Cantonis and Ma Conquer Mission Inn
HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – Charlotte Cantonis and Dylan Ma claimed victories in their respective divisions on Sunday at the FJT Mission Inn Open. This was Cantonis' second Florida Junior Tour win in as many starts, while Ma picked up his first-career win.
The Las Colinas course at Mission Inn Resort proved to be a tough challenge on Saturday. This resulted in a very packed leaderboard at the conclusion of the first day's play with 10 people being within four shots of the lead.
Brandon Lohr and Justin Sui finished the first round with a tie for the lead after both finished the day at 1-over 72. Lohr played steady throughout the day offsetting his three bogies with two birdies. In similar fashion, Sui completed his round with four bogies and three birdies. Closely behind at 2-over par were the trio of Ma, Felix Luetke Meyring and Andre Zhu. With the leaderboard so tight the trophy was anyone's for the taking on Sunday.
The final round saw warmer and windier conditions as the day went on. Despite the tougher conditions, the field bettered the round-one scoring average by 1.4 shots. Starting the final round one shot behind the lead, Ma played the front nine in 3-under 32. He led the field with two eagles, with both of them coming on the par-5 fifth hole. The Jacksonville native completed his final round with a 1-under 70 to finish the event at 1-over 143 and win comfortably by three shots.
Playing alongside Ma in the final group was Brandon Lohr. Lohr held the overnight lead and started off the final round with a birdie on the first hole of the day. The 2024 graduate made two more birdies, along with six bogies, to shoot 72-74--146 for the event and finish in second place.
Ryan Miller from Naples, rounded out the top three after tieing the low round of the day on Sunday with a 1-under 70.
Twenty-one girls teed it up on Saturday with a chance to take home the title at Mission Inn. Cantonis, from Tampa, quickly made her presence known after going out in 4-under 31. Making birdies on six holes, along with two bogies, Cantonis fired the low round of the tournament with a 4-under 67. Ending the day six shots behind was Violet Robbins at 2-over par and Sara Vitasek, one shot further back at 3-over par. Robbins and Vitasek would need to get off to a good start on Sunday to challenge the lead.
Sunday saw some tougher conditions as the wind picked up as play progressed. While Cantonis did not get off to as good of a start in the final round, she utilized her comfortable lead from the first round to cruise home to victory. After rounds of 67-77--144, the Tampa native picked up her second FJT victory with a four-shot margin of victory over her closest competitor.
Victoria Tan would try to pressure the lead early in the final round after starting off with three birdies in her first four holes. This was not enough however and she would finish in solo second at 6-over par with rounds of 76-72--148. In third place was Lauryn Finley, from Lake Mary, with scores of 75-74--149.