OCALA - Florida Southern sophomore-to-be Jimmy Jones opened up play here Thursday in the 98th Annual Florida State Amateur Championships by firing a four-under par 68 to sit in a two-way tie for first place after the first round of action.
Jones, who played Thursday's first round on the par-72, 7,364-yard Ocala National Golf Club course, and Apopka's Matthew Bergstrom, who played the first round on the par-72, 6,975-yard Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, each share the first round lead by one shot over six players, who each shot first round 69's.
In Thursday's opening round of action, 21 players shot under par on either the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club or the Ocala National Golf Club. The tournament features a total of 167 players this season.
Jones, who was named an Honorable Mention PING Division II All-American on Wednesday by the GCAA, qualified for this year's Florida State Amateur Championship after finishing tied for third in a local qualifier at the TPC Tampa. At the qualifier, Jones, who was also named a Second-Team All-Sunshine State Conference selection this past spring as a freshman and is a native of Tampa, fired a 70 to earn one of 14 spots from the qualifier into this year's State Amateur.
In addition to Jones, Moccasin sophomore-to-be and First-Team PING Division II All-American John Coultas (Valrico, Fla.) shot an even-par 72 on the Golden Ocala course to sit in a tie for 22nd place. Coultas earned an exemption into this year's State Amateur after winning the 2014 Florida State Boys' Junior Amateur Championship.
The third Moccasin men's golfer competing at this year's Florida State Amateur Championship is junior-to-be Jason Huntington (Lakeland, Fla.). Huntington, who shot a 74 in the local qualifier at TPC Tampa to earn the final spot, shot a three-over 75 in the first round at Golden Ocala on Thursday to sit in a tie for 68th place.
A fourth golfer with Moccasin ties competing in this year's Florida State Amateur Championship is Florida Southern women's golf head coach Robbie Davis. Davis, who earned a lifetime exemption to compete in the Florida State Amateur Championship after taking home the championship trophy at the 1990 Florida Amateur, shot a six-over par 78 on Thursday at Ocala National to sit in a tie for 117th place.
Players competing in the Florida State Amateur Championship will play 72 holes of individual stroke play, including playing 18 holes each at Golden Ocala and Ocala National. Following the first two rounds (36) on June 25-26, the field will be cut to the lowest 70 scores and ties. The final 36 holes of the championship will be played at Golden Ocala and the lowest score for 72 holes will be declared the champion. If necessary, there will be a three hole aggregate score playoff for the championship.
The Florida State Amateur Championships is one of the older and prestigious amateur golf championships in the country and this year the amateur goes to one of the most prestigious and well-known golf clubs in the nation, Jupiter Hills Club. In addition to hosting this year's state amateur, Jupiter Hills has also hosted the state amateur in 2008, and also the 1987 U.S. Amateur Championship and two U.S. Open Sectional qualifiers. The amateur championship is open to amateur golfers that are either a resident of Florida (reside in Florida at least four months per year, have otherwise established legal residency or graduated from a Florida high school and presently attend an out-of-state college or a military personnel or a dependent of a military personnel based in Florida on active duty. In addition, the player must have a handicap no higher than an 11.4.
Friday's second round of action is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. at both Golden Ocala and Ocala National Golf Club.
Click here for complete first round results of the 98th Annual Florida State Amateur Championships