Central Florida Junior Classic
On Thurs., March 31, the HJGT traveled to Sorrento, Fla., to host our Central Florida Junior Classic. With almost every weather condition, except snow and ice, for Saturday’s first round, the players were put up to a challenge. Thankfully, the players were given perfect weather, with beautiful, blue, sunny Florida skies for Sunday’s second rounds. The HJGT thanks the staff at RedTail Golf Club for assistance in hosting a fantastic event. Winners in each age division received an invitation to the 2016 Tour Championship on Dec. 3-4. Top three finishers in each division also received invitations to the 2016 Druh Belts Mid Season Invitational at Chateau Elan on June 11-13.
Boys 16-18 Division
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Saksit Jairak took an early lead in our Boys 16-18 division for Saturday’s first round. Jairak, a native of Thailand, made the turn at two-under=[ar after recording two birdies on his first nine. Coming in right behind at even par after a hot and cold front nine was Austin Aliff. The Vero Beach, Fla., native recorded four birdies on the front, to only come back stronger on the back with one birdie and an eagle to tie Jairak after round one. With better weather, Jairak was able to jump ahead of Aliff and Alex Vegh of Gahahnna, Ohio, after recording three birdies during his second round. Aliff recorded three birdies on the front to only trail Jairak by one at the turn. Jairak was able to hold on to his lead and finish at two-under-par 70 to take home first with a two-day total of 140. This marked Jairak’s second victory in three weeks after finding the winner’s circle at the Chateau Elan Junior Shootout on March 19-20. Aliff finished strong in recording several pars to finish in second place out of 37 in the field at 143. Vegh recorded seven total pars during the two day tournament to keep him the running for a top three finish. At 146, Vegh grabbed the third place hardware with scores of 75 and 71.
Boys 14-15 Division
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Saturday’s weather conditions would prove to be a challenge for our Boys 1415 division, as their first round scores would reflect. Round two, however, would to be a different story. Improving his score by four strokes, Matthew Soucinek of Lake City, Fla., hung on to his round one lead to take home first. Soucinek recorded three birdies and 21 pars to finish with a two-day total of 154. Drew Lanier of Maitland, Fla., only two strokes behind Soucinek after round one, also improved his score by four strokes in round two. Lanier recorded one birdie for both days and finished in second place out of 15 in the division with a two-day total of 158. A bogey for Lanier and a birdie for Soucinek n the par-5 No. 17 essentially sealed the victory for Soucinek. Marcus Tan of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, made the biggest improvement of the leaders by besting his first round score by nine strokes, allowing him to round out our top three. Tan pocketed three birdies total and finish with a two-day total of 159.
Boys 11-13 Division
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Frankie Harris, a first time Hurricane Tour player, took complete control of this weekend’s tournament. The Lighthouse Point, Fla., native came in ready to make a name for himself after rocking the field with five birdies in round one. Harris finished at one-under 71 and came back in round two as an even bigger force to be reckoned with. Harris made four additional birdies to go to four-under-par through 14 holes on day two. Harris finished with a three-under-par 69 en route to a six-stroke win. Long time friend and one of Harris’ biggest competitions, Brendan Valdes, came in with a 146 to take second place out of 11 in the division. Valdes had a rocky first round in finishing at four-over, but would improve on day two by six strokes to post a 70. Valdes recorded six total birdies for the weekend. Rounding out the top three with a two way tie for third was Floridians Michael Mays (76-76) of Winter Park and Derek Sanderson (77-75) of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., who both posted 152.
Boys 10U Division
Garrett Ebbert of Lake Mary, Fla., was the lone competitor in the Boys 10 and under division. Ebbert kept his scores low, posting an 82 and 83 for a 21-over-par total of 165. His tournament was highlighted by a pair of birdies in a three-hole stretch on the par-3 No. 4 and the par-3 No. 6 in round two.
Girls 14-18 Division
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Megan Furtney proved Saturday’s weather was no challenge when she took home first in our Girls 1418 division. Furtney recorded three birdies in round one to finish with a one-over-par 73. On Sunday, Furtney sunk three additional birdies to finish at even-par 72 for a 145 total and a four-stroke lead. This marked her second consecutive victory on the HJGT in 2016, and is her third top-two finish. Claire Albrecht owned the lead after round one after recording an impressive five total birdies to finish at even par. In round two, Albrecht recorded three additional birdies and finished second out of 22 in the division with a two-day total of five-over-par 149. Rounding out the top three and recording two birdies to improve her score by seven strokes from day one was Meiyi Yan of Windermere, Fla., to finish with a two day total of 153.
Girls 13U Division
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Our Girls 13 and under division consisted of Sarah Baqaj, Alex Crafton and Bela Mead. Baqaj of Toronto, Canada, took a strong lead over the rest of the field, even with a tough first round. Baqaj did not record any birdies in round one, but was able to keep a positive attitude going into Sunday. She recorded five birdies during the second round and improved by eight strokes to finish at one under par 71 and take home first with a two day total of 150. Crafton of Lake Mary, Fla., improved by three strokes on Sunday to take home second place with a two-day total of 173. Mead of Aventura, Fla., fought hard and stayed consistent both days to round out our top three. Beqaj’s victory was her second on the HJGT in 2016 in as many starts. She also won the Season Kickoff at Woodlands on Jan. 2-3.
Weather for April 2-3 Round 1: Low 72, High 81. Morning Thurnderstoms, Afternoon Sunny Skies, Wind 7-12 mph
Round 2: Low 61, High 79. Sunny Skies, Wind 5-10 mph
Tournament Division Yardages Boys 16-18: 6,708 Yards
Boys 14-15: 6,708 Yards
Boys 11-13: 5,764 Yards
Boys 10U: 5,115 Yards
Girls 14-18: 5,764 Yards
Girls 13U: 5,317 Yards