Tosti, Niemann share 54-hole lead at Junior Orange Bowl
Alejandro Tosti
Alejandro Tosti

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Dec. 29, 2014) — Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann share the Boys lead at 210, 3-under par, streaming past second-round leader Giovanni Tadiotto, who carded 77 for a seventh place tie. Carl Yuan maintained his position as top U.S player, solo-third after a solid 72.

Oddly, each of these top positions resulted from the final hole, an uphill 516-yard par-five into a strong breeze, in today’s conditions reachable only by the more powerful strikers.

Tosti blistered an adrenalin powered 5-iron to eight feet and rammed home the putt for an eagle three. On the other hand Yuan, the longest driver in the field, was ruing one of his poorest shots of the day.

“I completely missed my tee shot and butchered the hole,” he said.

The error cost a bogey six, while Niemann cared a birdie-four.

“I didn’t have a good start to my round,” 18-year old Tosti commented. “I began by missing two short putts and struggled most of the day trying to spark the round into something.”

The 18-year old from Rosario, Argentina, who will start studies at the University of Florida in January, bounced back to reach the turn in even-par; but on the return-nine opportunity putts would not fall and when a bogey at the par-5 15th again pushed him over par, he sensed frustration.

“Normally, because of my length the par fives are my best scoring holes but to that point I was only one-under for the week. Fortunately my luck changed on the 18th.”

Colombia’s Ivan Ramirez, 68, (T-4) and Portugal’s Vitor Lopes, 67 (T-7) made significant runs, Lopes with a dream start, an eagle at the par-five opener and reaching five under after four holes.

Colombia’s Maria Hoyos is the new Girls leader, opening up a four-stroke lead on the field with a sterling 3-under par 68 in blustery conditions.

Sweden’s Linnea Strom, leader for the first two days, slipped to a 3-way tie for third with 74. Korea’s Juwon Jeong posted an even-par 71 to claim solo second spot.

15-year old Maria is slight and willowy, perhaps not the ideal frame to battle heavy wind but she’s so technically sound her lack of distance proved no disadvantage.

“I was hitting woods to almost every par four but I was hitting them very solidly and I was able to make almost all the greens. I had two bogeys but in all aspects it was a very good round.”

For her part Strom was sanguine and upbeat about the final round challenge.

“I played well but today the putts would not go in. That’s how golf goes sometimes.”

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ABOUT THE Junior Orange Bowl

72-hole invitation-only event. Players must not have reached their 19th birthday by the end of the tournament and must not be participating on a College/University team. The field is limited to a maximum of 72 Boys and 42 girls representing US and Foreign Countries. There are no age categories and there is no cut during the Championship. Invitations are sent out in mid- September. The tournament's alumni list includes current professional players Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and Lexi Thompson.

The golf tournament is just one of 15 competitions among The Junior Orange Bowl Festival. This volunteer-led, not-for-profit organization hosts athletic, academic, and cultural competitions that draw over 7,500 youth from Miami, the State of Florida, across the United States, and over 76 countries worldwide to compete. The annual marquee event rounding out each festival season is the Junior Orange Bowl Parade, a community based youth parade that travels through the historic streets of Coral Gables featuring high school and college marching bands, floats and various youth and community groups attracting over 35,000 families, friends, and neighbors. It dates back to 1948.

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