Titles up for grab

SEBRING - The summer has flown by and the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour season finishes with the Tour Championship at Sun 'n Lake Golf Club. The two-day tournament, which begins today, has valuable points up for grabs and most of the age group titles will come down to Saturday's final round. "It's been a great summer of golf and it's hard to believe that the season is coming to a close," said Sertoma Junior Golf Tour Director Andy Kesling. "We had a good turnout for all of the tournaments and I've really enjoyed seeing these young golfers improve their games. "The Tour Championship is worth more points than a regular event and most of the age groups will be decided in the last few holes on Saturday."
The Sertoma Junior Golf Tour, which has been in existence for more than 13 years, is for youngsters ages 6-18, with weekly tournaments played at different courses throughout the Heartland. "We can't thank the other golf courses in our area enough," Kesling said. "They allow us to play at their course at an affordable rate and they make sure all the golfers are taken care of." Today's first round of the Tour Championship will be played on the newly renovated Turtle Run course, while Saturday's final round will be played on the demanding Deer Run course. "The kids will play Turtle Run today and it's in great shape," said Kesling, who is a professional at Sun 'n Lake Golf Club. "We'll finish on Deer Run which is in fantastic shape and is always a good test of golf." In the boys 9-10 age group, Zach Doorlag leads with 291 points, Billy Carol is a close second with 288 and Jaxson Davis is in third place at 251. "Those boys have been battling all summer and it's going to come down to who wins the Tour Championship," Kesling said. "Playing under tournament pressure really helps their games and it should be interesting to see who comes out on top." Beckham Donovan leads the boys 11-12 division with 300 points, Will Redding is second with 254 and Jackson Griffin is in third place at 250. "Beckham has played well and dominated that division this summer," Kesling said. "Will and Jackson are having a battle to see who finishes in second place." In the boys 13-14 age group, Seth Hamilton leads with 269 points, but brother, Scott Hamilton, is a close second at 260 and Julian Crozier is in third with 245. "Seth has come on strong lately and whoever wins the Tour Championship is going to come out on top," Kesling said. "Any ties are broken by who wins the Tour Championship." In the very competitive boys 15-16 division, Ben Tubbs leads with 284 points, Sam Rogers is in second place at 263 and Andrew Wally is third with 261. "Those three boys have played well this summer," Kesling said. "There's a lot of talent in that age group and Ben has been the most consistent over the course of the summer." Cole Berger from Lakeland has dominated the boys 17-18 age group with his consistent play and leads with 305 points, Will Bennett is a distant second with 240 and Jonah Brown is third at 233. "Cole has had a solid summer," Kesling said. "He's a talented player with a bright future and Will and Jonah want to finish in second place." Ashley Engle has run away with the girls 11-13 age group and leads with 305 points, Alyssa Jordan is second with 264 and Hannah Revell is in third place at 258. "Ashley has a nice swing and really improved," Kesling said. "Alyssa and Hannah have worked hard on their games and they'll be battling for second place." In the girls 14-18 age group, leader Kendall Griffin is not competing. Sarah Liles is in second place with 261 points and Meredith McKenna is third at 255. "Kendall is not competing because she is going to watch the Solheim Cup in Colorado," Kesling said. "Sarah has an excellent opportunity to move into first place, but Meredith has a good chance as well, it just depends on who plays the best." In the boys/girls ages 6-8 division, Jack DuPriest leads with 222 points, Parker Griffin is a close second at 216 and Brody Hall is in third with 180. "That's been a great age group to watch," Kesling said. "Jack and Parker both shot a 26 to set the age group scoring record this summer and it's probably going to come down to the last hole on Saturday." After Saturday's final round a dinner and awards banquet will be held in the Island View restaurant at Sun 'n Lake Golf Club with each age group winner receiving crystal trophies. "We have a nice dinner and then we have the awards ceremony and hand out the trophies," Kesling said. "It's great to see all the families come out and support the junior golfers, enjoy a great meal and it's a wonderful way to close out the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour season. "I want to especially thank Roben Griffin because he helps to run the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour and without him it wouldn't be the same." mpinson@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5837