LAKE WALES - When it doesn't rain in the Heartland in the summer - which has been rare this year - the heat and humidity are tough to deal with.
For the 50 youngsters on the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour, it was just part of a day on the links competing against their peers at a sweltering Lake Wales Country Club on Thursday.
"I'm pleased with the turnout and the kids did a great job considering how hot it was," said Sertoma Junior Golf Tour Director Andy Kesling. "Part of the learning process of golf is playing the course and dealing with the conditions."
Sebring High School golfer Meghan Griffin finished first in the girls 14-18 age group with a 91, Meredith McKenna placed second with a 95, Lindsey Moffat shot a 100 and Alex Hornick carded a 141.
"Meghan started playing golf a few years ago and has really taken to the sport," Kesling said. "She has been practicing and it's starting to pay off."
In the boys 17-18 age group, Will Bennett led the way with a sizzling 1-under 71, Rhett Pooley came in second place with a fine 76, Bradley Brewer claimed third with a 92 and Blue Streak boys golf team member Lee Hinote fired a 94.
"That's a great round by Will," Kesling said. "Lake Wales Country Club is not an easy course and for him to shoot that kind of score shows you what kind of game he's got.
"He's been playing on the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour for years and it's great to see the improvement in his game."
Ben Tubbs shot a 78 to edge Jason Cannon's 79 to win the boys 15-16 division, Andrew Wally finished third with an 85, Leighton Jahna shot a 90 and Cory Franks came in at 96.
"The 15-16 age group is our most competitive division and the deepest," Kesling said. "Any of those guys can win any given week and Ben has been the most consistent this summer."
Seth Hamilton shot a 52 to win the boys 13-14 age group, while brother, Scott, placed second with a 55, Julian Crozier fired a 57 and Carson Warner came in at 81.
"That's one of our smallest groups this year," Kesling said. "We hope we get more kids playing in that division next year.
"Seth has been playing well and he and Scott have shown a lot of improvement in a short time."
In the boys 11-12 age group, Jackson Griffin finished first with a 48, Beckham Donovan was second with a 51, Josh Bible shot a 61, Noah Bond carded a 65 and Clayton Samuels came in with a 66.
"That's two wins in a row for Jackson," Kesling said. "Beckham won a couple at the start of the summer and that division is going to come down to the last tournament of the season."
Clay Jacobs won the boys 9-10 age group with a 47, Billy Carol placed second with a 52, Lane Revell finished third with a 54 and Griffin Hall shot a 56.
"Clay has caught my eye a lot this summer," said Kesling. "He has a good swing, a lot of talent, has been working hard to improve his game and finally got in the winner's circle."
In the girls 11-13 division, Ashley Engle continued her dominating summer by finishing first with a score of 44, Hannah Revell came in second place with a 60, Alyssa Armentrout was third at 65 and Emily Dressel carded a 76.
"Ashley is playing well," Kesling said. "She is very athletic, hits it long and straight and has a bright future in the game."
In the boys/girls 6-8 age group, which play six holes from 200 yards out, Parker Griffin finished first with a Sertoma Junior Golf Tour record-low score of 26, Jack DuPriest was second at 29, Brody Hall came in third place with a 36, Jackson Barben shot a 38 and Jarrett Hornick came in at 39.
"Parker's 26 is a record score for that age group," Kesling said. "That's another competitive group and it's great to see kids learning the game at an early age."
The next Sertoma Junior Golf Tour event is on Monday at Highlands Ridge North.
This is a makeup of a rain out from earlier in the summer. The regular weekly Sertoma Junior Golf Tour event is on Thursday at Placid Lakes Golf Club.
"The summer is flying by and we only have three tournaments left on the schedule," said Kesling. "Most of the age groups are up for grabs and it's going to be interesting to see who steps up and plays the best down the stretch."
The Sertoma Junior Golf Tour wraps up the season with its two-day Sertoma Junior Tour Championship at Sun 'n Lake Golf Club on Aug. 16-17.
"That's our big tournament to close out the season and it's worth double points," Kesling said. "After the final round we'll have a banquet and awards ceremony and it's a great way for all of the golfers and their families to celebrate a great summer of golf."