Lucas Gimenez can’t imagine how he’ll forget the past weekend in Orlando, Florida.
“I mean, I’ve gotta put it at No. 1 just because I broke my record,” he said when asked how his nine-shot victory at the Golfweek International Junior Invitational stacks up on his list of career victories.
Gimenez, a 15-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida, blistered the field from the start. He made birdie on Celebration Golf Club’s opening par 4, eagled the par-3 sixth and followed that with six birdies in his next seven holes for an opening 8-under 64. Entering the tournament, the high school sophomore’s previous best score in competition had been 10 under. He finished the weekend at the Golfweek event at 12 under.
Midway through his practice round at Celebration, a course he hadn’t seen before this tournament, it dawned on Gimenez that this could be a good week. He saw shades of Marsh Landing Country Club in Ponte Vedra, Florida, which is near his Jacksonville home.
“I was kind of telling myself, oh this is just like the course I played in Jacksonville before,” he said. “I’ve always played well at that course so I knew it was going to fit me well in the practice round.”
You might say he punched the gas at the sixth hole on Saturday. After hitting his drive perfectly on that par 5, he pulled a 6-iron from 190 yards, started it at the pin and watched it draw into a slope on the green and trickle down to 8 feet from the hole. He made the uphill eagle putt and that was that.
“That was a big confidence booster because that led me to go 5 under in the last four holes,” he said of his front-nine 30.
After an opening 64, his best competitive round ever, Gimenez kept it together to come back with 68 on Sunday and finish nine shots ahead of runners-up Michael Gavin of Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Sol Richmond of Windermere, Florida.
“For me, it was just kind of sticking to my game. Sticking to who I am and how I play,” Gimenez said of that mind game. “Not getting out of my head, focusing on each hole, shot by shot. That helped me quite a bit today. A lot. Just kind of focusing on every shot, shot after shot, keeping my head down, keep grinding.”
On a weekend like the one Gimenez produced, a player has to be accurate off the tee. He was. What happens around the greens matters too, of course, and Gimenez attributes his performance…