Lench Takes Lead at the 97th Amateur
Gabriel Lench posted a two round total of nine-under par 135 to take a two stroke lead heading into the weekend of the 97th Florida State Amateur Championship at Quail Valley Golf Club and Hawks Nest Golf Club in Vero Beach. The Championship continues with 75 competitors advancing to play the final 36-holes at Quail Valley Golf Club on June 21-22.
Gabriel Lench, of Lake Mary, propelled himself into first place after another stellar round on Friday. Playing Hawks Nest Golf Club in the first round, Lench carded a six-under par 66 to trail the first round leader, Michael DeMorat, of Merritt Island, by three strokes. Lench continued his solid play at Quail Valley Golf Club in the second round, firing a three-under par round of 69, which included five birdies and only two bogeys. Lench is eating up the par 5’s through two rounds, playing them in an astounding eight-under par. Lench will be looking to capture his second State Championship after he prevailed at the 2013 Junior Match Play Championship last season.
Edward Figueroa, of Naples, and R J Nakashian, of Palm Beach Gardens, are tied in second place with a 36-hole total of seven-under par 137. Figueroa posted rounds of 66 at Quail Valley and a 71 at Hawks Nest to sit only two strokes behind Lench. Nakashian, 47, used a bogey free round of 67 at Quail Valley Golf Club to move up the leader-board. It has been over 10 years since a player over the age of 25 has won the State Amateur Championship, something Nakashian is looking to accomplish over the weekend. Two other notable Mid-Amateurs are currently tied for 12th place, Joe Alfieri, of Lutz and Don Bell, of Port Orange, after their 36-hole total of one-under par 143. Both courses averaged over par for the best amateurs in the state the first two days, with Quail Valley Golf Club playing to a 77.123 stroke average and Hawks Nest Golf Club playing to a 76.543.
Started in 1914, the Florida Amateur Championship is the oldest continuous sporting event in the state as well as the largest amateur event in Florida. Past Amateur champions include Bob Murphy, Jerry Pate, and PGA Tour players David Peoples, Chris Couch, and Barry Cheesman.