PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Aug. 5, 2012) -- Austin Powell of Jupiter made eaglesearly and late Sunday for a surprising, come-from-behind victory in the 37thannual Palm Beach Kennel Club/County Amateur Championship at BallenIslesCountry Club
Four strokes behind and starting the day in front of the final threesome,Powell caught the attention of the field with an eagle at the par-5 third hole,hitting driver and 3-iron to the green and sinking a curling 20-foot putt to take thelead on the East course at nine under par.
Then, moments after a bogey at the par-3 16th dropped Powell into a tiefor second, he eagled the par-5 17th hole with driver, 5-iron and nine-foot puttsto recapture the lead and held on for what he considers his biggest victory.
At nine under par 207 on a final round of three under 69, Powell won by astroke over Matt Ceravolo of Palm Beach Gardens, who led by four strokes after36 holes, and former champion Gary Nicklaus of Jupiter. They tied at 208.
Ceravolo shot 74 on three birdies and five bogeys. Nicklaus closed at 70following a pair of 69s, his downhill, 30-foot birdie putt at 18 hanging on theedge to deny the 2008 winner another chance for a title.
Said Powell, “I tried hard all day not to look at the leader boards,” whichwere carried on the back of golf carts with the last two groups and kept up to dateby rules officials. “I had in mind that 10 under par might be the number and Ididn’t want what others were doing affect the way I played.”
He even turned his biggest mistake of the weekend into a positive. Hemade a double bogey at the par-4 fifth hole when he drove into the water. “Itturned out to be a blessing in disguise because it calmed me down and made merealize I wasn’t going to run away with it.’
A 2011 graduate of Cardinal Newman High School, Powell helped leadthe Crusaders to the state schoolboy championship as a junior and the Universityof Pennsylvania to the Ivy League championship the past spring, winningmedalist honors at two of the Quakers’ invitationals.
Still, he considers winning the County Amateur his biggest victory. “Youlook at the quality of the field with all the ex-pros,” such as Nicklaus, “the risingyoung players,” such as himself, “and the past champions,” including MarkCalcavecchia in 1979, “Yes, winning this is a big deal.”
For the first time, the winner of the Palm Beach County GolfAssociation’s Public Links Championship was determined during the CountyAmateur. Powell was also the low scorer here among the eligible players. ThePublinx was a separate tournament from 1988 through last year.
The starting field of more than 150 played one round each Friday orSaturday at BallenIsles’ East or on the Fazio course at Jonathan’s Landing GolfClub at Old Trail west of Jupiter. The 36-hole cut at 10 over par 154 set up thefinal round at BallenIsles.
Defending champion Daniel Eggertsson of The Acerage had the low scoreof the weekend, a second round of 65. This was bracketed by 76 and 74. He tiedfor 12th at 215.