AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. - This weekend the 13-15 year-old division of the Florida Junior Tour headed north to the Oak Marsh Course at Omni Amelia Island Resort. Not only did golfers participating in the event have to contend with Oak Marsh’s challenging greens, but intense winds and cold weather on Saturday forced the competitors even further out of their comfort zone. While many succumbed to the harsh conditions, two players would elevate their play above the rest to claim victory, Miles Russell and Emma Sanabria.
Following Saturday’s cold and windy round, three players found themselves tied atop the leaderboard with a score of six-over 78. Lion Liu, of Orlando, did not have an ideal start to his round. After bogeying his first hole, the Orlando native would then play holes four through seven at five-over par. However, Liu was able to turn it around, finishing his final 10 holes at even-par, including back-to-back birdies on the ninth and 10th holes, to give himself a chance of winning his first FJT event. Hugo Stenstrom, of Miami, used a more balanced round to put himself in a tie for the lead. After carding a 39 on the back nine, Stenstrom faced his biggest test of the day as he had back-to-back bogeys on the first and second holes. Yet the Miami native would finish the remainder of the front nine at one-over par and ultimately complete his round with a score of 39-39—78. Shayaan Kim, of Rockledge, also faced great adversity during his round. On the heels of a one-over par start through seven holes, Kim would play his next three holes at five-over par. But the Rockledge native was determined to stay in contention, and that is exactly what he did. Kim would play his last eight holes at one-under par to put himself in a tie for the lead. Despite the clutter at the top of the leaderboard, the tournament was still anyone’s to win as ten players were either tied or within three shots of the lead.
When Sunday rolled around players were hoping for nicer weather that would allow for more opportunities to score low, and their wishes were granted. A beautiful day at Oak Marsh led to 12 scores lower than Saturday’s low of 78. One of these belonged to tournament champion Miles Russell, who began the day one shot back. Russell, of Jacksonville Beach, recorded six birdies, including three in a four hole stretch, on his way to a tournament-low round of two-under 70. This win was Russell’s 9th career FJT victory, and first win of 2023. Taking second place was Kim, who improved on his 78 on Saturday with a 74 in round two thanks in large part to four birdies throughout the round. Maxwell Vandermolen, of Richland, Michigan, improved his score from 81 on Saturday to 74 on Sunday to finish in solo third.
At the conclusion of the first round, Valentina Hurtado, of Weston, stood alone at the top of the leaderboard after firing a round-low score of four-over 76. Consistency was undoubtedly the key to the Weston native’s success on Saturday as she recorded a par on all but five holes. Hurtado displayed her ability to deal with adversity toward the end of her round. Following a bogey on holes 14 and 16, Hurtado would birdie the 17th, and ultimately finish the day with a three-shot lead over Emma Sanabria (41-38—79), of Orlando. Sanabria, like many others in the field, struggled to begin her round. Through 10 holes, the Orlando native was seven-over par with much of the difficult back-nine remaining. But Sanabria played her last eight holes at even-par, giving her a chance to contend on Sunday. Sophia Hong (38-43—81), of Windermere, was alone in third.
With the weather improving on Sunday, so too did the quality of play from the girls competing at Oak Marsh. In round two, seven golfers turned in scores below 80, compared to just two the day before. As the round-one leader struggled and fell down the leaderboard, the rest of the division looked to seize the opportunity and climb their way to the top. Sanabria, the only girl to shoot two rounds below 80 this weekend, once again got off to a rough start on Sunday by playing the first three holes at three-over par. From that point on, the Orlando native made consistency the name of her game. Sanabria would par 11 of her remaining 15 holes and add a birdie on the par-4 fourth to shoot 77 and claim her first FJT victory by two strokes. Lily Chiang, of Jacksonville, Miranda Lu, of Bradenton, Ryan Donaldson, of McAlpin, and Hong all finished in a tie for second.
Format: 36 holes, individual gross stroke play
Eligibility: Boys and Girls (13-15) (age calculated from the last day of the event)
- FJT Membership
- Florida GHIN required (18.0 or less) - free with Junior Membership
Entry Fee: $130
Field Determination: FJT exemptions, random draw, 84 player field
Practice Round Information: $40+ tax
Divisions and Approximate Yardages
- Boys (13-15) - 6,700 yards (gross only)
- Girls (13-15) - 5,700 yards (gross only)
How Entries are Accepted
- Players with an unused FJT exemption will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis (if submitted before the entry deadline).
- Players without an FJT exemption - all other entries are held until the entry closing date. Shortly after the closing date, a computer-generated random draw is performed to determine which entries are accepted, and the order of the alternates. All players are notified of their status after the random draw is conducted,
- An alternates list will be posted to the FSGA website under "Tee Times & Player Information".
- Entries submitted after the entry deadline will be added to the bottom of the alternates list or used to fill any openings in the field.
Schedule of Events
Saturday, February 4th
- 7:15 AM - 9:30 AM - Tournament Registration (near pro shop)
- 8:00AM - 9:57 AM - Round one tee times off the 1st and 10th tees
Sunday, February 5th
- 8:00 AM - 9:57 AM - Final round tee times off the 1st and 10th tees
Approximately 2:30 PM - Awards presentation
How to Enter
Entries are submitted through the FSGA website. To enter, each player must create an FSGA account on this website (free to set-up), purchase a current Junior Membership ($40), and have an active Florida GHIN Handicap (included in membership if golfer does not already have one). To proceed, click the "Enter" button above once entries have opened.
Late Entry Fee: A late fee of $10 will be applied to entries submitted after the close of entries date. The entry fee and late fee will only be applied if the player gets accepted in to the tournament field.
Practice rounds are available one week prior to the tournament on a space-available basis. Tee times are only available after 12:00 noon including the weekend prior to the event. The price for a practice round is $40 + tax per player. Please call (904) 277-5907 to arrange your practice round. The proper place to practice your golf swing is on the driving range, hitting multiple shots on the course, not filling divots, and not repairing ball marks are unacceptable and may cause removal from the tournament without a refund.
AJGA Performance Based Entry (PBE)
|Champion - 2 stars
||Champion - 2 stars
|Top Five - 1 star
||Top Three - 1 star
Florida Junior Tour Policies
Courtyard by Marriott Amelia Island
Address: 2700 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach, FL 33637
- 2 Queen Bed - $155/night
- Parking Fee - $9 a night
- Book here!
Booking Deadline: January 19, 2023
Omni Amelia Island Oak Marsh Golf Course
39 Beach Lagoon Road
Amelia Island, FL 32034
Click here for directions.