Five Things to Know: Florida Open
TAMPA, Fla. – This week, the Florida Open will take center stage at Hammock Dunes Club. The state’s top amateurs and professionals will make their way to Palm Coast to vie for the 73rd Florida Open Championship title.
In total, 156 players will compete in 54 holes of stroke play, with a cut to low 60 and ties after 36 holes. Players will play 18 holes each on the Creek Course and the Links Course, with the final 18 holes being played on the Creek Course. Professionals will be competing for a $100,000 purse.
Here are five things to know before the championship begins.
DEFENDING THE CROWN
Headlining this year’s field is Gabe Lench, the 2018 Florida Open Champion and reigning Amateur Player of the Year. Lench recently wrapped up a successful collegiate career at Liberty University, where he was named to the PING All-American Honorable-Mention team.
The Sanford native won the 2018 Florida Open Championship, weeks after securing his second Florida Amateur Championship victory. He was the first player since 2012 to win both the Amateur and Florida Open in the same year. Lench will be competing as a professional this year.
PAST CHAMPIONS BACK FOR ANOTHER TITLE
Five other FSGA Amateur champions will be joining Lench: Ben Reichert (2019), Cristian DiMarco (2017), Jacob Huizinga (2016), Sean Dale (2010) and Jeff Dennis (2006). Four of the five now professional as well; Huzinga and Dale are competing on PGA Tour Canada, while DiMarco is playing on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Jeff Dennis is the assistant men’s golf coach at University of North Florida.
Two-time Florida Open Champion, Caleb Johnson, will also be in the field. Johnson captured his first Florida Open win in 2014, followed by another title in 2016.
Rod Perry, the Head Golf Professional at Crane Lake Golf & Country Club, claimed a Florida Open victory in 2011 and has been a staple on the leaderboard every year since, accumulating five top-10 finishes. Perry recently competed in his sixth PGA Championship this past May at Bethpage Black and was also in the field at the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational.
GATORS LOOK TO CHOMP THE COMPETITION
The 2017 champion and head men’s golf coach at the University of Florida, JC Deacon will look to capture another Florida Open title. Deacon recently played in his first PGA Tour event at the Canadian Open in his home country, narrowly missing the cut.
Deacon will not be the only one with Gator’s ties in the field. The 2001 US Amateur Champion, and Florida alum, Bubba Dickerson, of Fernandina Beach, will make his Florida Open debut. Former Gator standout, Ryan Orr, of Belleair, now competing as a professional, and current team member, Blake Dyer, of Saint Petersburg, will also be in this year’s field.
SENIOR OPEN CHAMP EYES SECOND OPEN TITLE
David Morland will have his eye on his second title this season, as he won the Florida Senior Open earlier this year. Moreland, who lives in Palm Coast, moved six spots up the leaderboard in the final round of the Senior Open to secure his first title.
HAMMOCK DUNES PLAYS HOST
Although the Florida Open is heading to Hammock Dunes for the first time, the Palm Coast club is no stranger to Florida State Golf Association championships. The Creek Course at Hammock Dunes hosted the 2013 Four-Ball Championship and the 2018 Florida Cup, and the 2020 Florida Women’s Amateur will head to Hammock Dunes. The Links Course is a Tom Fazio design, while the Creek Course is designed by Rees Jones.
Round 1 Pairings
Follow the FSGA:
The championship will begin on Friday with tee times beginning at 7:30 a.m. A complete recap with full results will be posted on FSGA.org following the day's play.
Facebook: Florida State Golf Association