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2014 Southern Am Champ M.J. Maguire to compete in Arnold Palmer Invitational
ORLANDO, Fla. – Emerging collegiate star and 5- year AmateurGolf.com member M.J. Maguire, a senior at North Florida University, will compete against PGA Tour pros in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club, starting March 19, 2015. Maguire earned a spot in the field by winning last summer’s 108th Southern Amateur Championship on the Honors Course outside Chattanooga.

Maguire, from St. Petersburg, won the prestigious Southern Am against an international field containing many of the world’s top- ranked amateurs. Since 2004, the Bay Hill tournament has been supporting amateur golf by awarding the annual Southern Am champ a sponsor's exemption into the event the following spring.

Several past winners of the venerable Southern Am have made the cut when playing as an amateur on that Palmer exemption, including Webb Simpson and Kyle Stanley, who went on to win PGA Tour events after turning pro.

Maguire, an Atlantic Sun first team, all- conference selection, has helped raise North Florida’s golf team to a higher status in collegiate golf. In addition to his victory in the Southern Am, Maguire also won the Ka’anapali Collegiate Invitational last fall and placed second in the storied Azalea Invitational in Charleston, SC, earlier in the year.

He plans to defend his Southern Am title in July at Old Waverly Club in West Point, Miss.

ABOUT THE Southern Amateur

The Southern Amateur, which dates back to 1902, is one of three competitions held by the Southern Golf Association. Its champions roster is like a who’s who’s of competitive golf. (And the same could be said of the standing of its host clubs.) Leading this group is Robert T. (Bobby) Jones, Jr., who was the Southern Amateur Champion in 1917, 1920, and 1922. Others who have won or finished in a challenging position and gone on to national and/or international prominence include Tommy Barnes, Dale Morey, Don January, Gay Brewer, Doug Sanders, Billy Joe Patton, Lew Oehmig, Hubert Green, Downing Gray, Marvin (Vinny) Giles, Lanny Wadkins, Steve Melnyk, Tom Kite, John Mahaffey, Ben Crenshaw, Gary Koch, Bill Rogers, Gil Morgan, Danny Edwards, Andy Bean, Vance Haefner, Jerry Pate, Chip Beck, David Edwards, Jay Sigel, Bob Tway, Mark Brooks, Gene Sauers, Davis Love, Justin Leonard and more recently PGA Tour standouts Webb Simpson and Kyle Stanley, who won twice each between 2005 and 2008 in alternate years.

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