Batchelor & Mattiace Capture Four-Ball
Over 170 teams entered qualifying across the state in June, with 52 teams advanced to the Championship, either from previous Four-Ball finishes, qualifying for the USGA Men's Amateur Four-Ball Championship, or advancing through local qualifying. The Conservatory Course at Hammock Beach Resort, hosted the 69th Four-Ball Championship, Saturday- Sunday, July 28-29. The golf course played over 7,300 yards in each round, using a variety of tee pads, yet proved no match for some teams this weekend.
The Mid-Amateur Four-Ball (North) Championship winners, Spencer Baldwin & Devin Hernandez led the pack on day one, firing an opening 65 (-7). However, they went to bed Saturday night knowing they would have plenty of chasers. Six other teams, including defending champions Kelly Sellers & Tiger Godwin sat just one stroke behind with 66 (-6), and 27 of the 52 teams in the field fired 70 or better, leaving over half the field within five strokes of the leaders.
There was a lot of movement early on the leaderboard. As the competitors made their way around the front nine, US Four-Ball runner-up team, Chip Brooke & Marc Dull, went out in -4, which combined with their opening 69, saw they briefly tied at the top at -7. The Brooke / Dull team however, could not muster anymore birdies on the homeward nine, and fell back down the leaderboard, as red numbers were plentiful. The father & son team of Joe & Cade Alfieri were runner-ups in 2017, and made a charge early on the front nine on Sunday, led by a hole out eagle by Cade on the 476 yard, par 4, 5th, but were never able to take advantage of momentum and get into contention. The Mid-Senior Four-Ball (North) Champions, Brian Armstrong & Mike Finster opened with 67, to sit two strokes behind overnight, and would team up to make six birdies in their first twelve holes on Sunday, getting to -11 and sharing part of the lead. They would go on to birdie two of their last four holes after costly bogey on the challenging par 4, 14th, but their -12 two round total would only be enough for third place.
By the middle of the back nine on Sunday, two teams had set themselves apart from the field. Playing together two groups ahead of the leaders after opening 66's, the team of Jordan Batchelor / Michael Mattiace and Chase Ibbotson / Gabriel Lench had separated from the rest. Both teams went out in 31 (-5) to get to -11 for the championship. Batchelor would birdie the 11th moving his team ahead, then the duo would answer each punch on the way in, as both sides would birdie 14, 15 & 16. On the 18th hole, Florida Open & State Amateur Champion Gabriel Lench, faced a 10-foot birdie putt to try to force a play-off with his fellow competitors, but would miss, giving Batchelor and Mattiace the 69th Four-Ball Championship.
Batchelor & Mattiace are both past Florida Junior Tour players, Batchelor capturing the 2012 FJT Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass, and both are currently on the Men's Golf Team at University of North Florida.
The 70th Four-Ball Championship will be contested at Pine Tree Golf Club, in Boynton Beach, July 27-28, 2019.