It’s always a great day when we visit Ocala’s oldest and most historic venue and this one was no different. Ocala Golf Club, or Muni as its affectionately known by many, remains an ever-popular venue for so many Junior and Senior Tours and Associations including our very own State Golf Association (FSGA) who host a number of FJT events here each year and of course us…, The Claret Junior Tour!
Richard Hildenbrandt is the GM at Ocala Golf Club and he’s definitely one of the most junior golf supportive contacts we know! Thank you Richard for always making us feel really welcome when we bring our juniors to play, we appreciate you guys, especially during these busy months when courses all over Florida are packed full and yet you can still find space for us to come along and play!
Richard can be seen below, with Boss Lady, Fiona, being presented with his 2022 Certificate of Appreciation from our Tour.
It was a relatively short field of junior players who attended this one. A combination of several FJT events close by meant fewer in attendance for this one however there was still plenty of great golf and action to keep us all entertained throughout the day.
Most weeks we play we are usually welcoming someone new who’s making his or her Claret Junior Tour debut. Today it was youngster Kanav Mathur aged 12 from Lecanto Middle School. Welcome to your first tournament with us Kanav, we hope you had a great day and we very much look forward to seeing you back with us again soon.
The Old Course Flight (Ages 14/17)
Six players were competing in this one but right from an early stage there was only a couple of them playing strongly, and consistently enough to mount a challenge for this medal win. Curtis Douglas, returning after a lengthy absence from regular tournament golf has clearly been working hard to get back to playing the kind of golf we all know he is capable of. A change of coach and a change of scene as Curtis now playing most of his practice rounds at CCO in Ocala. It’s clearly working based on this performance as he showed with a 39-38-77 round here today. It may not have been enough to secure a medal win but there was enough fine golf in that 18 hole stretch to remind us all just how talented and strong Curtis can be when he plays tournament golf.
Good job Curtis, keep up the practice and compete regime and 2022 can be a very strong year for you in golf!
Our winner today was showing consistency and strong form right from the very start of this one. A level par 36 on the front included a birdie at 8 and his back nine holes, while not perfect, presented another 3 birdies at 10,15 and again at 16. It was a well desrved 36-36-72 level par round for Ocala Golf Club and Vanguard High School player, Zach Phan, as he picked up his first Claret Jug Medal of 2022 season.
Well done Zach and Congratulations from everyone at The Claret Junior Tour. Last season (2021) Zach finished the year on 3 medal wins, based on his early form I think there’s every chance he is going to surpass that figure comfortably this season!
The Augusta National Flight (Ages 12 and Under)
It’s fair to say it wasn’t the best of scoring days here at Ocala GC for our under 12 “Young Guns” however despite the errors each of them suffered we still have to remind ourselves that there will always be a medal winner and that medalist will fully deserve their award for shooting a lower score than everyone else in the flight they are in.
It was our very own 2022 Scholarship Award player Aiden Skrocki who took the honors in this one. It’s not necessary to talk too much about score as we know, and Aiden knows, he can do much better so instead we will simply enjoy the outcome instead of the score and share in young Aiden’s success in getting his first flight medal win of 2022 season.
Aiden is an awesome young prospect who’s already demonstrated to us over the last two years just how much he has learned about remaining focused while playing tournament golf AND controlling his emotions too! He is developing into a strong competitor and in our view his love for playing is going to be a huge advantage as he gets stronger and continues to develop.
At the start of this season we were all very keen to make Aiden one of our first scholarship award players, for one still so young he’s an experienced tournament player who always displays great sportsmanship and integrity whoever he is alongside. He is a great role model for other young players and we are always extremely pleased to see that smile, it usually means he’s enjoying his time on the golf course, or, in this case, picking up a medal!
Congratulations Aiden, we hope this one is the first of many in 2022.
The Player Scores
Nearest The Pin Award
It was The Villages Ryan Marinaccio that took the prize in this one with a nicely struck iron into number 11 of Ocala GC. Ryan’s shot ended only 10 ft from the pin. Great shot Ryan, well done and we hope you enjoy your prize of a gift card from our nearest the pin sponsors Edwin Watts Golf.
Thank you everyone for making it another great day at “Muni” ! Well done to all of our players and thank you, as always to our Sponsors.
We will be back next week (Saturday January 29th) at The Monarch at Royal Highlands in Leesburg. To register for this tournament or any of our upcoming tournaments please check out our venues and dates by clicking HERE for full info.