SEBRING - There were plenty of low scores and lots of excitement to go with the heat and humidity in Thursday’s Sertoma Junior Golf Tour event at the Country Club of Sebring.
The opening tournament of the summer for junior golfers attracted 60 players, ages 6-18, who took on the challenging Country Club of Sebring layout.
“That’s a real good turnout for the first tournament of the summer,” said Sertoma Junior Golf Tour Director Andy Kesling. “I was concerned that it might rain, but the kids were able to get the round in and it’s great to see so many young players on the golf course.”
In the boys/girls 6-8 age group, which played six holes from 150 years out, Brody Hall finished first with a 31, Devin Wortinger placed second with a 33, Manasseh Haney was third with a 36, Rebecca Kesling fired a 42 for fourth and Melanie Suarez and Colton Cord tied at 43.
“We had 10 kids in that age group and that’s the most we’ve had in a long time,” Kesling said. “Golf is a great sport and the younger you learn the easier it is.”
Jack DuPriest won the boys 9-10 age group, which played nine holes, with a 48, while Parker Griffin was a close second at 49, Nolan Rasnake came in with a 51, Than Armentrout had a 57 and Lane Revell had a 59.
“Jack and Parker are very talented and will fight for the lead in that age group all summer,” said Kesling.
Billy Carol shot a 47 to finish first in the boys 11-13 division, while Beckham Donovan, who had the shot of the day with a hole-in-one on No. 11, placed second with a 48.
Donovan used a 4-hybrid club to record the first ace of his young career on the 177-yard hole.
“That division has a lot of players and Billy and Beckham will probably battle all summer for the title,” Kesling said. “Beckham had a 10 on No. 10 and comes back with a hole-in-one on No. 11 and that’s a great way to bounce back from a bad hole.
“That’s the first hole-in-one I can remember during a Sertoma Junior Golf Tour event.”
Will Redding came in third with a 53, and Avery Hurst and Jackson Griffin tied at 54.
Seth Hamilton won the boys 14-15 age group, which played 18 holes, with a 93, while Jhett See placed second at 94, Coleman Nelson fired a 103 and Perry Taylor had a 104.
“That’s another age group that should come down to the wire,” Kesling said. “I know those boys will work hard to lower their scores.”
In the boys 16-18 age group, Rhett Pooley was first with a 75, Ben Tubbs placed second with a 78, Sam Rogers carded a 79 and Kade Damboise had an 83.
“Rhett’s 75 is a solid score on a good course in tough conditions,” Kesling said. “Ben and Sam played well and there should be some excellent competition in that age group this summer.”
Ashley Engle finished first in the girls 11-13 division with a score of 44 for nine holes, while Alyssa Armentrout was second with a 50 and Samantha Payne came in with a 71.
“That’s an age group in year’s past that might not have had anyone playing,” Kesling said. “It’s good to see that division getting some players.”
Chloe Nelson won the girls 14-18 age group with an 85, Meghan Griffin came in second place with an 87, Avie Clark shot a 98 and Hannah Revell fired a 105.
“Chloe is from Naples and had a good round,” Kesling said. “She’s a friend of Kendall Griffin and it’s nice of her to come up and play on our tour.”
Next up on the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour calendar is Thursday’s tournament at The Bluffs in Zolfo Springs.
There are still openings to play on the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour. For more information, contact Kesling at 863-835-2436, on Facebook at Sertoma Junior Tour, or at sertomajuniorgofltour@gmail2.
“We’re excited about getting more kids involved in the game,” said Kesling, who is a professional at Sun ‘n Lake Golf Club. “We’re looking forward to a great summer of competition and golf.”