The Jacksonville Area Golf Association (JAGA)’s First Coast Amateur is set for this weekend at Hidden Hills Golf Club in Jacksonville.
A field of 78 amateur golfers ranging in age from 16 to 64 is scheduled to compete over Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Jan. 19-21. The contestants represent 16 states, 25 colleges and eight countries. Of the 78 contestants, 61 have indexes of 0 or less.
Defending champion Cole Bradley of Purdue University returns to defend his title. He will be playing the First Coast Amateur for the third time. Bradley is joined by six Purdue teammates. The Boilermakers are coached by Bradley’s dad, Rob, who formerly was assistant golf coach at the University of North Florida (2009-12).
The youngest competitors are a trio of 16-year-olds — Gordan Brixi of Potomac, Maryland, Nicholas Hofman of Lafayette, Indiana and Alexander Waller of Jacksonville. Waller will represent the North Florida Junior Golf Tour. The Bishop Kenny student earned his spot based on his runner-up finish in the recent First Coast Junior Amateur (ages 16-18) played at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club.
The senior-most contestants are former JAGA Jacksonville Amateur champion Mike Bodney of Jacksonville and 2011 JAGA Senior Amateur champion John Milton of Jacksonville, who will captain next month’s Underwood Cup Amateur Team for the second year in a row. Both are 64.
The championship is 54 holes of stroke play, with 18 holes on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the holiday weekend. All competitors will play for the First Coast Amateur title, with the 12 mid-amateurs (age 25+) vying for a second title.
Top finishers will be awarded World Amateur Golf Ranking points for the second year in a row.
The First Coast Amateur is sponsored and conducted by JAGA, which annually promotes Jacksonville’s top-level amateur competitions and has since 1954. It is the only JAGA-run event that is promoted nationally and features multi-state and multi-national participants.
Co-chairmen for the 2019 JAGA First Coast Amateur are JAGA directors Joel Lamp (Associate) and Jeff Adams (TPC Sawgrass). Fellow director Jim Kavanagh (St. Johns Golf & CC) is overseeing all aspects of tournament set-up, rules and competition.
Kavanagh (FSGA) will be supported by a group of rules experts. They include (with current or former affiliations in parentheses): Duke Butler III (PGA TOUR/PGA), Tommy Dudley (USGA), Jeff Elledge (JAGA), Ken Hicks (Northern Calif. GA), Bill Hughes (Northern Chapter of North Florida PGA) and Ray Mantle (FSGA).