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2015 Florida Azalea Amateur Preview: Halvorsen looks to defend
Andreas Halvorsen
Andreas Halvorsen
PALATKA, Fla. — Andreas Halvorsen, a class-of-2015 junior golfer from Norway, is in the field at the Florida Azalea Amateur looking to defend his 2014 title.

Halvorsen, who fielded more than 20 college offers for the 2015-2016 season, shot 67-65-73 in last year's event to win by two shots over Jack Davidson of Wales.

Halvorsen competed in the second stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying School in November and failed to qualify. Had he advanced to final stage, Halvorsen would have reportedly turned pro.

Started 12 years after the well-known Azalea Invitational at the Country Club of Charleston as a two-man team tourney, the Florida Azalea field has over the years boasted players who have gone on to greatness at the next level. Tommy Aaron, who teamed with Dan Sykes for the 1960 Florida Azalea team title, went on to win the 1973 Masters. Bob Murphy, winner of back-to- back Florida Azalea titles while playing for the University of Florida golf team in 1965-66, was an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour and is currently a golf analyst for NBC.

More recently, there is the 1997 champ Ryuji Imada of Japan. Leading the list of those not winning the Florida Azalea is Arron Oberholser. The winner of the 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach, Oberholser was runner-up to Palatka’s Sean Pacetti in the 1998 event.

This 54-hole event kicks off Friday and wraps up Sunday.

ABOUT THE Florida Azalea

The Florida Azalea was started in 1958 as a two-man team tourney. The field has, over the years, boasted players who have gone on to greatness at the professional level. Tommy Aaron, who teamed with Dan Sykes for the 1960 Florida Azalea team title, went on to win the 1973 Masters. And Bob Murphy, winner of back-to-back Florida Azalea titles while playing for the University of Florida golf team in 1965-66, was an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour.

More recently, there is the 1997 champ Ryuji Imada of Japan.

The 220-man Azalea field competes in one of six flights. The first flight is Championship, with a cut after 36-holes. The next five flights are Net.

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