Ponte Vedra Beach resident and 2016 JAGA Match Play Championship winner Michael Smith claimed medalist honors for the second year in a row on May 26 at Jacksonville Beach Golf Club in the qualifying tournament for the JAGA Match Play Championship. He will vie for the 2019 title June 7-9 at TPC Sawgrass.
The former James Madison University golfer shot a 1-under-par 70 over the 6,600-yard layout, one better than Nat Mosby (35-36) of Windsor Parke Golf Club and Michael Sass (34-37) of Louisville, Kentucky.
Smith had three bogeys and a birdie on his outward nine of 37. Things turned around on the back nine for the TPC Sawgrass member, particularly over the last few holes when he recorded birdies on 10, 15, 17 and 18. His lone bogey came at the 17th.
With a birdie on No. 17, Mosby was in position to tie Smith for the clubhouse lead but was done in by a bogey on the par-5 18th. Sass bogeyed the 14th, then closed with four pars.
A full field of 63 entered the qualifier. Thirty-two players will be seeded into matches that will be played at TPC Sawgrass, with Smith the No. 1 seed at his home club. Based on a scorecard match, Mosby is the No. 2 seed and Sass No. 3.
The first three rounds of matches on June 7 and 8 will be contested on Dye’s Valley Course, with the June 9 semifinals and championship matches to be played at THE PLAYERS Stadium course.
Smith won the 2016 JAGA Match Play title at Atlantic Beach Golf Club, defeating Sam Uhland 3 and 1.
The four players who were exempt will not be able to compete — David Wicks (2018 champion/turned pro), Devin Suri (2018 runner-up/turned pro), Davis Roche (2018 Jacksonville Amateur champion/scheduling conflict) and John Lobb (2019 Senior Amateur champion/shoulder surgery).
Kip Webber (Windsor Parke Golf Club), Harrison Yazgi (Blue Sky Club) and Chase Wolfe (Eagle Harbor Golf Club) earned spots Nos. 30, 31 and 32, respectively, on a match of cards. They were among eight who shot 79.
For more information about JAGA or to view tournament scores, visit www.jaxareagolf.org .