Gabriel Lench Wins 97th Amateur
Gabriel Lench erases a three shot deficit to win the 97th Florida State Amateur Championship, firing a tournament total of 6-under par 282 at Quail Valley Golf Club and Hawks Nest Golf Club in Vero Beach, on June 19-22.
Gabriel Lench, 17, of Lake Mary, prevailed over the field of 168 players to capture the 97th Florida State Amateur Championship. In the first round, Lench opened up with a stellar round of 6-under par 66 at Hawks Nest Golf Club. His round included an eagle, six birdies and only two bogeys. Playing his second round at Quail Valley Golf Club, Lench would grab the lead after his 3-under par round of 69, taking a two shot lead into the weekend. Lench struggled on Saturday, but managed a round of three-over par 75. With a 54-hole total of 6-under par 210, Lench would trail the leader, Edward Figueroa, of Naples, by three strokes heading into Sunday.
In the final round Lench played a solid front nine turning at even par 36, after one bogey on the difficult fourth hole, and one birdie on the par 5 seventh hole. With a one shot lead heading into the back nine, Lench would expand his lead to four shots after birdies on 10 and 11. With the Championship in his sights Lench would play the next six holes at one-over par to stand on the 72 hole with a comfortable three shot lead. After two great shots on the last hole of the Championship, Lench would three putt for his bogey 5 to post a round of even par 72, and capture the 97th Amateur Championship. The major key to Lench’s second State Championship title was his dominance of the par 5’s, playing them at 10-under par. Lench, a multiple time winner on the Florida Junior Tour and reigning Junior Match Play Champion, receives a crystal vase and his name inscribed on the Clarence Camp Championship Trophy.
The reigning Boys’ Junior Champion, Jacob Kline, of Saint Augustine, finished alone in second place after rounds of 74-68-71-71, for a tournament total of four-under par 284. Edward Figueroa, of Naples, R J Nakashian, of Palm Beach Gardens, and J D Tomlinson, of Gainesville, finished tied for third place with a tournament total of two-under par 286. Figueroa, the overnight leader, never got anything going on Sunday posting a round of seven-over par 79. The top fifteen plus ties receive an exemption into next year’s Florida State Amateur Championship.
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, and PGA Tour players David Peoples, Chris Couch, and Barry Cheesman.