LAKE WALES, Fla. (Oct. 14, 2013) -- Jon Veneziano, of Mount Dora, defeated Thad Hudgens, of Longwood, in the final match to claim the Player-of-the-Year title and win the 32nd Florida State Mid-Amateur Championship held at the historic Mountain Lake Golf Club in Lake Wales, on October 10-14.
Veneziano who earned the number 10 seed in the stroke play portion of the event, made quick work of Stevenson Clarke, of West Palm Beach, in the Round of 32, by defeating him 5 and 4. Veneziano then needed extra holes to oust Ken Palladino, of Dunedin, earning the victory in 19 holes. Playing Sunday morning, Veneziano would then defeat Davidde Giordano, of Jupiter, 3 and 2, and then Robert Bechtol, of Tallahassee, 2 and 1, to set up his final match against Hudgens.
In the final match, Veneziano held the lead until the very end. Both players started out with pars on holes 1 and 2, but with two back-to-back birdies on holes 3 and 4 along with a par on hole 5, Veneziano went 3 up through 5. Hudgens made his first birdie of the day on 6, closing Veneziano's lead to 2. A bogie for Hudgens on the par-3 9th hole left Veneziano 3 up at the turn. Hudgens began his comeback as he went on to win holes 13 and 14 with pars and tied the 15th with a birdie, leaving Veneziano only 1 up through 15. With two holes to play, Veneziano birdied the par 3 17th to Hudgens' par to win 2 & 1. Veneziano also qualified and made it to the Round of 32 matches in the US Mid-Amateur that was held last week.
To be eligible for the State Mid-Amateur, participants must be 25 years of age or older as of October 10, 2013. Players attempted to qualify at one of eight sites in 18-holes of stroke play. The Championship consists of 36-holes of stroke play qualifying over the first two days with the lowest 32 advancing to the match play portion of the event to determine the champion.
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