Walker & Romeo Get Their First FJT Titles
Eighty-four of the top junior golfers in Florida headed to Brooksville Country Club for the second 16-18 age division event of 2014. Located about an hour north of Tampa, Brooksville Country Club has hosted many Florida Junior Tour events over the years. Brooksville CC is known for their back nine which was redesigned by Rees Jones several years ago and features four visually stunning holes through an old rock quarry.
The course played difficult for the girls division, proven by only three girls breaking 80 on the first day. Terese Romeo, of Tampa, was leading after round one with a very consistent 76. She shot 38 on both sides with a birdie on the par-5 third hole. Courtney Zeng, of Tampa, was only two shots off the lead with a 38 on her front and 40 on the back nine. Katie Holt, of Clermont, sat in 3rd where she shot a first round 79; 40 on the front and 39 on the back nine.
In the final round, Terese Romeo held onto her lead with another consistent round. She made five bogies and one birdie to post another 76 and a 36-hole total of 152. No girls where able to make up their first round deficits and Romeo's 152 total was good enough for a four-stroke victory and her first FJT title. Alison Armstrong, of Tampa, finished in second place with rounds of 80-76--156. Katie Holt finished alone in third place with rounds of 79-78--157.
In the boys division, Danny Walker, of Bradenton, took the first round lead with a 3-under 69, which included a one-stroke pace of play penalty. Walker started on the back nine where he birdied 11,14, bogeyed 17 and birdied 18 (but that birdie on 18 turned into a par after the one-stroke pace of play penalty). He then made birdies on 1, 3, and 5 and then added an eagle on the par-5 7th hole.
Rhett Pooley, of Lake Wales and Otto Mand, of Clermont, were the only other players to break par during the first round with rounds of 70 and 71, respectively.
In the final round, Walker wasn't able command the lead like he did the first day. He shot 37-37--74, but made a timely birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff with Linus Lo. Lo, of Heathrow, shot a final round 70 and posted a 36-hole total of 143 (-1) and went into a playoff with Walker. Walker and Lo tied the first playoff hole with pars (par-4 1st hole). Lo found trouble on the par-4 2nd hole and Walker made a par to win his first FJT title after many years of great play and several top three finishes.
Four players tied for third place only one stroke back of Walker and Lo. The following players tied for third place: Otto Mand (71-73), ZhengKai Bai (74-70), Tanner Jackson (74-70), and Bennett Baker (72-72).