April 12, 2006

Cleland, Smith Take Lead in Senior Amateur

Ron Cleland and Chuck Smith on top of their leaderboards headed into the final day.

After 36 holes, Ron Cleland has a four-stroke lead going into the final round of the 39th Senior Amateur Championship at Victoria Hills Golf Club in DeLand. Chuck Smith is up by one stroke in the Super Senior division as the final round will be played tomorrow, Thursday, April 13. 

Starting the second round two strokes off the lead, Ron Cleland fired a 2-under par 70 to jump into first place of the Senior Championship. Cleland, of Naples, birdied four holes on the front nine for a 32 en route to his second round score of 70. Combined with his first round score of 73, Cleland posted a two-round total of 143 to lead the field. Two competitors trail Cleland by four strokes including the 2004 Champion Bruce Scamehorn. Scamehorn, of Winter Haven, posted consistent scores of 74-73 while Edward Fletcher, from The Villages, blasted a 70 in the second round to share second place. First round co-leader Tim Miller, of Venice, shot a 77 to tie with two other players at 148. Dennis English, of Venice, first round co-leader, is the sole competitor with a 149 two-round total.  

1995 Champion Chuck Smith, from Naples, is in front of the Super Senior division by one stroke. Smith shot a first round 74, followed by a 75 for a 149 two-round total. First round leader, Chip Landon, of Orlando, sits one stroke off the lead posting a 78 in the second round. JE Rowe, of Saint Augustine, and Roger Evenson, of Estero, also finished the two rounds with a 150 total sharing second place.   

Since the number of entries received has always surpassed the capacity of the Championship, a qualifying stage was instituted last year. While 73 players earned exempt status through a variety of different means, over 260 competitors attempted to qualify to complete the 156 player field. Qualifying took place at six sites across the state as competitors played 18 holes of stroke play hoping to advance to the Championship. Competitors play 54 holes of stroke play over the course of the three-day Championship. Participants must be 55 or older to participate in the Championship and enter one of the age divisions, 55-64 and 65 & over.  

Victoria Hills Golf Club, in DeLand, is just 35 miles north of Orlando. Designed by Ron Garl, Victoria Hills is home to the Stetson University golf team and has hosted many FSGA and USGA events. The course was ranked in Golfweek’s “America’s Top 40 Best New Courses.” 

Please see www.fsga.org for a complete list of pairings, tee-times and results.  

Organized in 1913, the Florida State Golf Association is a not-for-profit organization that governs amateur golf in the state of Florida. In addition to conducting 22 championships for amateur golfers in the state, the FSGA is responsible for more than 40 qualifying tournaments for USGA National Championships. The FSGA also maintains the USGA Handicap System, performs course ratings throughout Florida and assists in junior programs and scholarships.

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