Johnson Wins Match Play Championship
In the finals, David Johnson, of Palm Bay, secured the title on the 17th hole beating Carlos Velez, from Miami, 2 and 1. After nine holes, Johnson and Velez were all square heading to the back nine. On the 10th hole, Johnson, a senior golfer at the University of Central Florida, jumped in front making birdie to go 1 up. Velez brought the match back to all square with a birdie on 11. On the par 3 12th hole, Johnson took the lead again making par. Johnson then birdied the 14th hole to go 2 up and increased his lead to 3 draining a 12 foot birdie putt on 15. On 16, Velez made a birdie putt from off the green to extend the match. On the 17th hole, Johnson closed out the match sinking a 25 foot birdie putt to win 2 and 1. “It feels great to win,” said Johnson. With a 3rd place finish at the State Amateur and a semifinal finish in the US Amateur Public Links, Johnson said, “I’ve been waiting for this win.”
En route to the finals, Johnson and Velez each won five matches to meet Sunday afternoon. “I played well all week,” said Johnson. “My ball striking was really good and my putter caught up in the end.” Johnson, who earned the 7th seed after posting a 67 in the seeding round, defeated the 2005 Match Play Champion Kelly Gosse, from Inverness, 4 and 3 in the first round. Johnson continued on winning his Round of 32 match 3 and 2 to face two-time Public Links Champion Kevin Aylwin, from New Smyrna Beach, in the Round of 16. Johnson defeated Aylwin 3 and 2 for his spot in the quarters. Playing Chris Piumelli, from Vero Beach, Johnson won 1 up to advance to the semifinals. On Sunday morning, Johnson faced 3rd seed Thomas Murray, from Orange Park, the highest seed remaining in the field, and beat Murray 4 and 3 to face Velez in the final match. Johnson was under par in all of his matches. “The course was in perfect condition,” said Johnson. “The whole week was a lot of fun.”
Since the number of entries received has always surpassed the capacity of the Championship, a qualifying stage was instituted last year. More than 320 players attempted to qualify at one of six sites across the state. In the qualifying, players competed in 18 holes of stroke play in hopes of reaching the Championship at Quail Valley. The Match Play Championship begins with an 18-hole seeding round to seed the 64 player field. Single elimination match play will follow to determine the Match Play Champion.
To view tee times, pairings, and complete results, please see www.fsga.org.
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 25 championships for amateur golfers in the state, the FSGA is responsible for more than 40 qualifying tournaments for USGA National Championships and the Florida Junior Tour. The FSGA also maintains the USGA Handicap System, performs course ratings throughout Florida and assists in junior programs and scholarships.