colanta's chances to catch Celano. Athena Yang Cruises to victory.

Seventy-nine juniors traveled to Englewood, FL this past weekend to compete in the 16-18 age division event. Low scores were expected as the weather forecast was favorable and the course typically rewards good play with under par rounds.

Lemon Bay Golf Club is a private club located south of Sarasota. The 6,250 yard, par 71 layout seems a bit easy at first glance, but the tight fairways and slick greens can quickly turn under par hopes into over par scores.

In the boys division, six players posted under par scores in the first round and many other players were within a few shots of par. Timothy Colanta, of ChampionsGate, held the first round lead with a four under par 67, just one stroke ahead of Jalen Ledger, of Palm Beach Gardens, and Anthony Gabriele, of West Palm Beach.

Colanta started off smoothly in the final round until disaster struck on the ninth hole. Colanta held a slight lead as he stood on the ninth tee and hit his tee shot slightly off line and heard the ball rattle in a palm tree. Spectators witness the ball enter the palm tree, but the ball never came out.  Colanta searched for his ball for five minutes and then on the way back to the tee his ball finally fell to the ground, but it was too late, the ball was now lost under the Rules. He made an eight on the par 4 and fell several shots behind the new leaders.

Ryan Celano, of Naples, started the final round three shots back with a one under par 70. In the final round he made birdies on 6, 12 and 16 with only two bogeys (7 and 14) to post another 70 and a tournament total of two under par.

Colanta quickly bounced back after his misfortune on the ninth with birdies on holes 10 and 12, but an unfortunate bogey on the 18th hole left him one shot short of a playoff. Celano's total of 140 was good enough for a one shot victory and his second consecutive FJT win.

The round of the tournament, and possibly the year, went to Ramsey Touchberry, of Bradenton. Touchberry shot an uncharacteristic 80 in the first round, but found something special on Sunday. Starting on the 10th hole he made birdies on 11, 14, 15, 16 and 18 to post a 31 on the back nine (-5). On the front nine he made birdies on 1, 4, 5 and 7. A lone bogey on the 8th hole followed by a par on the 9th left Touchberry at eight under par and a course record of 63. His 63 also ties the lowest single round round score ever shot on the Florida Junior Tour.

In the girls division, Athena Yang, of Winter Haven, shot a first round 72 to lead by two over Terese Romeo, of Tampa. In the final round Yang extended her lead with a two under par 34 on her first nine holes (holes 10-18). She coasted in on the front nine with a 39 and posted a 73 on the day for a tournament total of 145 (+3).

Madison Glennie, of Tampa, made a run at Yang with a final round 71, but came up three strokes short. This is Yang's second FJT win of 2013. Glennie finished in second place and Terese Romeo finished four strokes back in third place.

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