CLANTON (65), HILTUNEN WIN SOUTH FLORIDA JUNIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

By CRAIG DOLCH

Special to South Florida PGA

   BOCA RATON (June 15, 2017) – At 13, Luke Clanton was one of the youngest players in the South Florida PGA Junior Championship.

    He also was one of the best.

    The Miami Lakes resident shot a 7-under 65 Wednesday – tying the course record at Boca Grove Golf & Tennis Club – despite playing the wet course from the back tees (6,800 yards). The about-to-be eighth grader who is home-schooled missed just two greens and fairways while beating players who were 4 and 5 years older.

     “My putter was on, even though I lipped out three times,” said Clanton, who was five shots ahead of runner-up Amadeo Figus of Port St. Lucie. “Everything was working, but I can play better. I shot a 63 last year at Pinehurst No. 2.”

    Kerttu Hiltunen of West Palm Beach won the Girls 13-18 division with a 1-under 71, three ahead of Taylor Caradonna (74) of Boca Raton.

    The top two finishers in each division earned spots in the PGA Junior Championship, which the girls play July 18-21 and the boys July 31-Aug. 3 at the Country Club of St. Albans in St. Albans, Miss. Previously, just the winner qualified but the field at the PGA Junior Championship has been increased from 78 to 144.

     This week’s tournament at Boca Grove was slated to be 36 holes, but reduced to 18 after storms canceled play Tuesday.

     NaShawn Tyson of North Palm Beach won the 9-12 boys division with a 73, two shots ahead of Alex Heard of Boca Raton. Brianna Castaldi (79) of Port St. Lucie won the girls 9-12, with Gabriela Sierra of Weston second with an 81.

      The South Florida PGA Junior Championship is run by the South Florida PGA.

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