Leistner, Lin Capture Victories at Okeeheelee
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - This weekend, the 16 to 18 year-old division of the Florida Junior Tour traveled to Okeeheelee Golf Course in West Palm Beach to compete in a 36-hole, stroke-play event. Despite positive forecasts leading into the weekend, players were forced into an over three-hour delay on Saturday. This weekend's competitors’ wills were put to the test as some played more than 27 holes on Sunday. When the final putt dropped, Logan Leistner and Yingshi (Lydia) Lin were alone atop the leaderboard to claim victories.
When the first round was completed on Sunday morning, two players held a share of the lead after recording scores of 3-under par, 69. Arth Sinha, of Oviedo, played mistake-free golf even with the large delay on Saturday and having to wait to complete his round until Sunday. The Oviedo native’s bogey-free round was highlighted by birdies on the par-5 first hole, and par-4 fourth and 16th holes. Also sitting atop the leaderboard was Logan Leistner, of Orlando. The Orlando native took a much different path to 3-under par, 69. After completing his first nine holes at even-par, Leistner went on to birdie his first four holes on the back nine, later adding a bogey to find himself in a tie for first. Talan Wilkes, of Tequesta, Zhengyi (Louie) Liu, of Bradenton, and Braden Miller, of Naples, all completed the first round with scores of 1-under par, 71, just two shots back of the co-leaders.
In the second round, due to the weather delay the day before, players would compete in the same pairings they were a part of in the first round. Early on in the round, Sinha and Leistner, who happened to be playing in the same grouping, created a large margin between themselves and the rest of the field while simultaneously jockeying for the lead. After both players birdied the first hole to get to 4-under par, Leistner would jump ahead after a bogey by Sinha on the par-4 fifth hole. Both players would birdie the par-4 fourth hole, which was followed up by a birdie from the Oviedo native to bring the two back into a tie. On the back nine, Sinha took the solo lead for the first time in the second round, ultimately leading by two shots with just four holes to play. But then, Leistner caught fire and birdied three consecutive holes to regain the lead by one stroke. With a par on the par-3 18th hole, the Orlando native captured his first-ever Florida Junior Tour victory.
Through 18 holes, Youyang Li, of Orlando, sat alone atop the leaderboard with a two-stroke lead. The Orlando native completed an impressively consistent round of 2-under par, 70, highlighted by four birdies. Three players would begin the second round with a share of second place within striking distance of Li. Yingshi (Lydia) Lin, of Orlando, had a rough start to the tournament as she bogeyed two of her first four holes. However, Lin would turn it around and complete the round with a score of even-par, 72. Emma Rynn, of Windermere, recorded three birdies and three bogeys on her way to an 18-hole score of even-par, 72. Mi Li, of Orlando, followed a similar path to the round-one leader, playing consistent golf (two birdies, two bogeys) en-route to a score of even-par, 72.
Then, early in the second round, Lin birdied two of her first three holes while the round-one leader dropped a shot, pulling the two into a tie for first place. While the other competitors looking to rise up the leaderboard failed to do so, the two Orlando natives remained tied at the top with just nine holes left to play. Li regained the lead with a birdie on the par-5 10th hole, but this would be short-lived. On the par-4 12th hole, a double-bogey from Li and a birdie from Lin created a three-shot swing, providing Lin with a two-shot lead, one that proved to be insurmountable. Ultimately, the Class of 2025 member captured a two-shot victory. This win was Lin’s second victory of the year after her victory at the 64th Girls’ Junior Championship this summer.