AVON PARK — Playing golf well takes mental focus and concentration on the best of days. But when the temperature is 94 degrees, it requires great intestinal fortitude to persevere through a long day on the links.
The 53 youngsters who competed in the two-day Sertoma Junior Golf Tour/Bill Jarrett Ford Championship displayed those qualities in completing their rounds at a sweltering River Greens golf course.
“It was two super hot days of golf,” said Sertoma Junior Golf Tour Director Andy Kesling. “Those kids did a great job of getting around the golf course in some stifling conditions. “It’s tough to keep your mental focus when it’s hot and you have a bad hole, but that’s what makes golf such a great sport because it will test your character. If you’re lacking in that department it will show and hopefully you’ll do better next time.”
The tournament, which was stroke play, began on Wednesday and ended Thursday. Easton Davis won the boys 16-18 age group with a two-day score of 76-79-155, while Cole Berger placed second with a 161, Andrew Wally carded a 163 and Kade Damboise finished fourth with a 164.
“Easton is playing some good golf,” Kesling said. “He’s working toward a career in the golf business and the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour is a breeding ground for helping kids learn about everything that goes with the sport.
“You have the golf pro, the course superintendant, the marketing and accounting side of golf as well as television and there are a lot of different avenues you can take in the golf business.”
Matthew Arnan won the boys 14-15 age group with a two-day total of 169, Coleman Nelson came in second with a 173, Jay Allen Mack was third with a 174 and Seth Hamilton had a 194.
“That’s Matthew’s first tournament back,” Kesling said. “It looks like he’s playing pretty well and there is a lot of competition in that age group.”
Billy Carol was first in the boys 11-13 age group with an 89, Jackson Griffin was second at 95, Beckhan Donovan came in third at 99 and Will Redding had a 102.
“That’s another division that is going to be tight all summer,” said Kesling. “Billy has been playing well, Beckham has grown a lot and most of those boys in that age group have a bright future.”
Jack DuPriest won the boys 9-10 age group with a 93, Nolan Rasnake placed second at 96, Parker Griffin had a 101 and Lane Revell came in at 105.
“We have a lot of talented kids in that division,” said Kesling. “Jack and his dad, Pete, always dress alike and it’s neat to see them on the course together.”
In the boys/girls 6-8 division, Brody Hall was first with a 70, Devin Wortinger shot a 73, JR Reddding was third with a 91 and Navaeh Bonecutter came in at 94.
“We have eight or nine kids in that age group and that’s great to see,” said Kesling. “Brody is going to be quite a player and Devin is only 4 years old and is playing well.”
In the girls 14-18 division, Megan Crews finished first with a 178, Hannah Revell placed second with a 214, Dannielle Roque fired a 258 and Alex Hornick had a 281.
“Megan is working on her game and the other girls are fairly new to the game,”said Kesling. “There are a lot of opportunities for girls to play high school golf and earn a college scholarship.”
In the girls 11-13 age group, Alyssa Jordan was first with an 85 and Lily Daum finished second with a 138.
“Alyssa is really improving and Lily is brand new to the game,”said Kesling.
The next stop on the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour is Monday at Spring Lake Golf Resort.
After a break for the Fourth of July, the Bagwell Junior Golf Tournament is July 5-6 at River Greens golf course.
“It’s hard to believe it’s almost July,” Kesling said. “We’ll play Monday which is a quick turn around and then we’ll let everyone take a holiday break. “We encourage all of the kids to play in the Bagwell Tournament because it’s a great event. “The new greens have come in well and Bill Jarrett Ford and the staff at River Greens do a great job.”