Saturday proved to be a great way to return to a venue we visited many times earlier in 2020. As we have grown a little since then it’s only been our desire to keep adding new venues that’s prevented us from returning before now…this visit just served to remind us how much fun Summerglen GC can be AND just how welcoming the staff and management are.
Our competition events are now coming thick and fast right now as we continue our race to the end of year Claret Jug event and there’s so much happening that we want to share with everyone. Apologies for keeping this one a little more brief than usual but let’s get started!
As usual we were welcoming another young player playing in his debut HJT event with us. Welcome to Drew Miller (Seminole) ..we hope you enjoyed the competition experience and we look forward to seeing you back with us again in the future…more about Drew’s successful day a little later!
21 young players lined up in this one to challenge themselves against Summerglen GC. With the course looking and playing in the best shape we have seen everything was set up for another great afternoon of junior golf. Conditions were great too, plenty of sunshine and a healthy breeze would make it challenging for all with the possibility of some low scores too.
As usual we will start with a round up of each flight.
The Claret Jug Flight:
Unlike our other flights this one is a little different, it’s the only flight of players that’s NOT based on player age. Our Claret Jug Flight is populated with our serial winners who have all gained promotion into it throughout 2020 by winning a minimum of 3 winners medals in the original flights they were competing in.
We are pleased to say that what this means is, especially at this time of year, we have a lot of very strong winners all competing together for a Claret Jug Medal. All of these players DO still play from their own designated tee box (age based) but there is only one medal and to earn it our Claret Jug player will always have to put up a good score on the day. On Saturday this flight was fought out by no fewer than 10 players.
3 players in particular staked their claim for The Claret Jug medal in this one. Tripp Watkins (Harbor Hills CC) playing for the first time as a Claret Jug player, Elle Folland (The Villages High School) and Nick Zarillo (Lake Mary) and any one of them could have taken the prize at different stages of the day’s play. In addition to those players mentioned we also want to say a huge well done to another young HJT lady player, Maggie Potash (Black Bear GC) who also played a big part in the day, coming close and shooting the day’s best in field front 9 total with a level par 36…well done Maggie!
Tripp Watkins was a runaway flight medal winner last time out with us and he made another fine showing in this one. It’s great to see Tripp playing so well and looking like he’s enjoying competing too. He’s a fine young player who has a great deal of competition experience and we love to see him back up where he should be on our leaderboards…Tripp showed great consistency all day to shoot a 38-37-75 at Summerglen which captured him the joint runner-up slot on this occasion. Well played Tripp!
Elle Folland has a previous HJT medal win behind her with us at Summerglen GC earlier this year. She knows the course well and she worked hard all day to gain the consistency needed to add to that win. A front nine with a few early dropped strokes ended on a positive with the first of her (best in field) 3 birdies total. The remaining two would come on 14 and 15 to take her into a share of the lead however this was unfortunately given up right at the end with an unfortunate bogey on 18. On this occasion Elle carded a 38-37-75 to share that runners-up spot. Golf can be tough as we all know…on a positive though it’s great for us to see Elle competing so strongly once again with our other top players. Well played Elle!
Nick Zarillo has been a winner on our tour since he first joined us earlier in the year. He’s a tough competitor and a very talented young player. On Saturday we welcomed Nick back to our competitions following a period where he has been absent from our events while still playing and working hard to secure his college future…more about that later!
On Saturday we saw the battling qualities that have made him such a strong player. An uncharacteristic start saw him drop 3 strokes in the first 3 holes. Nick is experienced enough to know that if you’re going to make errors early in your round is when its best for them to show up! Throughout the rest of his round there would be only one other solitary bogey lapse (at 16) The rest of his day was nothing but solid consistency.
Nick’s medal winning 39-35-74 consisted of no fewer than 13 pars and 2 birdies and his back nine total of 35 was the only sub-par 9 of the day. A fine way to battle back and a good example to younger players especially that the best players keep working hard to post a best score and don’t ever give up trying to do so! Congratulations to Nick from everyone at HJT on another Claret Jug win. ..well played!
We would also like to take this opportunity to offer our most sincere congratulations to Nick, Caddie/Dad Darren and Mom Kelly for securing his golf and academic future with a scholarship to Southeastern University (SEU) in Florida. Great news Nick and we wish you every success in the future. We know you haven’t left us just yet and there’s still a few challenges remaining but it’s been an absolute pleasure having you play here on Highlander Tour…we hope you’ve enjoyed being a part of it too!
The Old Tom Morris Flight:
Our Old Tom Morris flight at Summerglen turned into a two man shootout. Drew Miller (Seminole) who was making his debut and playing his first HJT event and a young local player we know very well from The Villages High School, Anthony Filone.
Anthony has had his share of disappointing scores in previous HJT competitions despite working hard and battling throughout to always give his best. On Saturday it was clear from very early on that things were definitely improving for him. Anthony, like many, is trying to find that spark of consistency to get him to the next level and Saturday’s round at Summerglen GC was just the sign he needed to help improve his confidence and let the rest of the field know just what he’s capable of. A round of 42-38-(80) that consisted of 9 pars and even a birdie on 18, that was a great way to finish the day for Anthony…well played!
Drew Miller is a junior player we were seeing for the first time and it’s fair to say he looks to be an extremely capable and talented young man. Drew was playing with Nick Zarillo who commented to me that Drew’s short game especially was exceptional…and coming from Nick that’s quite the compliment!
Drew knows consistency is what matters in tournament golf and that means making par regularly is where you start. He did that on no fewer than 12 occasions on Saturday and kept his dropped shots to a minimum to record a round of 38-40-(78) to take the medal by two strokes from Anthony. A nice HJT debut medal win for Drew and hopefully an indication for the rest of the field that another strong player and fine competitor is in our ranks.
Congratulations Drew on a fine performance and what we think might be the first medal win of many!
The Young Tommy Morris Flight:
Our 13-15’s contested this one and the medal winner was never really under any serious threat from the rest of the field. Before we get to that we do want to give a special mention to two of our players in this flight who may not have been in contention for medals on this occasion but who deserve to be noticed for displaying outstanding etiquette that was commented on by several spectators/supporters on Saturday.
Katie Allen (Fruitland Park) and Maxwell Frantzen(The Villages HS) are each developing their game by competing and working hard. Improvements in both players abilities are being regularly displayed however golf is as much about attitude as it is about ability and both of these young players are exceptional examples of that. Polite, gracious, mannerly and respective of both game and opponent…you are both a credit to our great game and we are delighted that you are a part of HJT.
Zachary Phan was a winner with us recently at Eagle Ridge and he did it again today at Summerglen GC. He is a very talented young “lefty” with a winning attitude and a very strong character. He demands a great deal from his own game and he’s experienced enough to know just what he’s capable of.
He achieved the medal win on this occasion with a 39-41-(80) and he could not hide his disappointment! It’s certainly true in golf that a win is a win regardless of the score and for many that 80 represents a good day’s work…Zachary strongly believes in his ability and while happy to pick up the medal, which incidentally is his 3rd this year and now sees him promoted to our Claret Jug flight, he badly wanted to shoot lower!
We see a host of different personalities emerging in the young players on our golf tour. For some just competing is enough, for others winning is everything, in Zach’s case he wants to win and win well…who are we to disagree with that ?
Congratulations Zach from everyone at HJT…your 3rd medal win and you are now a Claret Jug Player.
That wraps up another great event. Thank you to Brian and everyone Summerglen GC for having us. Thank you players for challenging yourselves and entertaining us all with your developing talent.
Next up for us is a return to Red Tail GC. on Saturday December 5th. Red Tail is a stunning venue that’s getting better and better. It’s a tough and uncompromising venue that many of our young players love to play. We hope you can join us for this one.
Registration is open now and can be reached by clicking HERE