July 08, 2018

Deacon Set to Defend at Open

University of Florida Golf Coach, JC Deacon has put himself in position to win the last three Florida Opens, and looks to continue his success this week at Innisbrook.

Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead & Island Courses are set to host 156 of the top golfers in Florida, July 13-15, for the 72nd playing of the Florida Open. This is the second time Innisbrook will host the Florida Open after previously hosting in 2011. The Copperhead Course annually hosts the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship each March. In 2018, Paul Casey fired a final round 65, to hold off a charging Tiger Woods and Master's Champion, Patrick Reed to win by one stroke. Copperhead's finishing stretch, "The Snake Pit" has proven to be one of the more challenging finishes on tour, and should provide some drama down the stretch during the Florida Open.

Two years ago, competing in his second Florida Open, Deacon had himself in position to win the Florida Open after two rounds, just four strokes behind when he called a rules official to confirm a penalty on the course. After discussion, it became known to Deacon that he had failed to apply a penalty stroke on his score card and alerted tournament officials immediately, disqualifying himself from the event, giving no opportunity for a Sunday charge. That was in the back of his head as he arrived at Black Diamond last July, and he did not let it phase him. After an opening 66 on the Ranch Course left him just one stroke behind, Deacon fired 69-68 on the weekend on the Ranch Course to hold off Matt Borchert by one stroke. 

“I am so excited for the 2018 Florida Open. Innsbrook is obviously an incredible test. Hats off to the FSGA for securing a world-class venue. After watching Tiger Woods come down the stretch on Copperhead this past March, I think it makes the event extra special for everyone.” stated Deacon when asked about the opportunity to defend his title this week at Innisbrook.

Professionals to Watch

Deacon's two fellow competitors and golf professionals from the final pairing at last years Florida Open, Matt Borchert, of Isleworth Golf Club, and Liam Ainsworth, of Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club, will both be at Innisbrook, after falling just short last year. Two-time Florida Open Champion, Caleb Johnson, is back looking to add a third title. 2017 Florida Amateur Champion, Cristian DiMarco turned professional in June after finishing his collegiate career at University of South Florida. In his first professional start, DiMarco missed heading to the U.S. Open Championship in a play-off. Mickey DeMorat, of Merritt Island, contended in the 2014 & 2015 Amateur Championships and now as a professional, Demorat posted a T56 finish at last month's U.S. Open Championship, and will look to ride that success back in his home state.

Amateurs to Watch

Gabriel Lench, of Lake Mary, failed to qualify for the Florida Open in early June, however the 2014 Florida Amateur Champion would become exempt after capturing this year's Amateur Championship, June 22-25 at The Concession Golf Club. 2017 FSGA Amateur Player of the Year, Marc Dull, of Winter Haven, has continued success in 2018, winning the Mid-Amateur Championship, finishing 2nd in a play-off at the Amateur Championship, as well as posting a runner-up finish with Chip Brooke, of Heathrow Country Club, in the USGA Four-Ball Championship in May at Jupiter Hills. Brooke, the 2016 Florida Mid-Amateur Champion, shared low amateur honors at the 2017 Florida Open, with Chris Carlin, of Plantation. Both are back in the field, looking to continue last year's success. Joe Alfieri, of TPC Tampa Bay, is a perennial contender, and posted a top 5 finish in the Amateur Championship last month. 

Field Facts:

  • 101 Professionals, 55 Amateurs
  • Average Age - 31.3 years old
  • Most Experienced Competitor - Jerry Tucker - 69 years old
  • Youngest Competitors - Stewart Slayden, Leopoldo Herrera & James Tureskis - 16 years old
  • 5 Past Florida Open Champions
    • 2017 - JC Deacon
    • 2014 & 2016 Caleb Johnson
    • 2015 - John Jonas
    • 2011 - Rod Perry
    • 2003 - Joe Alfieri
  • 5 Past FSGA Amateur Champions
    • 2014 & 2018 - Gabriel Lench
    • 2017 - Cristian DiMarco
    • 2016 - Jacob Huizinga
    • 2006  - Jeff Dennis
    • 1986 - Barry Cheeseman

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