Back-to-back New Year's Invitational winner Hayden Buckley
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (January 7, 2018) - For much of the week defending New Year's Invitational champion Hayden Buckley was a bit of an afterthought. After the first round Buckley was four shots behind, after the second round he was eight back and heading into the final round he was still four behind.
However, with a final round 68 that included a birdie on the final hole, Buckley was able to pull even by the end of regulation and then win the title at St. Petersburg Country Club for a second consecutive year. Buckley won the title with a birdie on the first extra hole in a playoff with Florida State sophomore Greyson Porter.
Both players finished 72 holes at 2-under 286.
The victory for Buckley follows what has been strong start to his final collegiate season at the University of Missuori. Buckley began his campaign with his first career collegiate win at the Turning Stone Intercollegiate and then picked up a second title a short time later at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate while also finishing as the runner-up at the Warrior Invitational.
Overnight leader Cristian DiMarco never got anything going on Sunday, with three straight bogeys at 12-14 knocking him out of contention. DiMarco shot a final-round 76 to fall into a third-place tie with Michael Mattiace at 2-over.
Daniel Robinson of St. Petersburg finished fifth at 3-over 291.
In a tight contest, Devin Hernandez took low mid-amateur honors by one shot over Kyle McCarthy, and by two over Joe Alfieri and Miles McConnell. Hernandez closed with a 73 to finish 27th at 12-over 300.
Jimmy Jones, Sr. won the 54-hole Senior competition on Saturday by one shot over Gordon Marshall with a 7-over 223.
ROUND THREE RECAP
No player has held the overnight lead twice at the 92nd New Year's Invitational, 54-hole leader Cristian DiMarco hopes to buck that trend on Sunday at the St. Petersburg Country Club.
After opening with a 2-over 74 DiMarco, a senior for USF, took the lead during Saturday's third round with a second consecutive 2-under 70 and he will begin the final round 2-under and two-strokes clear of Michael Mattiace (North Florida) and second round leader Greyson Porter (Florida State).
After transferring from Kentucky following his freshman year, DiMarco has consistently improved each season. Last year DiMarco, the son of former PGA Tour player Chris DiMarco, earned American All-Conference honors and this year in five fall events he hasn't finished worse than tied for 13th. DiMarco also picked up his first collegiate win in the opening event of the season, the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate.
The top-five is rounded out by a trio of players sharing fourth place at 2-over; defending champion Hayden Buckley (Missouri) has steadily climbed the leaderboard this week and he is just four back along with junior Alexander Yang and first round co-leader Ben Doyle (California).
In the Mid-Amateur Division Kyle McCarthy (77-70-74) remained in front and at 5-over he will carry a three shot advantage into the final round.
Troy Vannucci (+8) is second, Devin Hernandez (+11); Miles McConnell (+11) are sharing third while Joe Alfieri (+14); Joe Lyons (+14) are tied for fifth.
For the second time the Senior Division was captured by Jimmy Jones Sr. The final round race was tight but Jones Sr., after rounds of 76-74-73 was able to post 7-over and win by one.
Gordon Marshall (+8) was second, Dennis Monahan (+12) took third, in fourth it was Tom Hyland (+14) and in fifth it was Greg Hedrix (+16).
Of Note: Jimmy Jones Jr., the son of Jimmy Jones Sr., is playing in the Championship Division and he is 7-over. The younger Jones plays at USF.
ABOUT THE New Year's Invitational
Historic invitational golf tournament that
on the Lakewood golf course in 1927. This
amateur invitational tournament -- which
top Florida amateurs and a strong group of out-of-
state players as well --
unbroken, each year although the club
later changed to St. Petersburg Country
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