These Kids Are Good
TAMPA, Fla. – They may be young, but the players in the 9-12 division of the Florida Junior Tour are good. Week in and week out, we see the youngest players on tour posting red numbers and breaking records.
This season, we have crowned 12 champions in the 9-12 division on the Florida Junior, with two players picking up multiple wins – Marley Pedrique and Chase Bauer. Just this year alone, three scoring records have been broken.
With three events still on the schedule, including the Futures Championship where four state champions will be crowned, we are bound to see some more great golf out of these youngsters.
Here’s a look at some of the best play from the 2022 season so far.
Darren Zhou made a splash in the first FJT event of his career, breaking the 18 and 36-hole scoring records in the 9-12 division on his way to a victory in April. The Bradenton native fired a first-round 63 at Indian Spring Country Club, finishing the day bogey free with nine birdies.
This was the lowest 18-hole score in 9-12 FJT history since Nemo Tsai’s 65 in 2021.
The 12-year-old followed that up with a final-round 68, birdieing three of the final four holes, to capture the win at 13-under 131. The lowest 36-hole in 9-12 FJT history since Lev Grinberg’s 132 in 2020. Zhou’s record-breaking weekend only gave him a one-shot victory, with Shayaan Kim finishing at 12-under 132 with two rounds of 66.
Marley Pedrique has been competing on the Florida Junior Tour since she was nine years old. In that time, she has compiled seven 9-12 FJT wins, including three this season. The West Palm Beach native captured her first win of the year at Palm Harbor Golf Club in January, taking home the two-shot victory.
The 11-year-old added another victory in March at DeBary Golf & Country Club. Pedrique was the lone player in the field to post two rounds at even-par or better, securing the seven-shot win with a 1-under 143 for the weekend. Her most recent win came at Indian Spring Country Club in April, surviving a two-hole playoff to earn the victory.
Pedrique also won the Futures Championship in 2021, tying the record for the lowest final round in the Girls (9-10) division with a final-round 69.
Like Pedrique, Chase Bauer is also a multiple-time winner on the Florida Junior Tour this season. The Gotha native earned his first FJT victory in February at Ocala Golf Club. He used three birdies on the back side and an eagle on the 17th to secure the two-shot victory.
Bauer’s second win of the season came to weeks later at DeBary Golf & Country Club in March. The 12-year-old opened the weekend with a 3-under 69 and took home the one-shot win at 3-over 147.
Alexandra Phung came out on top in her one start on the Florida Junior Tour this season. She fired rounds of 68-71 to secure the win at DeBary Golf & Country Club in March. The 10-year-old played her first round bogey free with four birdies and earned the win with a 5-under 139, tying her own 36-hole scoring record from 2021.
She finished the weekend 17 shots ahead of the field, the second largest winning margin in FJT Girls (9-10) Division history, while she also set the lowest 18-hole score with her first-round 68. This win marked her fourth-career FJT victory.
Carson Brauth took home a win in his first Florida Junior Tour start in April at Indian Spring Country Club. The Palm Beach Gardens native used rounds of 72-71 to capture the win, being the lone player in his division to finish the weekend with two even-par or better rounds.
The 10-year-old took home the victory by 10 shots, tying the largest winning margin in Boys (9-10) Division history.
Nine-year-old Bella Simoes played in her first FJT in April at Indian Spring Country Club, ending the weekend with a win. The Lake Worth native opened the tournament by firing a 5-under 67 in the first round, carding eight birdies on the day.
This 67 set the lowest 18-hole score in Girls (9-10) history, breaking Phung’s record of 68 from earlier in the season. Simoes captured the five-shot victory with a 1-under 143.