May 26, 2014

Coultas Tops Field at Innisbrook

The Florida Junior Tour Boys 16-18 Division, played the first major of 2014 at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor over Memorial Day Weekend

Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club, home of the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship, played host to the Florida Junior Tour's Memorial Day weekend Major.  Players played the Copperhead Course for Saturday afternoons' opening round. Kyle Kidd, of Crystal River, & Kyle Flexsenhar, of Lake Mary, were the only two players to break par, carding a pair of 69's to share the overnight lead by two over a tightly bunched pack.  41 players sat within six strokes of the lead with two rounds to play.

Round two was played on Sunday morning at the challenging Island Course. The hot and humid morning brought afternoon summer storms, as play was suspended at 1:10 PM with just over half of the field completing play.  After a delay which included hail and high winds, play resumed just before 3:00 PM.  The delay did not bother Flexsenhar, while many struggled, he posted 1-under par 70, for a two round total of 139, good enough for a two-stroke lead over Andrew Arft, of Casselberry.  The trio of John Coultas, of Valrico, Matthew Mourin, of Miami Lakes, and Zach Evans, of Jacksonville, sat four-strokes behind Flexsenhar.

Monday's final round was played back at the Copperhead Golf Course.  The final pairing of Flexsenhar, Arft and Evans would card 40, 40, and 44 on the Front 9, while the group ahead was able to continue the steady play from previous days. Mourin, shot 1-under par 35, moving back to even through 45 holes, Coultas would shoot 38, falling back to +3 for the tournament, while Sachin Kumar, of jfd;, would shoot 37, joining Coultas at +3, heading to the back 9. 

In the final group, Flexsenhar continued to slide, two bogeys and seven pars would not make up any ground and lead to a fourth place finish.  Kumar started the back cutting Mourin's lead to one stroke with a birdie on 10. Coultas would gain a shot on Mourin after a birdie on the par-5 11th. Kumar would answer with birdie on 12, while Mourin continued his string of pars. Coultas would again take advantage of the par 5's making birdie on 14, to get back to +2, while Kumar made bogey to fall to +2, to both trail the steady Mourin by two strokes.  Mourin would make bogey on the par-3 15th, sending the trio to the "Snake Pit".  On 16, Mourin quickly took the lead back to two strokes with a birdie to a difficult back right hole location.  However, on 17, Mourin would falter and make bogey, while Coultas converted for birdie, to tie Mourin at +1, heading to 18.  The three would make par, leaving Kumar with third place honors while Mourin & Coultas would head to a playoff.

On the first playoff hole, the par-4 10th, Coultas converted his par first, then Mourin had a 3-footer to extend the playoff, as it slid by, Coultas was the Champion.  This was Coultas' first FJT victory, but he has been a steady contender with six Top-10 finishes in the 2013 season and holding the first round lead at the 2013 Tour Championship.

The next Florida Junior Tour 16-18 event will be at the Forest Country Club, June 28th-29th, in Fort Myers.  Entries close on Wednesday May 28th.  The 2014 FSGA Boys' Junior Championship, July 8th-10th at Belleair Country also closes on May 28th.  Qualifying will begin June 9th.  Click here to enter.

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