Jay Halverson (FSGA photo)
Jay Halverson road to his first FSGA Mid-Amateur Championship culminated with a dramatic victory over Jonah Wasserstrom when the Saint Petersburg native holed a chip from behind the green for birdie on the 18th hole to claim victory at Royal Poinciana Golf Club.
Here's a round-by-round recap of the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, courtesy of the Florida State Golf Association.
Stroke Play Seeding Rounds
The 42nd Mid-Amateur Championship got underway on Wednesday. Will Davenport took the first-round lead with a 4-under 66. In total, 84 players teed it up at Royal Poinciana Golf Club with hopes of advancing to match play.
Davenport got off to a strong start, carding a bogey-free front side with three-straight birdies on Nos. 6-8. He kept it rolling on the back side, playing the first five holes at 3 under. The Palm City native finished the day at 4-under 66 to hold a one-shot lead over the field. Three players sit in a tie for second at 3 under: Nathan Bertsch, Jay Halverson and Tyler Manning.
Stroke play concluded at the 42nd Mid-Amateur Championship at Royal Poinciana Golf Club. 84 players began the Championship and were cut down to the top 32 players for match play. Justin Grant took home medalist honors through the two rounds of stroke play. Meanwhile, 31 players finished at 6-over 146 or better to earn a spot in match play while nine players who finished at 7-over went to a playoff for the final spot.
In the playoff, the 15th hole at Royal Poinciana proved to be a tough hole for the contenders. Of the nine players, six made bogey on the first playoff hole and were eliminated from the Championship. On the third playoff hole Mark Spencer became the 32nd and final player to earn a spot in Match Play.
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Round of 32
Early Friday afternoon saw some competitors take care of business, and quickly. Rhett Pooley, Austin Powell, Alex Slaton, Brad Knight, Joseph Latowski, and Jonah Wasserstrom all won before seeing their 16th hole of the match.
Medalist Justin Grant had trouble with the 32-seeded Mark Spencer as Spencer had a 1 up lead with two holes to play. Grant was able to win the 18th hole to force extra holes against Spencer who would be playing his 40th hole of the day and counting. The 2022 Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Champion kept the momentum going and won the first extra hole.
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Round of 16
On Saturday morning, four of the eight matches were over quite quickly. Jonah Wasserstrom continued his dominance over top-seeded Justin Grant in a 4 & 3 victory. Forty & Over Champion Abbie Valentine won 6 & 5, defending Champion Joey Latowski was victorious 5 & 4, and low amateur at last year’s Florida Open, Nathan Bertsch, won 6 & 4.
Austin Powell won the first hole of his match against Rhett Pooley and never looked back in a 3 & 2 victory. Tied after 15, Christopher Anderson won the 16th and 18th holes to beat Richard Donegan 2-up. Despite a fight back by Brian Armstrong, Reid Bedell would win 2 & 1 to advance to the Quarterfinals.
The closest match of the day was between Jay Halverson and Alex Slaton. Halverson early in the match won four straight holes to go 4 up through 8. Slaton would not be fazed and go on a row of his own on the 12th through 17th hole. Erasing a 4-up lead, Slaton won five of six holes to stand on the 18th tee 1-up. A birdie by Halverson forced the duo into extra holes. On the third playoff hole, Halverson would take down Slaton to earn a spot in the quarterfinals.
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Joey Latowski found himself 3 down to Christopher Anderson in their quarterfinal match through 13 holes after losing 4 straight holes to start the back nine. To make matters more difficult for the defending Champion, Anderson rolls in a 60-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th. Unfazed, Latowski would make his birdie putt to halve the hole. This would start a run for Latowski as he won three of the last four holes to force extra holes. On the third extra hole, Latowski would outlast Anderson to claim a spot in the semifinals.
Abbie Valentine and Jonah Wasserstrom would be in a back-and-forth battle Saturday afternoon. Through seven holes, Valentine won four of them and Wasserstrom three holes to give Valentine a 1 up lead. Then the match went into neutral as the 8th through 13th holes would all be halved. Wasserstrom would take control of the match on the 14th hole by winning there and the 15th hole to take a 1-up lead. A birdie on the 18th was enough for a 2 up victory.
Jay Halverson won three of the first four holes in his match against Austin Powell and never looked back to a 3 & 2 victory. Standing on the 13th hole, Reid Bedell was 1 down to Nathan Bertsch. A birdie-par-birdie run by Bedell would flip the match to 2-up for him and after a concession on the 17th hole by Bertsch, Bedell would find himself in the semifinals of his first Mid-Amateur Championship.
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The morning saw Wasserstrom defeat the defending champion, Joey Latowski, 4 and 3. Wasserstrom took the lead on the fourth hole and never let it go, extending his lead to 4 up on the 11th hole. Latowski tried to stage a comeback winning the 12th and 13th, but Wasserstrom won the next two holes to close out the match and advance.
Halverson got off to a strong start in his morning match, winning three of his first five holes against Reid Bedell. He took a 3-up lead onto the back nine, before winning the 16th hole to move on to the Finals with a 4-and-2 victory.
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The final match featuring Jonah Wasserstrom and Jay Halverson would get off to a slow start but things would heat up as both players would have looks at birdie on the 7th hole. Wasserstrom from 20 feet would see his putt slide by and Halverson would make his birdie putt to go one up. On the next hole, Wasserstrom out of position short-sided in the front bunker would hit a great shot close enough to force a concession that would halve the hole when Halverson missed his 12-footer for birdie.
On the ninth hole roles would be reversed as Halverson would be in trouble after missing the green on the wrong side while Wasserstrom found the green. A great chip from Halverson would give him an opportunity to salvage a half and go into the back nine with the lead. However, an untimely missed putt after doing the hard work with the chip meant the two would make the turn to the back nine all square.
Wasserstrom’s iron to within six feet on the 11th set up a birdie to take the lead but Halverson would quickly answer. Halverson would nearly hole his approach on the 13th and would be quickly conceded by Wasserstrom. With 12 feet to halve the hole, Jonah would not find the bottom of the hole and the match would go back to all square.
The rollercoaster final match saw no slowing down at this point. As the pair traded winning holes with pars, they would step up to the 16th tee all square in the Championship match. Both players would hit the green and two-putt for par. On 17, Halverson would miss the green long right while Wasserstrom had 20 feet for birdie. Halverson’s chip would trickle past the hole but inside the length required for a concession. Wasserstrom gave his putt a good effort but would miss and the two would go to the 18th all square.
Halverson missed long of the green to set up a chip shot with the green running away from him, not the shot you wanted on the final hole of the Championship. Meanwhile, Wasserstrom hits his iron to 25 feet and sets up a look at birdie, with par all but solidified. With members of Royal Poinciana Golf Club surrounding the 18th green, Halverson lofted his chip shot onto the green. The ball began to race towards the hole, struck the center of the flagstick, and dropped for a birdie. Wasserstrom would miss his 25-foot birdie putt and Jay Halverson became the 42nd Mid-Amateur Championship.View results for Florida Mid-Amateur