Stetson golfer earns medalist honors at JAGA Match Play qualifier

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Christopher Williard, of Deland, posted the only sub-par round of the day, a 2-under 70, to grab medalist honors at the JAGA Match Play Championship qualifier Sunday, Aug. 23 at The Palencia Club in St. Augustine.

The former Stetson University golf team captain and 2020-21 graduate student will be one of 32 golfers vying for the 2020 title this weekend at Queen’s Harbour Yacht & Country Club in Jacksonville.

Finishing two shots back at 72 were Andrew Riley of St. Johns/Creekside High School; Evan Thompson of Oakland/Florida Tech and Nick Montes, another Stetson golfer who is working on his MBA.

Four players tied for fifth after shooting 73 — Matthew Kleinrock of Jacksonville, Ty Capps of Palm Coast, Jacob Posze of Jacksonville and William Hartford of West Palm Beach/Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Williard, an Ohio native, offset bogeys on Nos. 2 and 16 with birdies on 6, 7, 11 and 13 during his afternoon round at the 6,839-yard Palencia layout.

Thompson suffered bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes to dash his medalist hopes.

The cutoff came at 6-over 78 with all seven players gaining seeds.

Thirty-two players will be seeded into matches that begin Friday at Queen’s Harbour. Last year’s runner-up and second-year Flagler College assistant golf coach Juan Iturra was exempt from qualifying. He received the No. 1 seed when defending champion Michael Sass of Louisville, Kentucky was unable to play due to conflicts. Reigning JAGA Senior Amateur champion John Lobb is the No. 2 seed. Also exempt but unable to play was 2019 JAGA Jacksonville Amateur winner Jordan Batchelor of the University of North Florida.

The first five alternates in order are Duke Butler IV (79), Ken Prebola (79), Andrew Porter (79), Chase Mills (80) and Brandon Valvano (80), all residents of the greater Jacksonville area.

With spots available in the qualifier, additional out-of-region entries were accepted over and above the originally stipulated five to round out the 64-man field.

More Match Play Championship information is available at www.jaxareagolf.org or jax.bluegolf.com.

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