junior Jason Tzannes knows that the clock is ticking on his high school golf career.
At the end of the summer he'll get surgery on a torn ACL on his left knee, which will keep him off the course for the entirety of his senior season.
So for the 17-year old Tzannes, doing well at July 11's New England PGA Junior Tour event at Gardner Golf Club was crucial. The Boys 16-18 tournament was one of his last chances to get experience before the surgery, and maybe impress some college coaches with a solid round.
Little did Tzannes know that he'd end up besting 20 other New England juniors to win the one-round tournament with a score of +8, setting a new course record of 13 pars along the way.
"This was only my second NEPGA tournament, so this was a big surprise for me," Tzannes said. "A lot of these guys had way lower handicaps, but I played a great round."
Tzannes won by staying consistent and finishing strong.
He had no birdies in the tournament. However, he pared hole after hole on the back nine, on which he shot at just 1-over par -- good enough to earn him the title in a three-way, last-nine tiebreaker with Groton's Brendan Hunter and Leicester's John Coogan, who both also finished the round at +8.
Tzannes, who started most matches last fall for LHS and is a member at the , did this all while limping around the course with a hefty brace on his left knee, recalling Tiger Woods' heroic win at the 2008 U.S. Open with a fractured leg.
Tzannes hurt the knee in late spring, and doctors told him that he shouldn't play sports at all this summer, he said. But the LHS junior worked hard in physical therapy, and said that the knee doesn't slow him down at all on the course.
"I'm sort of lucky that I'm able to play at all. Most guys [with a torn ACL] can't even walk," Tzannes said. "The guys I play with at the club are always trying to give me a handicap, but it's really not holding me back at all."
Tzannes hopes that he'll recover from the knee surgery in time to get back on the course next summer, and to play on the LHS baseball team next spring, on which he pitches and plays infield.