New Year's Invite: Cooper Smith separates from the field
Cooper Smith (Roxene Riles/New Year's Invitational Photo)
Cooper Smith (Roxene Riles/New Year's Invitational Photo)

Cooper Smith shot 10-under through 27 holes in the second and half of the third round of the 2024 New Year's Invitational at St. Petersburg Country Club in Saint Petersburg, Fla.

The tournament played the second round and half of the third round due to anticipated weather coming to Saint Petersburg.

Smith is a redshirt junior at the University of South Florida after transferring from the University of North Florida.

Smith, who was tied for second place after the first round, shot a 5-under 67 in the second round to take the lead and then jumped out to a seven-shot lead after shooting 5-under through the first nine holes of the third round.

First-round leader Bradley Goldstein of Stetson University is in solo second place at 6-under. Goldstein has shot rounds of 68-70 and was even par through the first nine holes of the third round. 

Laurenz Kubin, Nicholas Hofman, and Evan Myers are T3 at 4-under.

Smith has had success at this event, finishing T2 last season behind CJ Easley. Smith also finished T2 at the 2023 Florida State Amateur and T14 at the 2023 Southeastern Amateur. 

Mid-Amateur Division

Michael Harrington holds a one-shot lead over Devin Hernandez at 3-under, while Hernandez is at 2-under. Harrington shot rounds of 71-72, and Hernandez shot rounds of 74-69. 

Jay Halverson is in solo third place is in solo third place at 2-over.

2023 Mid-Amateur Champion Troy Vannucci is in solo fourth place at 4-over, and Leighton Peavler and Austin Bagshaw are T5 at 8-over. 

Senior Championship Division

Mike Barkley extended his lead to four shots during Friday's 27 holes as he moves to 5-under. Barkley has shot rounds of 72-71, but really started to pull away from the field after starting his third round 4-under through nine holes.

Miles McConnell is four shots back of Barkley at 1-under. Michael Kelley and Rob Cowan are T3 at 7-over.

History of the New Year's Invitational

The New Year's Invitational, played at St. Petersburg Country Club in Florida, has been held every year since 1927. It is the oldest continuously-running invitational tournament in the Southeast and one of the oldest in the country. Originally, it was one of a number of tournaments held in the winter months at clubs around the area. The other events, in fact, several of the other clubs, are long departed.

The tournament was a match-play event from its inception until 1956. The first winner was Clearwater resident A.T. Cooper. The 1928 winner, Johnny Revolta, was a combination course ranger - locker room attendant at Lakewood Country Club at the time he won. Later, Revolta became a very successful professional, winning the PGA Championship in 1935 and establishing quite a reputation as a short-game instructor. In 1938, he celebrated his return to St. Petersburg and Lakewood with a win at the St. Pete Open, a regular stop on the fledgling PGA tour.

Bob Goalby was the first winner after the change to stroke play. He went on to a lengthy PGA career, including a 1968 Masters green jacket. Between 1972 and 1991, Buddy Alexander, son of our longtime pro Skip Alexander, won 6 titles, the most wins for any player since the World War II era.

During the past two decades, the championship has been dominated by collegiate players, including winner Ryuji Imada in 1996, Jeff Klauk in 2000 (with a tournament record 21- under par 267), J.B. Holmes in 2003, Brandt Snedeker in 2004, and Jeff Overton in 2005. This year's field shows considerable promise, with entrants from around the U.S. as well as Canada, Germany, Finland, the UK, Colombia, Japan, and China. 2008 winner Bryce Ledford will not be back as he is pursuing a professional career.

Please contact Head Golf Professional Anthony Swinford at for additional information about the event or about registration for the 99th New Years Invitational on a newly renovated golf course. 

Results: New Year's Invitational
1FLCooper SmithTampa, FL40069-67-65=201
2ILEvan MyersNorthbrook, IL30070-69-70=209
3AustriaLaurenz KubinAustria20072-71-67=210
T4FLDevin HernandezSt. Petersburg, FL20074-69-69=212
T4INNic HofmanLafayette, IN20069-72-71=212

View full results for New Year's Invitational

ABOUT THE New Year's Invitational

Historic invitational golf tournament that originated on the Lakewood golf course in 1927. This same amateur invitational tournament -- which attracts top Florida amateurs and a strong group of out-of- state players as well -- continues, unbroken, each year although the club name was later changed to St. Petersburg Country Club.

View Complete Tournament Information

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