It’s been almost a year to the day since we last took our tour on the road to Sorrento, Florida and the unique and luxurious setting that is Red Tail Golf Club. A lot has happened since then.
For those of you who remember playing Red Tail with us it became apparent around that time that things were not heading in the best of directions for this challenging and unique “semi-links style” layout as conditions, and greens especially, were not looking great and there were signs that the much-needed maintenance was not quite what it used to be. Shortly after we began to hear talk of new ownership and the inevitable staff changes began too. At that time our biggest hope was that this was not going to become yet another Florida golf course closure!
And so here we are, only one year on and the early signs are certainly good back here at Red Tail GC. The golf course is in good shape, perhaps not quite at its peak yet but certainly getting there, it’s busy and there is a great feeling once again around this place. The previous staff who looked after us so well have gone to pastures new, which is always a little sad, however the new regime, led by Brian Martin really were exceptional on Saturday despite our usual high demands for rental carts and it being a really busy day for them.
We hope this all means that Red Tail GC is now back and will be a fixture on our venue Rota for the next few years to come. We love coming here, our players might not all share that love BUT they will all agree you really do need to bring your best game and attitude if you want to score well at Red Tail GC….and that’s exactly the kind of challenge that junior golfers need if they have any ambitions to be a successful tournament player!
On behalf of our tour, players and parents thank you to Brian Martin and the staff at Red Tail GC .for making it an exceptional day of junior golf.
Fiona is seen here presenting Brian with our Certificate of Appreciation on Saturday.
It’s always great to have the opportunity to welcome new players debuting at Claret Junior Tour events and on Saturday we were pleased to be welcoming Paul Farrell (Mount Dora), Austin Whitten (Orlando) and Aidan Quinlivan (Orlando) for the first time. We hope you all enjoyed the experience and we look forward to welcoming you back to another tournament event soon.
In addition to new players we also welcomed back our very own Alumni guest player, Nick Zarillo (Lake Mary).
Our first Champion Golfer (2020) and still our all-time top medalist as a junior player, Nick is fast becoming an established young college golfer as part of the SEU University (Lakeland) men’s golf team. We are blessed whenever this young man takes time out to attend any of our tournament events as it gives us an opportunity to catch up with him and his family and, just as important, he serves as a great role model in so many ways, for our junior players of the standards of play and the attitude and character that’s required if you hope to follow in his footsteps and get to the next level of competition golf!
Thank you, Nick, and caddie, dad Darren, for being with us at Red Tail GC. It was great to see you guys out there together again and enjoying a great afternoon on the course. We hope to see you all really soon.
And so to the results of what was a great day of golf, as usual we begin with our oldest flight group of players,
The Old Course Flight (Ages 16+)
At one stage this flight medal win could have gone to any one of 4 players who were all, at varying times during the day, pushing for that top spot. Debut player Aidan Quinlivan (Orlando) was best of the group after 9 and a great level par 36. Aidan was being pushed by Villages HS Caden Fockler only one back and only two back on them Ethan Weber (Orlando) and Mount Dora’s Paul Farrell were +3 after nine.
Typically for most it’s the closing nine holes of Red Tail GC that prove toughest and that’s exactly the story that followed for Caden, Ethan and Aiden, as none of them could improve on their early scoring, one player did however as Paul Farrell picked up the gauntlet and powered his way to an impressive +1(37) over those closing holes to grab a debut Claret Jug Tour win and medal finishing 39-37-76 and two strokes ahead of Caden Fockler.
Congratulations Paul from everyone at The Claret Junior Tour.
Played one, won one is always a nice way to introduce yourself to us! We hope you had a great day out there and we look forward to welcoming you back to another tournament event with us soon.
The Augusta National Flight (Ages 13/15)
As far as lowest scoring goes, this one was mainly about two young players, playing together at Red Tail GC battling it out to post the best score they could. Both Jason Kaiser Jr (Circle Christian School) and Clermont’s Braden Hawkins are in a really good place where their development is concerned. Jason has already turned a huge corner over the last few months and as well as performing more consistently than ever, he’s also added a sharpness to his game that has seen him start to pick up medals and flight wins too.
Braden Hawkins was playing in his first tournament this year with us but we do know him and his family well and Braden has always been one of our top performing young tournament players, in 2021 he picked up no fewer than 5 flight medal wins with us, could 2022 be even more productive for Braden?
The first nine holes of Red Tail Gc and only two strokes, in favor of Braden would separate these two fine young players. Braden enjoyed two birdies at 3 and again at 6 on his way to an impressive level par 36. Jason stayed close with a +2 (38) with a birdie at 6 also.
The closing 9 proved trickier for both players, Jason’s highlight was another birdie at 12 on his way to a +4 (40) and an overall 38-40-78. Despite the challenge always being there, Braden matched that +4 on those closing holes to finish 36-40-76 and secure his first medal win of 2022 with us. Well done to both players, a very good tournament showing from two players who are very evenly matched, we look forward to seeing a lot more great golf from you both this season!
And so it’s a very warm welcome back and Congratulations to Braden Hawkins from everyone at The Claret Junior Tour. It’s just like he’s never been away and once more he’s got his hands on a winners medal! Good job Braden!
The Pebble Beach Flight (Ages 12 and under)
This group is bursting full of talented young players. There may be variances in ability and scoring at this stage but that’s very easily explained as each of them are currently at different stages of development. Whats certainly not lacking in any of them is the character they bring to each tournament and their willingness to keep working hard to improve and be better!
These are the kids with most time on their hands to develop into strong players and, don’t get me wrong they are all desperate to get there as quickly as they can, they are awesome young players to watch and we want to say well done to all of our 12 and unders, you are ALL on a good path and you are all going to achieve your goals if you keep doing what you’re doing right now!
Experience matters in all sports. It’s often the one thing that’s hard to quantify but it undoubtedly makes a difference in the make-up of a golfer, even in 12 and unders! On Saturday at Red Tail GC this player flight had 3 of the most experienced under 12 players we know, Rhett KIrkland (11) from The Villages, Riley Sillaway (12) from Longwood and our local kid from Sorrento, right here on the golf course, 12 year-old Ryker Huther.
These 3 juniors, playing together on Saturday, collectively during 2021 picked up 14 winners medals and in 2022 both Riley and Rhett have already been successful and opened their 2022 medal win accounts! Not surprising then that most of us did think that our lowest scoring medalist on Saturday at Red Tail GC was most likely going to be one of the 3 R’s …if that was the case would it be Ryker, Riley or Rhett?
On this occasion it was Ryker and Riley that proved a match for each other over Red Tail GC. Ryker was consistent and making few mistakes as he completed the first nine holes in a +1 (37) which included birdies at 3 and 9. Riley also birdied 9 and kept close with a +2 (38) opening to remain only one back of the leader.
The closing holes saw more of the same as both of these talented youngsters moved along consistently using all of their experience to minimise errors, make pars and take birdie opportunities that came their way, Ryker made his at 12 and Riley made his at 12 and 15. Knowing both of these players as well as we do it was always going to be a close run thing and that’s exactly as it turned out, Riley may point to his two shot error on 14, a rare thing to see on his card, BUT from a positive perspective, he responded immediately with a birdie on 15! All in all it was a hugely impressive and entertaining contest between two excellent young players. Both shot +2 (38) on the road home to the clubhouse and it therefore ended with Riley on 38-38-76 and Ryker on 37-38-75 to take the medal by a single stroke margin!
Well done to all of our 12 and under players and Congratulations to Ryker Huther from everyone at The Claret Junior Tour on securing your first medal win of 2022 season. We are sure it feels good to achieve it by playing well on your home course too!
Nearest to the Pin Competition
It was youngster Alexander Pendry (13) from Oviedo who took the prize, sponsored by Edwin Watts Golf with a supreme iron shot to only 3ft and 10″ ….so very close to an ACE! Well played Alexander…great shot, enjoy your gift card prize!
The Player Scores
Thank You to our amazing sponsors
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