USGA State Team Announced
Thursday, the Florida State Golf Association finalized selections for the players to represent Team Florida in the USGA State Team Championship, September 28-30 at the Country Club of Birmingham, in Birmingham, Alabama. The FSGA selects a three player team to represent Florida in this biennial competition. The team selections will include:
- One player with the highest point total from the Two Year Points List as of August 21
- The current Amateur Champion
- One player selected by the FSGA Championship Committee
Eligibility - Under NCAA guidelines, collegiate players may not compete in the State Team Championship or risk the loss of their NCAA eligibility, however, junior players are eligible.
The first player, an automatic selection, went to Joe Alfieri, II, of Lutz. Joe amassed 25,137 points over the two seasons. 2015 saw Joe capture the Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship, finish 2nd in the Amateur Public Links Championship, and tie for 7th in the Amateur. In the fall, Joe would advance to the Round of 32 in the US Mid-Amateur at John’s Island, then the Quarterfinals at the Florida Mid-Amateur hosted by Sara Bay. 2016 saw Joe continue his steady play, finishing 3rd at the Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship, falling just short in his attempt to defend, then winning the Public Links Championship he finished 2nd in the year before. In the summer, he would make the cut at both the Amateur & Open Championships, then advance to the Quarterfinals of the Amateur Match Play Championship. The USGA State Team Championship will be Joe’s third USGA Championship of 2016, as he qualified for the U.S. Four-Ball Championship in the spring with partner, Michael Barbosa, and is exempt into the U.S. Mid-Amateur, September 10-15 at Stonewall Links in Elverson, PA.
The current Amateur Champion, Jacob Huizinga, of Orlando, is enrolled and playing golf at the University of West Florida, therefore ineligible, turning the spot into a second Championship Committee selection. The two selections went to Marc Dull, of Winter Haven, and Jake Kevorkian, of Saint Petersburg.
Dull made a name for himself at the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur, running all the way to the final match before falling to the Champion Sammy Schmitz. As early as the spring of 2016, the USGA State Team was on Dull’s radar and he competed in as many FSGA events as possible to earn points. His steady play all season saw Dull post a top 10 finish at the Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship and make the cut at both the Amateur and Open Championships. In between, Dull competed in the U.S. Open Sectional posting an opening round 72 before weather suspensions stopped play for the day and he was unable to stay to complete his second round. In the U.S. Amateur, Dull would post an opening 66 to hang near the top of the stroke play leaderboard before missing match play by just one stroke after a second round 77. Like Alfieri, the State Team Championship will be Dull’s third USGA Championship of 2016, as he just competed in the U.S. Amateur and is exempt into next month’s U.S. Mid-Amateur by virtue of his runner-up finish in 2015.
Steady play and a plethora of red figures in big time events saw Kevorkian’s name keep popping up near the top of FSGA leaderboards the last two summers, earning him a spot on Team Florida for the USGA State Team. Although never earning a victory, the 21 year old has put himself in the mix a lot. In 2015, Kevorkian advanced through U.S. Open Local Qualifying into the U.S. Open Sectional. He would finish tied for 26th at the Amateur and tied for 9th at the Florida Open. In 2016, he would improve on all of those finishes. At the Amateur, he did not post a round over par in the four days, finishing tied for 18th. In the Florida Open, Kevorkian earned low amateur honors finishing tied for 3rd in the Championship. At the Amateur Match Play Championship, Kevorkian would advance to the quarterfinals before falling to eventual Champion, Chris Carlin, 1 up, Carlin’s smallest margin of victory in the event.
The USGA Men’s State Team Championship, as well as the Women’s State Team Championship, grew out of the Association’s Centennial celebration in 1995. It was believed that a new championship, one in which each state could be represented by non-college, amateur golfers was a good way to cap the USGA’s year-long birthday celebration. Each state was invited to send three players; 46 states and Puerto Rico responded and sent teams to compete at Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. in 1995, and 50 states and Puerto Rico sent teams to compete at SunRidge Canyon Golf Club in Fountain Hills, Ariz., in 1997. Since 2001, 52 teams — all fifty states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia — have participated. Team Florida’s best finish at the biennial competition is 2nd, accomplishing that three times.
Founded in 1898, the Country Club of Birmingham relocated from its original site in North Birmingham to Shades Valley, where two 18-hole courses were designed in 1926 by renowned architect Donald Ross. The 2016 USGA Men’s State Team Championship – the sixth USGA championship contested in Alabama – will use the West Course.