June 25, 2000

Biggs Comes Out of the Pack to Win the Amateur

Justin Biggs of St. Cloud fired a 6-under par 66 at Pine Tree Golf Club Sunday to claim the 83rd Amateur Championship.

Trailing by 10 at the start of the round, Biggs made 7 birdies and a bogey to end up one shot ahead of Joe Alfieri and Buddy Alexander.

"It was up to them," the 21-year old Biggs said. "If they played well, they were going to beat me. I didn't think I had a chance. I was way too far back," he added.

With birdies on the second and third hole, Biggs started out hot. An hour-and-a-half rain delay tried to cool him off, but he answered with a birdie at 5 just as soon as play resumed.

"I gained 5 strokes on the leaders after 5 holes," Biggs, an upcoming senior at the NAIA school Northwood, said. "At that point I started thinking 'Who knows?"

Tampa's Kevin Mock, who had a 2 stroke lead heading into the final round, fell apart on the front 9 by making 2 double bogeys. He quickly brought the rest of the field back to him. He ended up finishing in a three-way tie for 4th after shooting a final-round 78 that left him at 1-over par 289.

Alfieri, of Lutz, and Alexander, of Gainesville, both had their chances. Alfieri was at 3-under for the championship after 10 holes. He then 3-putted 11 and bogeyed 12 and 15. Tied for the lead on the 18th hole, Alfieri missed the fairway. "I had 191 yards to the green,” he said. “It was a tough shot, but I went right at it with a 5-iron right over some trees."

Ending up in the water hazard, he made an "impossible" shot up into the bunker. Needing to hole his bunker shot, Alfieri made a dramatic shot that caught the right edge of the hole, but wouldn't fall. Alexander also had a dramatic shot on the final hole. His 93 yard wedge for the tie missed by a couple of feet.

Biggs received a crystal vase and his name inscribed on the Clarence Camp Championship Trophy. The top 10 plus ties received an exemption into the Florida State Amateur Championship next year.

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