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Florida's Alfieri goes low for opening Gasparilla lead
Joe Alfieri (FSGA photo)
Joe Alfieri (FSGA photo)

If you expect to lead a major mid-amateur event – even in the middle of winter – then you’d better be prepared to go low. In the opening round of the Gasparilla Invitational in Tampa on Thursday, top Florida senior Joe Alfieri had a 7-under 63 to take an immediate two-shot lead.

Alfieri, of Lutz, Fla., opened with three consecutive birdies before making his first and only bogey at Palma Ceia Golf Club’s fourth hole. He closed with two birdies in his final three holes.

Alfieri last appeared in the New Year’s Invitational, also in Tampa, at the start of the year. He finished 34th there is field mixed with players of all ages. In 2018, he was medalist in his U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier and T-4 at the Florida State Amateur. He also finished fourth at this event.

Joseph Deraney is Alfieri’s closest pursuer after the first round. Deraney, who won three major amateur titles in 2018 (including the Canadian Mid-Amateur), opened with 5-under 65. His card also included just one bogey.

A pair of New Jersey-based players – Troy Vannucci and Michael Stamberger – are two shots back in a tie for third after opening rounds of 3-under 67.

A large group at T-5 (2-under 68) includes U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Kevin O’Connell as well as Derek Busby, the 2017 Crane Cup winner.

Results: Gasparilla Invitational
1FLMike FinsterSt. Petersburg, FL40070-68-64=202
T2LADerek BusbyRuston, LA30068-67-70=205
T2MSJoseph DeraneyBelden, MS30065-66-74=205
T4NCKevin O'ConnellCary, NC20068-68-71=207
T4FLJoe AlfieriLutz, FL20063-70-74=207

View full results for Gasparilla Invitational

ABOUT THE Gasparilla Invitational

54-hole individual stroke play championship with a cut after 36 holes to the low 60 and ties. Good mix of Florida players and national competitors looking for an early season tune up. Played on a traditional, tree lined golf course that isn't very long but has small, undulating greens.

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