Stetson’s Chris Williard wins JAGA Match Play Championship

Medalist from qualifier holds off Jacksonville’s Jacob Posze 2 and 1

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Stetson University graduate student Chris Williard won five matches over three days to take home the 10th JAGA Match Play Championship on Sunday, Aug. 30 at Queen’s Harbour Yacht and Country Club.

Williard bested Jacob Posze of Jacksonville, 2 and 1, in the finals.

 In the consolation match, Underwood Cup participant and Palencia Club food and beverage director Aaron Badz was also a 2-and-1 winner over Evan Thompson of Oakland and Florida Tech.

 Williard got off to a slow start in the championship match with two bogeys in his first six holes but was stellar the rest of the way hitting lots of fairways and greens, resulting in one birdie, one bogey and nine pars. The 22-year-old Columbus, Ohio native played the 17 holes 1-over par.

 Posze jumped out to a 1-up lead with a par at No. 1, but would not win another hole in the next 10 and found himself 5 down standing on the 12th tee. The LSU graduate and former First Tee employee clawed his way to two down with four to play after making birdies on 12, 13 and 14.

 The comeback stalled at the par-3 15th when Posze missed the green to the right and failed to get up and down while his opponent was making par. A sloppy bogey by Williard on 16 kept the match alive. It concluded on the 17th when Williard and Posze both made routine pars on the par 5.

The championship match at the 6,915-yard Queen’s Harbour layout was set up on Saturday afternoon when Williard dispatched Badz, 4 and 3, and Posze clipped Thompson 1 up.

 In his march to the finale, Williard also defeated Maxwell Telford of St. Augustine (2 up), Michael Del Rocco of Jacksonville (1 up) and Nate Moseby of Jacksonville (4 and 3). At the Aug. 23 qualifier at Palencia, Williard posted the only sub-par round (2-under 70) to lead the pack by two shots.

 Posze shot 73 in the qualifier (tied for fifth) and was seeded eighth. He took down Zach Lee of Jacksonville Beach (6 and 5), Ty Capps of Palm Coast (2 and 1) and Gonzalo Miguelarena of St. Augustine (5 and 4) in his first three matches.

 The top finishers will be awarded World Amateur Golf Ranking points. The JAGA Match Play is one of three JAGA tournaments recognized by the WAGR, joined by the First Coast Amateur and the Jacksonville Amateur.

For complete tournament results, go to jax.bluegolf.com or www.jaxareagolf.org.

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