VERO BEACH, Fla. – This weekend, the Florida Junior Tour traveled to a familiar location, Sandridge Golf Club, where players who had earned exemptions in previous events teed it up in the 36-hole, exempt-only, stroke-play event. Beautiful weather and fantastic conditions paved the way for this high-quality field to challenge each other throughout both rounds. At the end of two competitve days of golf, Emile Lebrun and Katelyn Huber proved they were the best of the best to take home championship trophies.
With the wind picking up on Saturday afternoon, the Dunes course at Sandridge Golf Club proved to be a challenge. Despite the conditions, five players bettered the course and finished the first round under par. Leading the field with a score of 3-under par, 69, was Emile Lebrun, of Port Saint Lucie. Lebrun, class of 2025, would make five birdies along the way to a first round lead over a packed leaderboard. Trailing one shot behind was Mingbo Jiang, of Orlando, after completing round one at 2-under par, 70. The trio of Aiden Arce, Jules Gentil and Sohan Patel were closely behind at 1-under par and put themselves in a position to challenge Lebrun for the title on Sunday.
After the first nine holes of the second round, the boys division had turned into a three-man race. Lebrun, the round-one leader, maintained a one-shot lead over Jiang and Gentil. Gentil, who ultimately finished in solo third place, would drop out of contention toward the end of the round with back-to-back bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes. A birdie on the par-4 16th hole from Jiang would pull him into a tie with Lebrun, who then birdied the par-3 17th hole to retake the lead. However, the Port Saint Lucie native would bogey the final hole of the round, meaning he and Jiang would enter into a sudden-death playoff. On the first playoff hole, Lebrun seemed to have clinched victory by hitting his approach shot to just four feet from the hole, but a costly mistake resulted in the eventual winner making par, which was matched by Jiang. Lebrun would ultimately emerge victorious on the second playoff hole with a par as he captured his third FJT win.
Thirty girls teed it up on Saturday for a chance at the Sandridge (13-18) *Exempt Only* title. After the conclusion of play in round one, Katelyn Huber would take a two-shot lead into the final round after making seven birdies en-route to a brilliant 5-under par, 67. Close on Huber's heels was Tsamue Wu who started off her round with birdies on holes one thru four. Wu would finish her round at 3-under par and two shots behind Huber. Jordan Fischer and Mi Li were in a tied for third at the end of day's play after opening rounds of 2-under par, 70.
Then, on Sunday, Huber showed no signs of slowing down as she birdied three of her first four holes. The Gainesville native would add one more birdie on her first nine, and three more on her second nine, to shoot 6-under 66, improving on her first round by one stroke to capture a nine-shot victory. Huber's incredible weekend will go down in the history books as she completed the tournament with the lowest 36-hole score ever recorded by a girl on the Florida Junior Tour (133). Huber, who won the 11th FJT Tour Championship last year, has now won her last two starts and proved she is one of the best junior golfers in the state. Jordan Fischer, of Cape Coral, finished in solo second while Marley Pedrique, of West Palm Beach, finished in solo third.