Ryan Orr runs away with a win at AJGA Florida Junior
De Antonio finishes on top at home course at Weston Hills Country Club
WESTON, Fla. — After withstanding inclement weather delays and cancellation of the second round, juniors Ryan Orr of Belleair, Fla., and Claudia De Antonio of Venezuela won the AJGA Florida Junior. Orr rallied back from a first round 3-over-par 75 and finished the final round in the lead with a 1-under-par 143. De Antonio maintained the lead she established in the first round and carded a final round 4-over-par 148.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Florida Junior was a 36-hole stroke play competition played on the par-72, Tour Course. The event featured 57 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18, from six states and six countries. The Boys Division played the course at 7,004 yards while the Girls Division played the course at 6,072 yards.
After placing 15th in the first round with a 3-over-par 75, Orr came back strong in the final-round shotgun and carded a 1-under-par 143.
“I didn't expect to win at all,” Orr said. “After shooting a 75 in round one, I thought I'd go out and just have fun. Then after shooting even on the front nine today I told myself to go shoot under and luckily it was good enough.”
Orr didn't grab the lead until the second half of the final round. He had a bogey on No. 5 and a double bogey on No. 8 that he had to rally back from. Orr had a plan though and going on the offensive paid off. He showed off his putting game on the back nine with two birdies and an eagle on No. 18.
“The low point of my round was definitely making the double on No. 8., but I made birdie on nine and birdied two to get back to even par for the front nine,” Orr said. “I hit a lot of greens and putted well which helped me shoot under on the back, and it was cool to finish with the eagle on No. 18.”
Sitting alone in second, James Leadbetter of Bradenton, Fla., shot an even-par 144. Seiya Liu of Beverly Hills, Calif., and Michael DeMorat of Merritt Island, Fla., tied for third at 1-over-par 145. Sean Smothers of Tamarac, Fla., came in fifth at 2-over-par 146.
In the Girls Division, Claudia De Antonio held onto her first-round lead and kept her consistency through the final hole. Through two rounds of play, De Antonio shot 1 over par for each nine and she finished the tournament with a 4-over-par 148.
“Today was great because I was really consistent and accurate in my shots. However, my low point was definitely my putting,” De Antonio said. “I was actually shocked that I won, though, because I knew the girls who were scoring close to me and they are great golfers.”
With Weston Hills Country Club being her home course and this being her first AJGA win, De Antonio was very excited to take home the first-place trophy.
“I'm just so happy about winning. The best part of this week was being able to call my dad who lives in Columbia to tell him I won. He was so happy too!” De Antonio exclaimed.
Maria Alejandra Merchan of Weston, Fla., claimed second after shooting an 8-over-par 152. There was a three-way tie for third. Martina Bertuccioli of Cordoba, Marisa Messana of Plantation, Fla., and Christina Wang of Guangzhou all carded a 9-over-par 153.
About the AJGA
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,500 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 40 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.
For more information about the AJGA Florida Junior, please contact Tournament Headquarters at 404-580-2012.