Gabe Lench (FSGA photo)
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (July 15, 2018) – Only three weeks removed from winning the Florida Amateur, Gabe Lench
won on a different level on Sunday. The 21-year-old used a final-round 69 at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course to win the Florida Open title by two shots. Lench edged another amateur in the heavily professional field.
Lench, a Lake Mary, Fla., resident who will be a senior at Liberty University in the fall, played a steady front nine, posting seven pars in a row with one birdie on the seventh hole to turn at 1 under for the day. Lench had two birdies and a bogey in his final round and was 6 under for the week.
Matt Cote, a Palm Harbor native and a professional, looked primed to overcome Lench’s lead when he started with a birdie, but he followed that with bogey-birdie-bogey to enter the back nine at even par. Past FSGA Champion and four-time amateur player of the year Joe Alfieri
, of Lutz, Fla., started the day with a three-shot deficit but leapfrogged Cote to finish second. Alfieri began his final round with three birdies on the front nine and finished the back nine with one birdie and one bogey to finish with a 3-under 68. Alfieri finished at 4 under, two behind Lench.
Lench has an impressive history in FSGA events. He won his first state amateur title in 2014 when he was just 17. He won it again last month
, and it got him an exemption into the Florida Open. Lench originally had failed to qualify.
“Hopefully, this can kick-start something,” Lench told the Sarasota Herald Tribune
after his most-recent victory. “I hope this can help prepare me for when I become a professional.”
As a junior golfer, Lench won the AJGA’s CB&I Boys Championship, the longest-running AJGA event for boys only.In addition to Lench’s and Alfieri’s top finishes, amateurs Alexander Vogelsong, Devon Hopkins and Michael Finster were part of a five-way tie for fifth at 1 under. The 106-man field included 55 amateurs.
ABOUT THE Florida Open
The Florida Open is open to PGA golf professionals,
amateur golfers, and other professional golfers who
meet the eligibility requirements. The Florida Open
has a rich history that dates back to 1942 and
includes notable champions, such as Bob Murphy,
Gary Koch, Charles Owens, Bruce Fleisher, John
Huston, Dudley Hart, and Bart Bryant among others.
Professionals and Amateurs can qualify for the
Championship through local qualifying. Exemptions
are available through State Amateur Championships
& PGA Section Events. Format will be 54-holes of
stroke play with a cut to the low 60 and ties after
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