WEST PALM BEACH – Brett White of Fort Lauderdale almost didn’t get to play in the South Florida PGA Junior PGA Championship. He didn’t play well in a qualifying tournament May 22 in Stuart and thought he wouldn’t advance.
But while he was at a Duffy’s restaurant, White looked at his phone and realized he was going to be in a playoff. He rushed back to the course just in time and made it through the 3-for-2 playoff.
White had no such worries Sunday at Mayacoo Lakes Country Club. The 17-year-old shot a 1-under 70 to win the South Florida PGA’s first junior major by five shots over Andres Barraza of Parkland at 3-under 139. White earned a spot in the national Junior PGA Championship (as did Barraza).
“I got the last qualifier spot (in May), but I didn’t think about that,” White said. “I just tried to play my own game. I didn’t make a bogey, but I made a double at the 12 because of a stupid mistake. But I came back and birdied the 13th and the 18th.”
Barraza clinched his spot in the national tournament when he made a 30-foot par putt at the last hole. He shot 73 and finished at 144.
“I was just trying to get it close, so I could two-putt, but it went in,” Barraza said. “During the (rain) delay, I checked and I knew where I stood. I just needed to make pars.”
Nicole Yugay of Delray Beach shot a 1-under 70 to win the girls title by a stroke over Addison Klonowski of Naples. Yugay birdied two of her first four holes and finished at 1-under 141.
“My putting was very average,” Yugay said. “I lipped out a lot of birdie putts, but it’s a big accomplishment. I have been working very hard recently, so it’s very validating.”
Klonowski made six birdies and six bogeys while shooting a pair of 71s. She edged out Kayla Bryant (68-75) for the final spot.
The Boys Junior PGA Championship is July 12-15 at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Ky. The Girls Junior PGA Championship is July 27-30 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.
Previous winners of the South Florida PGA Junior PGA Championship include major champion Lexi Thompson, Jaye Marie Green, Chase Koepka and Andrew Kozan, who qualified for this week’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
The South Florida PGA Junior PGA Championship is Presented by the Honda Classic. Supporting partners are Don Law Golf Academy, Titleist, The Fun Group at Mirasol, Junior Golf Hub, Tee Times News, Loyal Auto Broker, OGIO, TimberTech Championship, Biolyte, FGCU, ASM Scholarships and First Tee-Florida Gold Coast.