Anderson, 18, prevails in experienced Florida Azalea field
Plenty of experienced dotted the Florida Azalea leaderboard – in terms of golf and life – but youth prevailed at Palatka (Fla.) Golf Club. Cole Anderson, an 18-year-old from Maine, walked away with the title after a four-shot win.
Anderson, who hails from Camden, Maine, was the picture of steadiness throughout the week, even though he didn’t start the final day with the lead. That belonged to Tallahassee, Fla., native Sean Butscher.
As Butscher, a former Austin Peay State player, slid down the leaderboard with a final-round 74, Anderson was there to take the spot. He had consistent rounds of 68-67-66 throughout the week on the tricky par-70 layout. Anderson graduated high school a semester early to join the Florida State roster in January. He won the Maine Match Play last summer and was runner-up at the Maine Amateur.
Anderson finished ahead of Jet Tickle, a University of Tennessee freshman. Tickle was 5 under for the week with rounds of 71-66-68.
German Leon Bader and Jake Carter of Aiken, S.C., tied for third another shot back.
Greyson Porter, a Florida State player who won the Orlando International Amateur in December, was solo fifth. Porter opened with rounds of 67-69, but slid to a final-round 71.
Butshcer tied for sixth along with three other players, including U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Kevin O’Connell.
ABOUT THE Florida Azalea
The Florida Azalea was started in 1958 as a two-man
team tourney. The field has, over the years,
boasted players who have gone on to greatness at
the professional level. Tommy Aaron, who teamed
with Dan Sykes for the 1960 Florida Azalea team
title, went on to win the 1973 Masters. And Bob
Murphy, winner of back-to-back Florida Azalea titles
while playing for the University of Florida golf team
in 1965-66, was an 11-time winner on the PGA
The 220-man Azalea field competes in one of six
flights. The first flight is Championship, with a cut
after 36-holes. The next five flights are Net.
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