April 09, 2007

McConnell, Ritter Win 54-Hole FJT at Shingle Creek

Ian McConnell and Jaime Ritter battled blustery conditions in the final round to capture the 54-hole FJT 13-15 age division event

Ian McConnell, 15, from Riverview, pulled ahead of the field in the final round firing a 2-under par 70 to secure his first FJT victory of the season. After 36 holes, McConnell and Christopher Pezzolo were tied for the lead each posting a two-round total of 140. In the final round, McConnell came out strong to shoot a 70 and finish with a tournament total of 6-under par 210 for the win. This win adds to McConnell’s four top ten finishes this season as well as a win last season in a Qualifying Series event in the 13-15 age division. First round leader Rocky Khara, 15, from Sebring, aced the 17th hole in the final round to jump into second place. Khara recorded rounds of 68-76-69 for his best finish in an FJT event. Second round co-leader Christopher Pezzolo, 15, of Orlando, also had his best performance in an FJT event finishing in third place. Pezzolo shot a pair of 70’s and a 74 for a 214 total.

Jaime Ritter blasted the low round of the division in the final round to edge out the girls field by one stroke. Ritter, 15, from Davie, posted an 81-78 in the first two rounds to trail the leader by 13 strokes. In the final round, Ritter made six birdies and hit 15 greens en route to firing a 3-under par 69 and secure the victory with a 228 total. “I just felt good today,” said Ritter. “My entire game came together nicely.” Ritter’s score of 69 is a personal best as well as an 18-hole FJT record for the girls 13-15 age division. Ritter has six top ten finishes this season as well as a win last season in a Qualifying Series event. Ryan Ashburn, 14, from Seminole, took second place with a 229 total. Ashburn, who won a 54-hole event earlier in the season at Disney, posted a 78-74-77. In a tie for third place, Nicole Agnello, 15, of Longwood, and Cindy Feng, 11, from China, each shot a tournament total of 230. Agnello, who has two FJT titles this season, led after 36 holes posting a pair of 73’s including a two stroke penalty she called on herself for grounding her club in the hazard in the second round.

Conducted by the Florida State Golf Association, the Florida Junior Tour (FJT) is a junior golf tour offering highly competitive and affordable competitions for juniors in Florida. The 2006-2007 season consists of 23 events for juniors, male and female, ages 13-18. Beginning September and running through May, the FJT schedule will play at some of the state’s top courses including Bear Lakes and Shingle Creek. The FJT’s focus is on quality, affordability and integrity. Tournaments consist of 36 holes conducted over 2 days, typically weekends, with an entry fee of $95 or $115. Scholarship entry is available to junior golfers unable to afford the entry fee.

Working closely with the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), FJT top competitors will receive exemptions and performance points towards AJGA events. The FJT is the only Florida tour to participate in the AJGA’s Performance Based Process. In addition, FJT events will be ranked by Golfweek/Titleist and Junior Golf Scoreboard. The FJT will maintain a points list to assist in determining Junior Player-of-the-Year and invitations to other tournaments.

To view complete pairings, tee times, and results, please see www.floridajuniortour.org.

The FJT is conducted by the Florida State Golf Association which conducts 25 State Championships and more than 40 qualifying tournaments for USGA National Championships. The FSGA also maintains the USGA Handicap System, performs course ratings throughout Florida and assists in junior programs and scholarships.

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