1. Archive

New golf outlet for juniors a big hit

The North Florida PGA West Central Chapter Junior Golf Association had its first season-ending championships Monday.

Scott Enck was hoping for a modest season in the inaugural summer for the North Florida PGA West Central Chapter Junior Golf Association. What he got was more than 1,000 participants and the pressure to make the area's newest outlet for junior golfers even better next year.

That's just fine with Enck, the head professional at GlenLakes Country Club and the WCCJGA president.

"This was just tremendous," he said. "We developed a strong following from the get-go _ we had an average of 75 kids at each event _ and that was pretty nice considering there are so many junior events to choose from."

Many of those kids chose to play in the WCCJGA Junior Championship Monday at GlenLakes, and four Hernando County residents produced top-three finishes.

Spring Hill's Steve Andrade shot a 77 over 18 holes to finish a stroke behind Matthew Gesner and Michael Giammaresi in the boys 14-15 age group, while three Brooksville residents also placed. Andrew Coogan shot an 80 to place fourth behind winner Matt Colson in the boys 12-13, Nick Catroppo was a stroke behind 10-11 winner R.C. Hyatt at 46 over nine holes, and Tara Allen shot a 106 to finish third among girls 12-13.

Winners of the Monday event are considered chapter champions for the season, Enck said, but a points system will be instituted next summer to award season-long performance.

That change will be one of many, including a likely doubling of tournaments to around 28 from early June to August.

With a base of juniors now established, Enck said, a membership fee will be charged for newcomers. Also, a new 18-20 girls age bracket will be created to accommodate rising high school seniors and college freshmen.

"That'll be ideal for kids like (Crystal River's) Rebecca Twiner (a rising senior), who won't have many chances to play during the summer," he said.

The WCCJGA is one of three junior summer circuits in the Tampa Bay region. It gained a quick foothold despite competition from the North Suncoast Junior Golf Association, composed mostly of Hernando and Citrus players, and the Pinellas County JGA.