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Pembroke Pines’ Jennifer Lilly plans to play golf as a freshman at Nova Southeastern University in the fall, just miles from her home.
The 18-year-old had a standout career at Archbishop McCarthy in Southwest Ranches where she helped the Mavericks to two Class 2A state titles in her five years of playing on the varsity squad.
She closed out her summer with a runner-up finish in the Girls’ 16-18 Division of the eighth annual Bob Toski Junior Golf Tournament at the Boca Grove Golf and Tennis Club in Boca Raton. She shot an 81 to finish runner-up to Coral Springs’ Heidi Christensen, 18, who carded a 76.
Better yet, she pocketed a $20,000 scholarship from tournament namesake and golf legend Bob Toski. Lake Worth’s Nicholas Estrada was also awarded a $20,000 scholarship, which equaled the 2019 scholarship handed out to Weston’s Case Hinesley, who also graduated from Archbishop McCarthy. It is the most ever awarded. There was no tournament last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is very big to me,” Lilly said. “I am beyond grateful for Bob Toski and this tournament and the opportunity to play and all the amazing people who are a part of it.
“This is just amazing,” said Lilly, who has played in the tournament for five years. “Some of my best friends have gotten the scholarship and I always dreamed of getting something like this and can’t thank Bob Toski enough. It is a great accomplishment for me because he picked me for the scholarship because of all the hard work I did through high school both on and off the course.”
When Lilly saw tournament organizers starting to write her name on the check with a marker on the dry erase board, she said she and her mother in attendance were “super excited.”
“I started jumping around,” she said. “This helps me with my confidence, especially going into college and with my tuition. It is just a great thing that Bob Toski does.”
A junior golfer from Davie, Aiden Arce, 15, captured the Boys’ 13-15 division and was the boys’ overall champion with a 3-under 69. He and Heidi Christensen, 18, of Coral Springs, who was girls’ overall champion after carding a 76 and won the Girls’ 16-18 bracket, each received a crystal replica of the trophy that Toski won for the 1954 World Championship of Golf.
Arce, who will be a sophomore at American Heritage School in Plantation and plays on the school’s golf team, also shot a 69 in the 2019 tournament but lost on a scorecard playoff. He was happy to win this year.
“Having the low score was a big confidence builder for me,” he said. “This is a fun tournament and to break 70 was pretty cool. Shooting under par is huge. This year I was looking to win.”
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Toski said they had 50 golfers and he was happy the inclement weather held off.
Terry Moore, 17, of Pembroke Pines, who is a senior at Archbishop McCarthy, won the Boys’ 16-18 Division with a 74.
“This is exciting because I won the first time playing the course,” he said. “I didn’t know I was going to win this because I missed a lot of putts. This is big for me. It’s a great tournament and Mr. Toski is a really nice man for doing this.”
“I was able to raise $40,000 this year,” Toski said. “I am so proud of that because I don’t know of any other junior tournament that does that. I went down and spent time with them talking to them…I think that is just as important. I have to be a diplomat for golf as much as a golf teacher.”
The 94-year-old Toski, who lives in Boca Raton, said he always wanted to do a junior golf tournament, and in 2013 that became a reality. The next year, the scholarship program was set up with $1,500 awarded to both a boy and a girl. That monetary total has continued to grow and to date, $77,000 in scholarships have been presented to high school senior golfers.
Toski, who was the leading money-winner on the PGA Tour in 1954 and is a Hall of Fame golf instructor, said he takes great pride in giving back to the game. Toski said his ultimate goal is to raise $80,000 for two full $40,000 scholarships for one year for each golfer.