Palatka, Fla. (March 19, 2012) -- Darryl Donovan rallied from two strokes back to capture the 2012 Florida Azalea Amateur at Palatka Golf Club yesterday. Donovan, the amateurgolf.com member and Gilroy, Calif. resident carded rounds of 67-66-68-201 to win by a single stroke over Robert DeBaise, who signed for 66-67-69-202 and Cyril Suk, who improved each day posting rounds of 70-68-64-202.
"I played real solid first two days hitting 15 and 14 greens" commented Donovan. "Like most Donald Ross courses, there is a premium on approach shots. The first day I had it inside 10 feet 8 times, hit 2 par-5s in two and made 5 birds and 2 bogeys. The second round was bogey free with 4 birds."
The round of the day belonged to Motin Yeung, who posted 63 and finished solo fourth (73-67-63--203).
"The key to the victory," said Donovan "was the 15-foot bogey putt on hole No. 11. I hit the first poor drive of the event left into a waste area behind a tree. I thinned the second into a tree and and ended up behind another tree in the waste area. From a poor lie hit another poor shot followed by a poor pitch leaving my self 15-footer for bogey, which I made."
Donovan would then go on to make eagle on No. 13, birdie No. 14 and par the remaining holes for the win.
For extra motivation Donovan had his 73-year-old mother walking alongside him for the last two rounds.
Donovan is now back to California to play in a mid-am event at Mayacama later this week.
Beginning in 1958 as a two-man team tourney, the 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 Azalea team title, went on to win the 1973 Master’s championship. Bob Murphy, winner of back-to- back Azalea titles while playing for the University of Florida golf team in 1965-66, was an 11 time winner on tour and is currently a golf analyst for NBC.
More recently, there’s 1997 Azalea champ, Ryuji Amada, who currently is one of the PGA’s up-and-coming stars, having won almost $2 million since earning his card in 1999. Leading the list of those not winning the Azalea is Aaron Oberholser. The winner of the 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach, Oberholser was runner-up to Palatka’s Sean Pacetti in the 1998 Azalea.