June 26, 2009

Barber Pulls Ahead at the Amateur

Blayne Barber posts a two-round 8-under par 126 to take the lead by four heading into the weekend.

Blayne Barber, of Lake City, made four birdies and an eagle on the (East/West) course at Sawgrass Country Club to record a 5-under par 67 in the first round and was tied for the lead. Barber continued his solid play in the second round with a 35 on the front nine and added birdies on holes 10, 11 and 18 to fire a 34 on the back nine and a 69 for the round on THE PLAYERS STADIUM course. Barber’s two-round total of 136 puts him at 8-under par for the Championship. Barber, the 2008 Boys Junior Champion and University of Central Florida golfer, tied for seventh in this year’s Division I Men's Championship and was named the Conference USA Golfer and Freshman of the Year. Barber also earned a spot on the Golf Coaches Association of America All-Freshman Team and was one of five golfers nationally named to the squad.

Blake Soni, of Bradenton, sits four strokes back of Barber with a two-round total of 140. Soni carded a 69 on THE PLAYERS STADIUM course in round one and shot a second round 1-under par 71 on the (East/West) course at Sawgrass Country Club. Five competitors are tied in third place with a two-round total of 141, three under par including Matt Stauch, of Dublin. Stauch shot a first round 71 on THE PLAYERS STADIUM course and a second round 70 at Sawgrass Country Club. Connor Arendell, of Cape Coral, and Tommy Parker, of Palm Beach, posted rounds 70-71. First round co-leader Byron White, of Bradenton posted a second round 74 matched with his 67 in round one to sit at 141. Kelly McHugh, of Lakeland provided the low round of the day on THE PLAYERS STADIUM course firing a 68 which included seven birdies, and currently stands tied for third. Defending Champion Judson Eustaquio, of Lake Worth posted back-to-back 75’s and is tied for 36th. Steve Earsley, of Hobe Sound, the 2009 Senior Champion and the oldest player in the field provided the shot of the day with a Hole-in-One on the Par 3 13th hole on THE PLAYERS STADIUM Course.

The top 168 amateur golfers in the state will play 18 holes each on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course and Sawgrass Country Club (East/West) course on June 25-26. After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 70 and ties. The final 36 holes of the Championship will be played on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course on June 27-28. Before reaching the Championship, more than 1000 participants attempted to qualify at one of 16 sites across the state setting a new tournament record for entries filed.

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.

Spectators and media are welcome to watch the state’s best amateur golfers compete at TPC Sawgrass and Sawgrass Country Club.

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