Junior golfers from all over are descending on the area at three different courses for the second annual IMG Academy Junior World Florida Challenge.
More than 200 players from roughly 25 countries are competing in various age divisions starting Monday, and concluding Wednesday.
The boys 16-18 age division is contested at the Longboat Key Club. The girls 15-18s are duking it out at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in East Manatee County. Finally, the boys 14-15s, 11-13s and girls 11-14s will battle at Palm-Aire Country Club in the University Park area.
The tournament uses a 54-hole stroke play format, with winners of select divisions earning invitations into next summer's IMG Academy Junior World Championships in San Diego. Admission is free for the public to attend at each venue.
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WIN FOR KENNEDY -- Lakewood Ranch's Chris Kennedy captured the West Florida Golf Tour stop at Laurel Oak Country Club on Monday.
Kennedy, a member at Laurel Oak in Sarasota, used his local knowledge to card a 2-under par 70 amid windy conditions on the West Course. That netted Kennedy a four-way playoff, where he defeated Bradenton's Domenico Geminiani, fellow Laurel Oak member Matt Smith and Tee Opperman for the $1,000 first-place prize. Kennedy dropped a birdie putt to turn away Smith, the final challenger, on a fourth sudden-death playoff hole.
HOWARD EARNS LPGA STATUS -- The final stage of LPGA Qualifying School concluded last Sunday, and no Bradenton golfers secured full-time playing status for next season. Bradenton's Ginger Howard, though, finished with a 2-over par total after five rounds to secure conditional status for next season.
Conditional status was awarded to players finishing 21st through 45th and ties. She was the lone local golfer to earn conditional status for the 2016 LPGA Tour season.