at Royal Highlands
On Saturday January 29th we took The Claret Junior Tour on an arctic adventure in Leesburg, ok, ok, not quite THAT but for Florida Juniors this was an unusually cold experience that tested both their attitudes and their abilities and we are delighted to report there is nothing wrong with EITHER!
We had an awesome group of players and supportive parents, a fine golf course that we enjoyed fully, with no one else on it, and not a single complaint from any of our players, and I mean that, not ONE player complained, and one of them even wore his usual outfit of shorts and short sleeved polo shirt, Maxwell Frantzen (Villages HS) we don’t know exactly what you are made of but it’s strong stuff whatever it is!!
On our social media pages this week we have told you all about our Augusta National Flight winner (Ages 12/14) Zach Phan (Vanguard HS and Ocala GC) who recorded his, and indeed our tour’s, first ever ACE after more than 90 junior tournaments (that’s us NOT Zach, no idea how long he’s been trying!!) It came courtesy of a sweetly struck 6 iron into the 160 yard par 3 thirteenth of The Monarch and the rest is, well golf history really!
Some players (like me!) can wait a lifetime for a hole in one and it never comes! Zach really wasn’t sure where his tee shot ended up but luckily for him playing partners Jason Kaiser and Will Giger were both pretty certain he’d find it nestled nicely in the cup, and that’s exactly where it was! Check out this happy image:
It proved to be a really monumental day for young Zach who not only recorded that Hole in One, but he also secured his medal win with a mercurial round of only 66 shots, including 6 birdies and that ACE!!
35-31-66 represents his best ever tournament round, and in those conditions that’s a very special round of golf! Amazing golf Zach…well done again from everyone at The Claret Junior Tour !!
Zach is our 3rd player in a month to shoot a super low score and secure entry into our 60’s club joining course record holders 14 year-old Bella Dovhey (65) and young Longwood talent Riley Sillaway (12) who stands as our all-time lowest scorer with a tournament low of only 64!
We really are blessed to have such extraordinary junior golf talent among us and if you are a junior golfer or parent reading this we hope you might understand why we think you might just want your junior golfer to be a part of our tour!
Anyway, back to Saturday’s results and it was a second Monarch medal win for Jason Kaiser Jr. (Circle Christian School) Jason clearly likes playing this venue, though to be fair, his game really is starting to look very sharp indeed, Jason is a player who works really hard and puts the hard time in at practice in order to be tournament ready and we think this could be a great year for this young man.
Jason is clearly enjoying his golf right now which is so good to see, he’s always been an extremely capable young player who’s only issues previously have been caused by his own frustrations when shots haven’t come off for him. This is the most common issue young players have and it takes time and patience to learn to deal with these issues in a way that allows you to concentrate only on what’s ahead and not what’s gone before! Jason looks to be in a good place now and it’s so good to see him playing well and genuinely embracing the game’s challenges! Great job Jason on today’s fine medal win with a 36-40-76.
It’s also worth noting that Jason was pushed REALLY hard in this one and if not for a stroke of bad luck we may have been watching a play off between him and Curtis Douglas (The Villages) For the second Claret Junior Tournament in a row Curtis shot a very creditable 39-38-77. We believe this is just the beginning for Curtis who’s learning to enjoy competing once again after a period where he suffered his share of disappointments. He’s a player with a lot of talent and a big heart for the game and we are very happy to report that he is clearly getting back to his best. We could not be happier to see this likeable young golfer back and enjoying competition once again!
Last in on the medal presentation circuit for this one but certainly NEVER least it was our youngest, newly announced, scholarship-sponsored Claret Junior Tour golfer Rhett Kirkland from The Villages who took the final medal of the day at The Monarch.
11-year-old Rhett always plays with heart and passion and he is such a raw, developing and exciting talent you can’t help but want to watch him play! On Saturday Rhett saved some of his very best golf for the back nine holes of The Monarch and he put together a winning 43-38-81 to get his hands on his first Claret Junior Tour medal of 2022.
Rhett is our youngest sponsored player of 2022 and he was unanimously chosen by us for a number of reasons. His ability is there for all to see but just as important is his attitude to the game, his sportsmanship and his behavior which belies one so young. Rhett is a great example of a young player who can be paired alongside anyone and he will always present as a really fine example of our tour. We were delighted to offer him the opportunity to play with us this year as a scholarship/sponsored player!
Don’t make the mistake however of thinking Rhett is a placid and always easy-going young golfer! There are times when his desire to be the best he can be rises to the surface and he can show his frustration BUT those occasions are becoming rare and there is absolutely no doubt he is learning to handle things better through the experiences he is gaining by playing regular tournament golf. Rhett is about to embark on a brand new coaching regime with a highly rated local junior coach and we strongly believe this could be another hugely positive year for this very talented young player!
Rhett was our 2021 most improved player and now that he’s off the mark in 2022 with this first medal win we fully expect to see many more added to his collection! Good job Rhett, congratulations on a very well-deserved medal win at The Monarch!
Our final winner of the day at The Monarch picked up a $25 Edwin Watts Golf Store Gift Card. Will Giger was the player who hit closest to the pin on the tricky par 3 8th hole. Will put it to 17ft to secure the prize from Delaney Sillaway(Longwood) who was pipped to the prize by a few inches! Well done Will, great shot, enjoy your prize!
Thank you to everyone who came along to this one. A special thanks too to Luis Colon, Head Professional at The Monarch for always making us feel so very welcome at The Monarch. Thank you Sir, we all appreciate you and the great team of people there at The Monarch.
Thank you to our Sponsors, as always for everything you do to help us make these tournament events possible. In particular our long-standing partners at TCL (Tri County Landscapes) Todd and Melissa Coon and our new sponsorship partner Phillips Toyota and Tony Viero, Thank you for your wonderful support of junior golf in our community!
Next up for us its Eagle Ridge GC, our “Home” venue for the last three years on Saturday February 12th. With 4 great 9-hole layouts to challenge our players Eagle Ridge is always a great day of junior golf for our tour. Registration is open for this one and all of our future events by following the Register button below.