FSGA Junior Boys: Hebert and Kang are champs

OCALA, Fla. (July 11, 2007)-- Michael Hebert fired a final round 3-under-par 69 to capture the 53rd Florida State Boys Junior Championship as Hojin Kang played steady golf to claim the junior division title at the Country Club of Ocala and Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club in Ocala on July 9-11.

In the boys 16-18 age division, Hebert, of Orlando, posted a tournament total of 2-under par 214.

Hebert, 16, trailed the leader by four heading into the final day after shooting a 70 in the first round at the Country Club of Ocala and shot 75 in the second round at Golden Hills. In the final round at Country Club of Ocala, Hebert said he focuesed on "staying patient and not trying to force birdies."

Starting on the 10th hole, he birdied the 14th hole and then drained a 25-foot putt for eagle on 18 for a 35 on the back nine. On the front nine, Hebert birdied holes 5 and 6 to card a 34 and win the championship by two strokes.

"I really liked playing at the Country Club of Ocala," said Hebert. "The course really suits my game well."

Hebert holds three Florida Junior Tour (FJT) titles which earned him last season's division points champion.

"This is definitely my biggest win," said Hebert. "It hasn't sunk in yet."

Second-round leader Taylor Szyndlar, 17, from Jupiter, fell to second place with a final round 75. Szyndlar shot rounds of 73-68 the first two days to finish at even par.

In a tie for third place, defending champion Blayne Barber, 17, of Lake City, and Zachery Sobel, 16, from Clearwater Beach, each finished 1-over for the tournament at 217. Barber shot a pair of 74's the first two days and moved ahead with a final round 69 while Sobel posted a 70-73-74.

Hojin Kang, 15, from Longwood, carded all under par rounds to run away with the 13-15 junior division title, shooting a 71-70 in the first two rounds to lead the field by one.

"I was hitting my tee shots right down the middle and putting good," said Kang.

In the final round, Kang started 2-over through eight holes but recovered nicely after a rain delay, making four consecutive birdies.

Also starting on the 10th hole, Kang went on to birdie holes 18, 1, 2, and 3. In the beginning,

"I couldn't get up and down and was missing putts," he said. After the delay, "I just tried to stay focus and keep cool."

Kang ended with a 2-under par 70 in the final round to win the division by five strokes.

"It feels good," said Kang. "Now I can relax."

First round leader Cole Engelhardt, 15, of Jacksonville, placed second with rounds of 69-73-74 and Alex Slaton, 14, from Gainesville, took third place shooting a 71-72-77.

More than 340 entries were received for the 2007 Boys Junior Championship. Competitors first attempted to qualify for the Championship at one of six sites across the state in 18 holes of stroke play. The Championship field featured 126 of the top male amateur golfers in the 16-18 age division and 42 top juniors in the 13-15 age division. In the Championship, competitors played 18 holes on each course. The field was then cut to the low 54 scores and ties in the 16-18 age division and low 18 scores and ties in the 13-15 age division playing the final 18 holes at the Country Club of Ocala.

--Story courtesy FSGA

ABOUT THE Florida Junior Amateur

54 holes of stroke play to crown the top junior in the state. Non exempt players need to qualify at sites across the state in 18 holes of stroke play. Started in 1955, former Boys Junior Champions include Gary Koch, Len Mattiace, Josh McCumber, Jeremy Anderson and Matt Kuchar. Male amateur golfers ages 13-18. Entrant must not reached their 19th birthday and not attending college. All players must walk and carry their own clubs.

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