Spotted: Gator Lurking at Black Diamond
After the opening 36 holes of competition at the 71st Florida Open, it is J.C. Deacon who will be the overnight leader heading into the final round. On another hot and humid morning at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, the fog dissipated early, leaving a bright orange and blue sky to illuminate the challenging holes of the Quarry Course. With the players switching courses and playing the opposite course as they did yesterday, the 156 competitors were ready to hit fairways and make putts to stay within the top sixty and ties and make the cut.
First round leader, Gyles Robin, played the Quarry Course this morning after shooting a seven-under par round of 65 yesterday at the Ranch Course. Starting off steady, Gyles finished his opening nine holes with eight pars and a bogey on the 500 yard, par-four third hole. Robin met his match when he made it to the Quarry Holes. Having already made a double-bogey on the 11th hole, Robin got through the Quarry holes at two-over par. Carding no birdies after his magnificent first round, Gyles Robin would finish his second round with a five-over par, 77. After the first 36 holes, Robin sits at two-under par for the championship and in a tie for 11th place.
Making the move to the top spot was University of Florida Head Coach, J.C. Deacon. After an outstanding five-under par, 71, on the Quarry Course during the first round, Deacon went to play the Ranch Course with hopes of finding more birdies. A stellar opening tee shot began the hunt for the top spot on the leaderboard. Opening with two pars, Deacon would go on to post his birdie of the day on the third hole. A pair of bogeys on the fifth and seventh holes had potential to hurt Deacon's round, however, with birdies on six, eight, and nine, Deacon would salvage a two-under par score of 34 after his first nine holes.
After making the turn with the regained lead, Deacon made his third birdie in a row on the 10th hole and put his game in cruise control. With the addition of back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes, Deacon would propel himself to five-under par for the day and eleven-under par for the championship. Unfortunately, with two bogeys on his final two holes, Deacon would fall back to nine-under par for the championship and card a three-under par, 69 for the second round. While those two bogeys would drop him to 11-under par, that would be good enough for the top spot on the leaderboard heading into the final round.
Sitting alone in second place is Matt Borchert, of Winter Garden after shooting his second consecutive 68 this morning. Borchert is one shot back of Deacon after finishing the first 36 holes at eight-under par. Also alone in third place is Liam Ainsworth, of Dade City. Playing the Ranch Course this morning, Ainsworth took advantage by shooting a six-under par, 66 to move himself to seven-under par for the championship, and good enough to round out the final pairing tomorrow morning on the Quarry Course.
The low-amateur of the field is Liberty University golfer, Gabriel Lench. The 2014 Amateur Champion lit up the Ranch Course this morning by shooting a five-under par, 67 to move himself to fourth place overall and gain the top amateur spot. Closely behind, however, is Mid-Amateur Champion, Chip Brooke, who sits in fifth place overall and just one shot back of Gabriel Lench.
The Florida Open is a 54-hole, stroke play championship open to professional and amateur golfers who meet eligibility requirements. Those exempt as well those who qualify through their local qualifiers were invited to play in this year's championship at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto. After the opening 36 holes, the 156-player field was cut to low 60 and ties. The final round of the championship will be played on the Quarry Course with the champion bringing home $15,000.
The final round of the Florida Open will begin tomorrow morning with tee times beginning at 7:30 A.M. off the first and tenth tees. Live scoring will be available after each nine holes, however the top 21 players will have hole-by-hole live scoring available. Spectators and media are welcome to attend the final round of the 71st Florida Open.