June 23, 2005

Abbate Leads State Amateur Championship

Ryan Abbate fires a 6-under round of 66 to take an early lead at the Florida State Amateur Championship.

Abbate, of Fort Lauderdale, posted the 66 on the Links course to lead the field of 168 players competing in the Amateur Championship. Starting on the10th hole, Abbate made birdies on holes 14, 15 and 18 for a 33 on the back nine. Abbate then came right out and birdied holes 1 and 2 and then 7 for a 33 on the front nine. Abbate, who qualified for the Championship at TPC of Eagle Trace, is playing in his first Amateur Championship. Christopher Anderson, of Lake Mary, Frank Babusik, of Pompano Beach, and Rick Woulfe, from Fort Lauderdale,each carded a 68 on the Links course to trail Abbate by two strokes. Woulfe, the 2004 Player-of-the-Year, took seventh place in last year’s State Amateur. Kelly Gosse, of Inverness, recorded the low round of the day on the Lakes course with a 3-under par 69. Kyle Henderson, from Clermont, and RJ Nakashian, of Palm Beach Gardens, are tied for fifth place with Gosse after shooting a 69 on the Links course. Gosse and Nakashian both finished in the top ten in last year’s Amateur Championship. Forty players in the field finished at even par or better. The Links course score average was 74.56 while the Lakes course played to an average of 77.95.     

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, the field will be cut to the low 70 and ties. The final 36 holes of the Championship will be played 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. Started in 1914, the FSGA State Amateur 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, Buddy Alexander, and PGA Tour players David Peoples, Chris Couch, and Barry Cheesman.

Spectators and media are welcome to watch the state’s best amateur golfers compete at Bear Lakes Country Club.


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