SEBRING — Those who were able to come away with Sertoma Junior Golf Tour Championship victories should feel pretty about what they accomplished. Not only did they have to defeat a number of talented golfers in their age group, they also had to overcome some nasty weather conditions in the two-day event that is the annual season-ending event at Sun ‘n Lake Golf Club.
While play was cut short both days, there were still some excellent races for the tournament victory, as four of the seven age groups were decided by two strokes or less.
Ben Tubbs had a two-day total of 100 to edge Nic Staffieri by two strokes and claim the boys 16 to 18 title. The tournament victory was the start of a big day for Tubbs, who also claimed the season points title for his age group and was named Player of the Year for the 14 to 18 class, winning the award for the second straight year.
The closest age group was the 14 to 18 girls division, as a pair of Sebring teammates went down to the wire and Meghan Griffin came away with a one-stroke victory over Megan Crews.
It wasn’t exactly a bad day for Crews, however, as she wrapped-up the overall points title for the age group and was named the Girls Player of the Year.
Jack Dupriest also had a big day, claiming the boys 9 and 10 age group with a score of 88, giving him an 11-stroke victory. Dupriest was a monster on the course this year and also claimed the overall points title and was named the Player of the Year for the under-13 age group.
Brody Hall wrapped-up his excellent season in fine fashion, winning the co-ed 6 to 8 age group by two strokes and also claiming the season points championship.
Will Redding won the boys 9 to 11 age group by two strokes over Beckham Donovan. Billy Carol was third, which was enough to wrap up the season points championship for the age group.
Ashley Engle put the finishing touches on a strong summer season, as she won the Tour Championship and also the 11 to 13 girls age group.
Jay-Allen Mack won the boys 14 and 15 age division by five shots over Matthew Arnan. Coleman Nelson placed third and was the overall points champion in the age group.
Tour director Andy Kesling said it was a great summer of golf for the youngsters.
“This was our 21st year and it was a real special year,” he said. “We have a lot of talent and we’re real deep. We’re getting younger and there were a lot of great kids.”
For Kesling, one of the great things about the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour is watching the kids grow up and improve their games.
“I’ve been running Sertoma for six years and some of these kids like Ben Tubbs I’ve taught since he was seven,” Kesling said. “Watching the kids grow up and then moving on to better tournaments is what it’s all about. It’s a stepping ground to bigger, more prestigious golf tournaments and then hopefully college. We want to see a lot of these kids go to college and play golf.”
Kesling said the summer tour wouldn’t be possible without the help of a lot of people, including the players and parents.
“I have to say thanks to all the sponsors we have and the Highlands Sertoma Club for being our main sponsor for many, many years. “I also have to thank all the golf courses. . If it wasn’t for all the golf courses we would be doing what we’re doing at the price we’re doing it at.”
The Sportsmanship Award went to Alan Akouka and the Most Improved Player awards went to Nolan Rasnake and Rebecca Kesling, Andy’s daughter who competed in the 6 to 8 age group.
“I’m a daddy caddie now and it’s fun to get out there and coach her,” Andy said. “Having good people around like Roben Griffin, Randy Tubbs and Lindsey Lovett allows me to get out there and work with my daughter.”