Saturday proved to be another Highlander Tour well attended event at Harbor Hills as 24 talented junior golfers joined us for an 18 hole stroke play event played over what is always a challenging layout at Harbor Hills Country Club in Lady Lake.
First we would like to take the opportunity to thank Tom Leimberger, Krista Fabian and everyone at Harbor Hills for their warm welcome to all players and spectators. A special thanks too to the Harbor Hills rental cart team who despite one or two issues on the day successfully ensured everyone who needed use of a cart got one before play. We know that the new rules on social distancing don’t always make this an easy task and we do have a large group requirement so thanks from us all for ensuring it worked out.
Once again we welcomed several new players to their first Highlander Tour competition. Welcome to our Tour Kevin Bosco, Thomas Bray and Chaden Lucas from Port Orange Florida and Spruce Creek High School. It was also a debut event for 12 year old Aashi Khirbat from Orlando. Thank you all for making the trip North to play with us. We hope that you felt welcome and that we see you all back again soon.
As is our normal practice we place each of our players into one of three flights(groups) mainly based on age and then determine a tee box for each individual player to play from. It is worth pointing out that we do follow USGA suggested yardages based on age BUT we also have the benefit of knowing the capabilities etc. of many of our players and we are always trying to provide a challenging and fair environment for them as they develop their game. Please bear in mind that at any stage we are happy to discuss our approach with any player/parent. Recently we had a couple of requests for players to play longer yardages than those we had set. As a junior development tour we are always happy to accommodate these requests.
Harbor Hills presented its usual challenge to our players yesterday but despite this we did see some fine scores and performances and we will start with our most experienced flight, The Old Tom Morris which yesterday consisted of players aged 16-18. Some fine performances and good moments were recorded and for many scores were impressive with no fewer than 3 players tying for second place with an 81. One player however stood out from yesterday’s pack.
A front nine of 38 (+2) followed by and even par 36 on the back nine ensuring that Jack Panigoni took the winners medal yesterday. Right now Jack is proving really tough to beat, he’s once again found a good run of form and competing at a strong level regularly. Yesterday he was close to his best at times and great to watch. Well done Jack on the win, it was very well deserved.
Shooting 81 and tying the second spot yesterday were Highlander Tour regulars Jonathan Ring, Michael Woodley and making a strong debut with us Thomas Bray. Well played gentlemen.
The Old Tom Morris Flight:
Winner: Jack Panigoni (+2) 74
Runners – Up: Jonathan Ring, Michael Woodley and Thomas Bray (+9) 81
Our mid-flight yesterday contained our aspiring 14-15 year old’s and it was a similar tale to that of the older players with some fine moments and a few early movements on the leaderboard. In the end it proved fairly comfortable for Quinton Barnhill (Montverde and Barnhill Golf Institute) who returned a very impressive 79 (+7) with another strong and improving regular Highlander Tour player AJ Burns next up on the scoreboard with a battling 85(+13).
Quinton has now secured two wins on our tour this year and some of his golf yesterday showed the great potential he has to be a strong and consistent junior championship competitor. Congratulations once again Quinton on a job well done!
The Young Tommy Morris Flight
Winner: Quinton Barnhill +7 (79)
Runner – Up: AJ Burns +13 (85)
Our final flight – The Bobby Jones was a busy one yesterday with 9 players competing for the medal in this one. These juniors (aged from 9 through 12) are all learning the game and developing their skills and understanding of what’s required to play in competition golf. Not surprisingly this is where scores can vary quite a bit as our aims here are primarily that these kids need to be having fun without the added pressure of having to always shoot a low score…this is (especially for this age group) the game they will play for life and that fun element must be emphasised to ensure they stay with the game.
Even at this early stage though some of these youngsters are already very much dedicated to the game and showing skill levels that defy their early years. Two examples of this were at one stage head to head on the leaderboard, Rhett Kirkland aged 9 and Kale Fashik aged 12, both are regular tour players with us and both are outstanding young prospects for us all to watch out for in future. In the end it was Kale who took the medal with an extremely strong 81 (+9) winning by 5 from Rhett with an 86 (+14) Rhett was a little disappointed in the end but he is consistently showing us what he is capable of achieving, and yes he does have fun doing it! Well done Rhett.
Our winner Kale Fashik plays regularly at Harbor Hills and such is his desire to play and his dedication to his chosen sport he actually played 18 holes in the morning before our event even began! 12 year olds playing 36 holes and then shooting low 80’s are rare and he is a worthy winner of our medal yesterday, overall his 2nd HJT medal this year. Congratulations Kale from us all.
The Bobby Jones Flight
Winner : Kale Fashik 81 (+9)
Runner-Up : Rhett Kirkland 86 (+14)
So there we have it folks, another great day of Junior Golf Competition. Thank you everyone who joined us yesterday at Harbor Hills for coming along and supporting our players and helping their development. Thank you for supporting our tour in numbers and allowing us to have the fun we have by hosting these events!
Next stop: Sanctuary Ridge GC, Clermont, Florida
Date: Saturday 27th June 2020 with tee times from 1pm.$25 Members and $35 Non Members.