June 19, 2001

Robert Gates Jr. Wins the Junior

Jimmy Plank captures the Junior division by one.

Fifteen-year old Robert Gates Jr. of Gainesville posted back-to-back even-par 72s on LPGA International's Champions and Legends courses to claim the 47th Florida State Junior Championship by one stroke.

Orlando's Gi Won Suh posted a final-round 71 to move into a four-way tie for second at one-over 145.  Tim Powell of Lake Worth, Hiland Sanders of Wauchula and Matt Every of Daytona Beach shared runner-up honors.

Gates, a sophomore at Buchholz High School, has also claimed the Alachua County Men's Championship.  His State Junior victory gives him an exemption into the AJGA's Henry-Griffiths Junior at Avacoa on July 16-19 at Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida.

First-round leader Curtis Elliott finished in a tie for seventh.  The Winter Park resident closed with a 5-over par 77.  Defending champion Major Manning of Ormond Beach struggled with scores of 76 and 74 to finish in a tie for 19th.

In the 12-14 year old division, Jacksonville's Jimmy Plank (age 14) closed with a 2-under par 70 to claim the 12-14 title by a stroke.  Palm City's Greg Forest, who led the first round after a 1-over 73, closed with a 74 to share second place with Kodi Merrell of West Palm Beach and Mike Stern of Miami.

The championship is the fifth of 17 state championships conducted annually by the Florida State Golf Association.  The FSGA was formed in 1913 to preserve, promote, and protect amateur golf in the state.

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