FJT CC of Ocala (13-18) *Exempt Only*
April 15-16, 2023
OCALA, Fla. - A star-studded group of the best Florida Junior Tour players gathered at the Country Club of Ocala for the Exempt Only event. Jessy Huebner would capture his second event of the year while Youyang Li achieved her third Exempt Only win of the season.
In an Exempt Only field there is always a long list of players who can take home the trophy, and at the Country Club of Ocala it was no different. Multiple FJT winners from 2023 assembled to take on the star-studded field and through Round 1 there became some separation from those at the top. Dougie Basadur in the first group of the day set the mark to beat with a 5-under 67 that included a back nine 30.
Miles Russell would see that score posted and match it with his own 5-under round that included 7 birdies. No stranger to the top of leaderboards, Emile Lebrun’s 4-under 68 would put himself in the final group on Sunday. At 3-under, Nolan Harper was in good position to make a run at the leaders after making birdie on each of the par-5’s Saturday.
On Sunday, Dougie Basadur would struggle out of the gates. A tee shot that ended up out of bounds on the first hole would lead to a bogey and he would add two more on Holes #3 and #4. Lebrun and Russell would both birdie the first hole and with a bogey from Russell on the second hole, Lebrun would be the new co-leader with Russell.
A double-bogey on the par-5 5th for Lebrun meant Russell was all alone in the lead. The Jacksonville Beach native would add to that lead with a birdie on the 8th hole. However, back-to-back bogeys on the 11th and 12th would bring Russell back to the pack with a few contenders surging. Lebrun’s birdies on 10 and 11, Huebner’s birdies on 10 and 13, and Harper’s steady play meant all four players would be tied for the lead as the final group stood on 13 tee.
Huebner continued to make birdies on the back nine, adding two more on 14 and 15 to get to 6-under for the day and tournament. A closing birdie on the par-5 18th would get him to 7-under 65 which is tied for the 4th lowest final round in Florida Junior Tour history. That historic round would be too much for the challengers to match. Emile Lebrun finished second at 4-under after an even par round Sunday while Miles Russell was solo third place at 3-under.
All three winners of the Exempt Only events so far in the season were competing at the Country Club of Ocala. Two of those victories came from Youyang Li of Winter Garden who was looking for a third as she made her way up the leaderboard. An opening round 3-under 69 would have her a top the field in large part due to an eagle on the par-5 10th hole.
The other Exempt Only Champion of the season, Katelyn Huber, found herself as low as 5-under par through 12 holes. However, the finishing stretch at the Country Club of Ocala gave Huber trouble. Bogeys on at 15 and 17 put Huber back to 3-over and then a layup on the closing hole that found the bunker led to her 3rd shot finding the penalty area and a double-bogey to finish.
Gabriella Albert continued a strong season with a 2-under 70 that included three birdies in a row on Holes 13 through 15. The final group on Sunday would be Li, Albert, and Huber with Gracie Grant also at 1-under par playing in the penultimate group.
In the final round, the leaders got off to a slow start allowing many of the chasers to pull within striking distance. Li’s quadruple bogey on Hole 12 saw her lead diminish to Albert. A bounce back birdie by Li on 13 coupled with a bogey by Albert saw the two tied at the top. Quietly, Haley Davis was even par at her home course on Sunday through six holes and would find herself just one shot of the lead.
As the final group was finishing their opening nine, all three players were in similar spots on the 18th fairway. Albert and Li with a share of the lead decided to lay up to a comfortable number while Huber, needing some birdies, went for the par-5 in two. Her shot ended up over the green but a nice chip and putt left gave her the birdie she needed. Meanwhile, Li and Albert both hit it to 15 feet from their position in the fairway. Li would make her birdie while a miss from Albert gave Li the lead heading into the back nine.
The second hole at Country Club of Ocala proved tough for the trio as Huber and Li made bogey and Albert made double bogey. A bounce back birdie from Li meant she regained her lead from Haley Davis who was still just making pars and sitting at 1 over for the tournament and even on the day.
Bogeys from Davis on the 5th and 6th hole would effectively take her out of the running for the event. McKenzee Sullivan posted 1-under 71 for the day for 2-over in the tournament setting a mark for the girls in the final group to hit. Gabriella Albert’s approach shot on the penultimate hole finished inside 15 feet and with that made putt she would tie the lead coming down to the final hole of the tournament.
Albert’s drive on the 9th hole would find it’s way over the slope in the fairway setting up a great chance for birdie while Youyang Li was in the right rough with an overhanging tree between her and the hole. Albert’s second would land over the green and to the right of the hole setting up a tricky up and down with the back left hole location. Li would carve a left to right iron shot around the tree to below the hole setting up a 12 foot birdie putt.
Albert’s chip failed to make it to the green and 3 putts from there would leave Youyang Li three putts to win. Li would only need two putts for the two shot victory at even par for the weekend. McKenzee Sullivan and Gabriella Albert finished in a tie for second at 2-over par. The win is Youyang Li’s third of the season, all of which have been Exempt Only events.
|Tee||Yardage / Info|
|Boys (13-18)||6,812 yds. 74.0/140|
|Girls (13-18)||6,057 yds. 76.1/143|
|Sunny, Winds 2-5mph||86 °F|
|Sunny, Winds 10mph||84 °F|
Format: 36 holes individual gross stroke play
Eligibility: Boys and Girls (13-18) (age calculated from the last day of the event)
Field Determination: Fully exempt players entered on a first-come-first-serve basis, rest of entries ranked by number of exemptions, 84 player field.
Practice Round Information: $40 + tax
Divisions and Approximate Yardages
- Boys (13-18) - 6,800 yards (gross only)
- Girls (13-18) - 5,900 yards (gross only)
How Entries are Accepted
Schedule of Events
Saturday, April 15th
11:15 AM - 12:30 PM - Tournament Registration (near pro shop)
12:00 PM - 1:57 PM - Round one tee times off the 1st and 10th tees
Sunday, April 16th
7:45 AM - 9:42 AM - Final round tee times off the 1st and 10th tees
Awards presentation immediately following the completion of play
How to Enter
Entries are submitted through the FSGA website. To enter, each player must create an FSGA account on this website (free to set-up), purchase a current Junior Membership ($40), and have an active Florida GHIN Handicap (included in membership if golfer does not already have one). To proceed, click the "Enter" button above once entries have opened.
Late Entry Fee: A late fee of $10 will be applied to entries submitted after the close of entries date. The entry fee and late fee will only be applied if the player gets accepted in to the tournament field.
Practice rounds are available one week prior to the tournament on a space-available basis. Tee times are only available after 12:00 noon the weekend prior. The price for a practice round is $40.00 + tax. Please call (352) 237-6644 to arrange your practice round. The proper place to practice your golf swing is on the driving range, hitting multiple shots on the course, not filling divots, and not repairing ball marks are unacceptable and may cause removal from the tournament without a refund.
AJGA Performance Based Entry (PBE)
|Champion - 8 Stars||Champion - 8 Stars|
|Top Five - 4 Stars||Top Three - 4 Stars|
|Top Ten - 1 Star||Top Five - 1 Star|
Florida Junior Tour Policies
There is currently no host hotel for this event.
Country Club of Ocala
6823 SE 12th Circle
Ocala, FL 34480
Click here for directions