Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Local Sports

Griffin wins AJGA tournament


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Kendall Griffin, Taylor Lyle and Alexa Pano, all braved extreme weather conditions to capture their respective titles at the Florida State Golf Association Girls' Junior Championship at The Oaks Club, in Osprey, on Wednesday.

In the Girls' 13-15 division, Kendall Griffin, of Sebring, never trailed en route to capturing her first state championship.

Griffin's patience paid off in the first round enduring two weather delays to fire an impressive round of 1-over 73 to lead by one stroke.

Griffin, from Sebring, expanded on her lead after the second round posting a 3 over 75 to take a three shot lead into the final round. Griffin had a roller-coaster final round, carding six birdies, four bogies, and two double bogies for a round of 75 which was good enough for a three shot victory.

"It means a lot to win this tournament," the 14-year-old Griffin said. "The course was tough and the rainy weather made it play very difficult, but I just tried to stay focused on each shot and it worked out well.

"I really respect the golfers that play in these FSGA events because they're awesome and to be able to finish ahead of them gives me a lot of confidence."

The talented Griffin, who shot a 66 at Sebring Golf Club in last week's Sertoma Junior Golf Tour event, is slated to play in the U.S. Kids Teen World Championships at famed Pinehurst Golf Club's No. 2 course later this month.

"I love traveling to play in tournaments, Griffin said. "I get to play great courses and make new friends doing what I love to do."

Finishing alone in second place was Gabriela Coello, of Winter Garden, who posted a tournament total of 226. Haydyn Gibson, Clearwater, used rounds of 77-77-74 to take home third place honors.

Taylor Lyle, from Orlando, erased a six-stroke deficit to win the 16-18 age group.

After opening with an 81, Lyle was six strokes behind and in a deep hole.

In the second round, Lyle played a solid round of golf posting a two-over par 74, but gained no ground on the first and second round leader Dylan Kim, of Winter Garden. Wednesday was a memorable one for Lyle, who fired the low round of the Championship with an even par round of 72, which included four birdies and four bogies, to earn her first state championship.

Kim who led for the majority of the day was derailed after a costly quadruple bogey 8 on the 15th hole en route to a final round of 79.

Kim's tournament total of 228 fell just one shot short of the title. Nagisa Miura, of Bradenton, finished alone in third place after rounds of 81-77-74.

In the 12 and under division, Alexa Pano, of Lake Worth, cruised to a six-stroke victory with a tournament total of 74.

Pano who was the youngest player in the field at only eight years old, opened up with a one-over par 37, which included a birdie on the par 5 3rd hole to lead by two strokes heading into the final round.

Pano got off to a rough start in the final round by making a double bogey on the first hole, but rebounded nicely with birdies on 3 and 5 to finish with another one-over par 37 to claim the title.

Bianca Sol Cruz, of Largo, finished in second place after rounds of 39-41, and Shannon Rhoden, of Lake Mary, finished in third place with rounds of 43-39.

The Championship was played on the Eagle Course, for the Girls 13-15 and 16-18, and the Heron Course, for the 12 and Under Division. The 16-18 and 13-15 Divisions played 18-holes of individual stroke play each day, while the 12 and Under division played 9-holes of individual stroke play each day.

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