Alex Vogelsong (FSGA photo)
Alex Vogelsong was left with a must-make birdie putt on the 72nd hole of the Amateur Championship to force a playoff. About 20 minutes later he was left with another birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the 105th Florida Amateur, rolling in the 6-foot putt to raise the trophy on Sunday at The Bear’s Club.
“This is such a great event, and it means a lot to win here at Bear’s Club,” Vogelsong said. “It’s been around for a long time and at a special place like here, it is really an honor.”
The Auburn University senior posted a final-round 70 to capture the championship at 8-under 280. Vogelsong was the only player in the field to finish with four under-par rounds, finishing with rounds of 71-71-68-70.
This is the first FSGA championship victory for the Florida Junior Tour alum.
Vogelsong began the final round three shots back of the 54-hole leader, Reid Bedell, at 6-under 210. He got off to a solid start, playing the first five holes at even-par. The Palm City native chipped in for birdie on the par-4 sixth hole to move to 6 under for the championship and one shot back of Bedell.
Both Vogelsong and Bedell birdied the eighth, but Bedell finished with a bogey on the ninth to give Vogelsong his first share of the lead.
The Auburn Tiger added another birdie on the par-5 10th hole to take the outright lead at 9 under. He played the next five holes at even par and headed to the par-3 16th with a two-shot lead.
His tee shot on the 16th was short of the green, leaving him with a tough flop shot over the greenside bunker. Vogelsong’s second shot came up just short of the green and plugged in the bunker. Left with another difficult shot, Vogelsong got it onto the green but missed the putt for bogey, finishing with a double and dropping back to 7 under.
While Vogelsong finished with a 5, Bedell rolled in a 2-foot birdie putt to take back the lead at 8-under.
“After 16, I knew I was one shot back,” Vogelsong said. “With two holes left being one back is not that much. I figured I could pick up a birdie coming in and see what happens. "
Vogelsong was left with a putt for birdie on the 17th, but it burned the edge, and he went to 18th tee one shot back of Bedell. His second shot on the 18th left him in the left greenside bunker, hitting it to 4 feet. He rolled in the birdie putt, while Bedell finished with a par, to force a playoff.
Both players headed back to the 18th tee.
“I birdied the 18th in regulation, so I just tried to do the same thing,” Vogelsong said. “I took the same line off of the tee, hit the same shot into the green and was able to get up and down.”
Vogelsong was left with an almost identical third shot in the greenside bunker, hitting it to 6 feet. Bedell left his 12-foot birdie putt short, finishing with a par. Vogelsong rolled in the birdie putt to be crowned the 105th Amateur champion.
“There is so much great golf in Florida and to win here, at this event, is a dream come true,” Vogelsong said. “There is a lot of great players every year. It was a great experience this week.”
Bedell finished the weekend in second place, posting rounds of 73-68-66-73. John Daly took third place at 4-under 284. Run Youprayong finished fourth at 2-under 286.
ABOUT THE Florida State Amateur
Started in 1914, the Amateur Championship is
the oldest continuous sporting event in the
state of Florida. The field will include exempt
players and players who have qualified
18 holes of stroke play at one of the qualifying sites.
The Championship features a field of 168
players split alternately on two golf courses
the first two days. The field is reduced to the
low 70 and ties after the first two rounds to
play an additional 36 holes of stroke play.
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