Race to Southeastern Challenge Match
With just over two months left before the Florida team is selected, players are getting in their final tournaments in hopes of making the prestigious Southeastern Challenge team. Established in 1989, this Ryder Cup style event is a tri-state, biennial competition between teams from Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. The initial intention for this event was to promote goodwill and competition between the best amateur players, playing as a team from the Southeastern states, and even today that intention remains true.
With the site location rotating between the three states, Florida is fortunate enough to host this year's event after seven years. Playing one of the finest courses in Florida, this year's Southeastern Challenge participants will have the opportunity to play The Bear's Club in Jupiter. Host of the 100th Amateur Championship, The Bear's Club was founded in 1999 by Jack and Barbara Nicklaus and provides guests a world-class experience.
The year's Southeastern Challenge begins October 21st with four-ball matches in the morning and foursome three-ball matches in the afternoon. The final day of competition, October 22nd, will be a three-ball match in the morning to determine the champions. In total, 36 players, twelve from each state, will be selected based off of their state's criteria. Six of the twelve members of the FSGA team are chosen from a Two Year Points List as of September 11, 2017 while the other six are chosen by the FSGA Championship Committee. Of the six chosen from the Two Year Points List, one will be a senior player with the highest point totals from the Senior Two Year Points List and five will be mid-amateur players with the highest point totals from the Two Year Points List.
As of July 6th, the leader of the Senior Two Year Points List is Peter Wegmann of Fort Lauderdale. Wegmann is no stranger to victory after winning both the Senior Amateur Championship and the Senior Amateur Match Play Championship in 2016. Qualifying for three U.S. Senior Amateur Championships, Peter has made it to the Round of 16 twice and finished as a quarterfinalist in 2014. Leading the Senior Two-Year Points List with 16,707 points, Wegmann has a 7,000 point lead over the next individual on the Two Year Points List, Owen Joyner. Playing in the Florida Open next week, Wegmann has the opportunity to increase his lead with a strong finish. However, Wegmann will opt out of playing the Florida Senior Open Championship as he is playing in the British Senior Championship in England.
The leader in the Two Year Points List is Marc Dull of Winter Haven. Dull earned an impressive runner-up finish at the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship after losing 3 and 2 in the final match. Proving his game is ready for the Southeastern Challenge Match, Dull has sported a convincing 2017 season. Beginning his year with a second place finish at the Senior/Mid-Amateur Four-Ball Championship, Dull went on to be a quarterfinalist at the Mid-Amateur Championship then a semi-finalist at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. Playing The Bear's Club earlier this summer for the 100th Amateur Championship, Dull finished with an eight-over par total of 296 to finish in a tie for eighteenth. Dull holes a slight lead over Chip Brooke for the top spot in the Two Year's Point List.
Chip Brooke put on a show a the 2016 Mid-Amateur Championship when he defeated Chris Fabozzi 8 and 7 in the final match to hoist the trophy. In 2017, Brooke has been a semi-finalist in both the Mid-Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship where he teed it up with Two Year Points List leader, Marc Dull.
Joe Alfieri, currently sitting in the third spot on the Two Year Points List, has one of the best resumes in the Southeastern Challenge. Earning FSGA's Amateur Player of the Year award four times, Alfieri has won the 2016 Public Links Championship, the Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2013 & 2015, the Florida Open in 2003, the Amateur Match Play in 2001, and the Mid-Amateur Championship in 1999. Alfieri would bring experience to the team as he has played in the 2015 Southeastern Challenge and held a 3-2-0 record to help Florida win for the third time in a row.
Christopher Carlin, head coach at Nova Southeastern University, has had an impressive 2016-2017 season as well. Winning the 2016 Four-Ball Championship, Carlin went on to win his second FSGA event of the season, the Amateur Match Play Championship. In 2017, Christopher won the Mid-Amateur Four-Ball Championship (South) after shooting a 130 total with his partner, Christopher O'Connor. Playing in the Florida Open next week as well as the Four-Ball Championship and Amateur Match Play Championship next month, Christopher will have the opportunity to propel up the points list with strong finishes.
Sitting in fifth on the Two Year Points List is Robert Bechtol. Bechtol is the reigning Mid-Amateur Champion after defeating Tyler Shook 2 up. Hoping to move up the points list, Bechtol will be playing plenty of FSGA events before the selection date including the Florida Open Championship next week, the Four-Ball Championship at Trump National Doral, and the Amateur Match Play Championship in August.
With just a few FSGA events left before the Southeastern Challenge Match team is picked, there is still time for players to jump up the Two Year Points List, make the team, and help Florida win its fourth consecutive Southeastern Challenge Match.
Current Two Year Points Lists (College Players that are ineligible and players who turned professional excluded)
Points earned in 2016 are at 100% value, while 2017 points are are 150% value.