Abbate Captures Amateur Championship
Abbate, 24, of Fort Lauderdale, went wire-to-wire winning the title with a tournament total of 11-under par 277. In the first round, Abbate shot a 6-under par 66 on the Links course and a 69 in the second round on the Lakes course to lead the field of 74 players advancing to the weekend rounds. Playing the final 36 holes of the Championship on the Lakes course at 7,386 yards, Abbate shot even par in the third round to take a 5-stroke lead going into the final day. After an hour and six minute weather delay, Abbate posted a 70 to secure a 4-stroke victory. Abbate, who played college golf at Southern Methodist University, now has a perfect Amateur Championship record since this was his first attempt at the title.
The 2002 Amateur Champion, Ty Harris, of Longwood, made a surge with a 3-under par 69 in the final round for second place honors. Harris recorded a 74 in the first round and then made his move firing the low round of the Championship on the Lakes course, 66, in the second round. After an even par in the third round, Harris was tied for second place with Michael Nealy going into the final day. Harris finished the tournament with a 4-round total of 281 while Nealy, of Boca Raton, fell to third place with a final round score of 75. Nealy’s first three rounds of 70-67-75 put him at 1-under par 287 for the Championship. Kyle Henderson, of Clermont, a Florida Junior Tour member, secured fourth place with steady rounds of 69-72-74-75—290. Brad Doster, of Winter Park, and Patrick Olive, of Holiday, shared fifth place shooting a tournament total of 292. Abbate receives a crystal vase and his name inscribed on the Clarence Camp Championship Trophy. The top ten plus ties receive an exemption into next year’s Florida State Amateur Championship at Pine Tree Golf Club in Boynton Beach.
Before reaching the Championship, more than 780 participants attempted to qualify at one of 13 sites across the state. In the Championship, participants play 18 holes each at the Lakes and Links courses on June 23-24. After 36 holes, 74 players at a two-round total of 151 or better advanced to the final 36 holes of the Championship on the Lakes course on June 25-26.
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Bear Lakes features two championship golf courses, the Lakes and Links. Bear Lakes hosted the Amateur in 1990 as well as the final stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying School in 2001.