Florida Captures Second at USGA State Team
Florida finishes second for the third time in the 11th USGA Men’s State Team Championship held at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana, September 30th through October 2nd. Team Florida was led by three outstanding players; Jon Veneziano, 2013 Player of the Year, Sam Horsfield, 2013 Junior Player of the Year, and Gabriel Lench, 2014 Amateur Champion.
The competition consisted of 54 holes of stroke play, counting the lowest two out of three scores as the team total for each round, against all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Round one began on Tuesday, September 30th at the challenging Pete Dye course at the French Lick Resort. Iowa, who finished runner-up in the 10th Men’s State Team Championship, took the lead after round by posting an impressive three under-par 141. Sam Horsfield, of Davenport, started off the tournament hot with a two under-par 70, which when combined with Lench’s one over-par 73, placed Florida tied for second with Louisiana and Virginia at 143 (one under-par). Texas completed round one in third place with a 144 team total.
Round two, of the biennial championship, began with early tee times for Team Florida. Horsfield led the team again with an even par 72. Jon Veneziano, of Mount Dora, fired a two over-par 74 and Florida dropped from second to fifth place with a round two total of 146. Gabriel Lench finished one shot higher than Veneziano, but was prepared for a strong round three on Thursday. Texas came from behind shooting a fiery five under-par, 139, to move from third place and capture the lead.
Florida began the third and final round six strokes behind Texas at the top of the leader board. This did not discourage Veneziano who charged forward with a two under-par 70. Veneziano, who has experience playing in the Men’s State Team with this being his fourth time on Team Florida, lit up the field with two birdies and an eagle on the front nine. Lench, of Lake Mary, fired an even par 72 on top of Veneziano putting Florida in close competition with Texas. Florida put up a good final round fight and at one point was tied for the lead with Texas. Texas shot their highest tournament round of 145 on Thursday, but held on to be crowned 2014 Men’s State Team Champions.
It is important to mention and take notice to Team Puerto Rico, Florida's "International Team" competing in the Championship. FSGA players and friends, Erick J. Morales, Edward Figueroa, and Jeronimo Esteve, competed on Team Puerto Rico and finished tied for fifth with Louisiana.
Florida finished the championship one under-par for a second place finish the same position Florida earned at the 2012 USGA Men’s State Team Championship. In 2013, Team Florida, Meghan Stasi, Tara Joy-Connelly, and Ericka Schneider, captured second place in the USGA Women’s State Team Championship. The first USGA Men's State Team Championship was held in 1995 at Lake Nona, in Orlando, where Florida finished in second place for the first time. Florida is ready for redemption next year at the Women’s State Team and in two years at the Men’s State Team Championships.
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