Young players shine in Sertoma Junior Golf Tour event

— The Sertoma Junior Golf Tour continued this week at the Spring Lake Golf Resort, as a solid field of 56 players overcame wet conditions at Panther Run course.

“Conditions were a little wet because of the storms this week,” said Sertoma Junior Golf Tour Director Andy Kesling. “But that’s what makes golf such a challenging game, every time you go out it’s a little different. And we want to give a big thank you to the McFarling Foundation. Not only do they sponsor a big tournament in March, but they really care about the tour and help out with feeding the kids and their families. We appreciate their support.”

Tight play dominated most of the boys divisions. In the boys 11-13 age group, which played nine holes, Billy Carol carded a 47 to edge Beckham Donovan and Will Redding, who tied for second with a 48. Zackary Deuberry finished fourth with a 51.

“This is really the cream of the crop of the tour,” Kesling said. “Billy has been tearing it up all summer, but Will and Beckham are right behind him. All the kids are working hard and they want to get better.”

Jaxon Davis and Jack DuPriest tied for first in the 9-10 division, shooting a 48. Parker Griffin placed third with a 50 and Ethan Armentrout, Nolan Rasnake, and Ian Frasier finished tied for fourth with a 51.

“Jaxon and Jack are tough to beat,” Kesling said. “But that’s another deep, tough division with a lot of kids playing well.”

Jay Allen Mack captured his first win of the season in the 14-15 division, which plays 18 holes. Mack carded an 81 to edge Coleman Nelson, who shot an 84, to secure the victory. Jhett See placed third at 102.

“Jay Allen is one of the kids from out of town, he’s from Frostproof,” Kesling said. “And he’s in a division with a lot of kids who can win each week.”

In the boys 16-18 division, Jett Dexter shot a 76 to edge Easton Davis and Kade Damboise for first. Davis and Damboise tied for second with a 77, while Charlie Gist tied for fourth with an 86.

“Jett is another kid from out of town who also scored his first win this year,” Kesling said. “He comes in from Zolfo Springs, and he’s played well in a very competitive division.”

In the only co-ed division, which includes boys and girls aged 6-8 who play only six holes from 150 yeards out, Brody Hall shot a 33 to cruise into first place. Devin Wortinger was second with a 42, Colton Cord shot a 43 for third, and Parker Rapp placed fourth with a 48.

“Brody is a natural athlete,” Kesling said. “He’s been playing for a while now and he’s got a very good golf swing. He’s going to be tough to beat as the summer rolls on.”

In the girls 11-13 division, Sertoma staple Ashley Engle carded a 44 to capture first place. Alyssa Jordan was second with a 51, Lily Daum was third at 67, and Samantha Payne finished fourth at 75.

“Ashley has been around a few years,” Kesling said. “She can hit the ball real far and she’s always improving. But all the girls in that group are playing well and getting better.”

Naples native Chloe Nelson tied Sebring’s Megan Crews for first in the 14-18 division. Both shot an 87, while Blue Streaks Meghan Griffin and Avie Clark finished in third and fourth, respectively, with scores of 105 and 108.

“Chloe has really shown improvement,” Kesling said. “And the girls from Sebring are really dedicated. This is a division with a lot of high school players, and they’ll be walking into the season with a lot of experience.”

The next event on the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour is set for Thursday at Sebring Golf Club.

For more information on the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour, contact Kesling at the Sun ‘n Lake Golf Club pro shop at 863-385-4830, ext. 1.