Champions Crowned at Tour Championship
This weekend marked the second FJT Tour Championship where the top junior players in the state battled at TPC Sawgrass. Saturday's Round on the challenging Dye's Valley Course, home of the Web.com Tour Finals, and Sunday over the The PLAYERS Stadium Course, home each May to the PGA Tour's PLAYERS Championship and famous Par 3 Island Green 17th! Both courses were in excellent condition making for close competition in every division.
In the boys 16-18 division John Coultas, of Valrico, lead after round one firing a four-under par 68, carding six birdies on holes 3,7,8,13,17 and 18. Sunday Mornings final pairing of Coultas, Henry Westmoreland, of Wacissa and Kevin Slayden, of Ponte Vedra would see both Westmoreland & Coultas move backwards going out in (+4) 40, while Slayden would use birdies on 3 & 7 to move to -1 for the day and -3 for the Championship and a lead at the turn. Timmy Hanzelko, of Lake Mary would come in, shortly after the final pairing made the turn and post (-3) 69, low round of the day and (+1) 145 for the Championship. Greyson Porter, of Clearwater, up ahead would make some noise, with an Eagle on the Par 5 16th to move to -2 for the Championship and take the lead by 1 stroke when Slayden bogeyed 11 & 14. While Porter made a double-bogey on the Par 3 17th, Slayden would again drop a shot on 16 to have the players tied at Even Par. On 18, Porter would again falter with bogey and join Anthony Gabriele, of West Palm Beach (73-72--145) and Hanzelko in the Clubhouse at +1, while behind him, Slayden would stumble as well with a 3-putt bogey on the 17th to fall back to +1. Slayden would come to 18 needing to make Par to force a 4-way play-off or birdie for the win. After Slayden securing par on 18, Anthony Gabriele, Timmy Hanzelko, Greyson Porter and Kevin Salyden, Jr. made their way to the par 5 16th for a playoff. All four players found the green in regulation and had chances for birdie. Gabriele and Slayden missed their putts first, then Porter, who eagled the hole during his final round, drained his birdie putt. Hanzelko was last to putt, however he just missed his attempt to force the playoff onto the 17th. Porter finished with a two day total of 72-73-145.
In the girls 16-18 division Courtney Zeng, of Orlando, held the lead after round one with a three-over par 75 while Luiza Altmann, of Winter Garden, trailed behind by one. On Sunday the course was playing more difficult with light rain all morning. Both girls would turn at 7 over par for the Championship. Altmann took a brief lead with a birdie on the par-4 10th. After 17, both girls stood on the 18th tee at +10 for the Championship and tied for the lead. Zeng would struggle and card a double-bogey, while Altmann's bogey was good enough to take the trophy finishing with a two day total of 76-79-155. Zeng, one stroke behind, taking second place honors, while Emma Albrecht, of Ormond Beach took 3rd.
In the boys 13-15 division Matthew Ruel, of Oldsmar, and Manuel Girona, of Windermere, were tied for the lead each firing two-under par 70. After two consistent rounds, Andrew Kozan, of Palm Beach Gardens, won the boys 13-15 division with a four-over par 75-73-148, besting Zong Fon Li, of Bradenton by one stroke, and Matthew Ruel by two, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Kelsey Zeng, of Orlando, held the lead after round one and with steady play on the long and difficult PLAYERS Stadium Course on Sunday went on to capture the girls 13-15 title carding a two day total of 76-84-160, holding off Emily Uhland, of Jacksonville by one stroke. Morgan Baxendale, of Windermere would take 3rd place honors.
The highlight of the tournament was Andrew Alligood, of Saint Johns, carding a hole in one on the famous par 3 17th. Alligood finished tied for 7th posting a 76-72-148.
This event concludes the 2013 Florida Junior Tour Season. We want to thank everyone for another great year, and can't wait to see everyone out in the new year. 2014 will kick off at Belleair Country Club in Clearwater on January 4-5, 2014. Belleair is always a great test of golf, with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and also can serve as a warm up to many boys as it will play host the the FSGA Boys' Junior Championship later in 2014!