VERO BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 10, 2008)--David Johnson defeated Carlos Velez 2 & 1 in the final match to win the Florida State Amateur Match Play Championship at Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach on August 7-10.
After nine holes, Johnson and Velez were all square heading to the back nine. On the 10th hole, Johnson, a senior golfer at the University of Central Florida, jumped in front making birdie to go 1-up. Velez brought the match back to even with a birdie on 11, but on the par 3 12th hole, Johnson took the lead for good again after making par. He went on to birdie the 14th hole to go 2-up and increased his lead to three after draining a 12 foot birdie putt on 15.
On 16, Velez made a birdie putt from off the green to extend the match, but the match was closed out on the 17th hole, when Johnson sunk a 25 foot birdie putt for his first State Championship title.
“It feels great to win,” said Johnson, who took third at the Florida State Am and was a semifinalist in the U.S. PubLinx. "I played well all week, my ball striking was really good and my putter caught up in the end.”
Johnson, who earned the 7th seed after posting a 67 in the seeding round, defeated the 2005 Match Play Champion Kelly Gosse, from Inverness, 4 & 3 in the first round and continued with a 3 &2 victory in his Round of 32 match to face off with two-time Public Links Champion Kevin Aylwin, from New Smyrna Beach, in the Round of 16.
Johnson topped Aylwin 3 & 2 for his spot in the quarters where me matched up with Chris Piumelli, from Vero Beach, whom he defeated 1-up to advance to the semifinals.
On Sunday morning, Johnson faced 3rd seed Thomas Murray, from Orange Park, the highest seed remaining in the field, and prevailed 4 & 3 earn his spot in the finals against Velez.
“The course was in perfect condition,” said Johnson, who was under par in each of his matches. “The whole week was a lot of fun.”
Since the number of entries received has always surpassed the capacity of the Championship, a qualifying stage was instituted last year. More than 320 players attempted to qualify at one of six sites across the state.
In the qualifying, players competed in 18 holes of stroke play in hopes of reaching the Championship at Quail Valley. The Match Play Championship began with an 18-hole seeding round to seed the 64 player field. Single elimination match play followed to determine the Match Play Champion.
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