Florida coach Deacon wins second Florida Open in four years

[Courtesy of Florida State Golf Association]

By Garry Smits/Florida Times-Union

University of Florida golf coach JC Deacon made his first bogey of the week in the 74th Florida Open at the par-5 fifth hole at the Pine Tree Club in Boynton Beach on Sunday, then fell into a tie for the lead on the next hole with veteran mini-tour player Kenny Goodykoontz of Fort Myers.

Deacon bounced back in a hurry.

He birdied three of four holes after that and went onto post a 69, completing a wire-to-wire victory for his second Florida Open title in four years with a four-shot win at 12-under-par 202.

Deacon pulled away from the tie with Goodykoontz (71) with birdies at Nos. 9, 10 and 12, combined with two late bogeys by Goodykoontz, who dropped into a second-place tie with Diillon Board (67) of Jacksonville and former University of Florida player Ryan Orr (67).

Deacon went 40 holes without a bogey until slipping up at No. 5. He made only one other bogey, at No. 17, but he led by four on the 17th tee made up for it with a birdie at the closing hole.

Deacon won the Florida Open in 2017 at Black Diamond.

“It means a lot,” Deacon told the Florida State Golf Association’s web site. “I’ve had three or four months to really prepare for this. I wanted to be a good model for my guys. I worked my butt off to be ready for this tournament. The first two days were really, really solid and I think I was a good example for those boys.”

Deacon, a native of Toronto, was the only player in the field to shoot three rounds in the 60s. He is the 10th player to capture two Florida Open victories.

“The birdie on 12 made me feel really comfortable and confident,” Deacon told fsga.org. “It was by no means done at that point, but it gave me a little bit of breathing room with the field.”

Board, a Baldwin High graduate who played college golf at Coastal Carolina, birdied five of 10 holes, beginning with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 8 and 9, to claim his share of second place.

Former Jacksonville University player Raul Pereda (70) was 4-under to tie for sixth.

Devon Hopkins of Jacksonville Beach began the day in a tie for third, three shots behind Deacon, but signed for a 75 and dropped into a tie for ninth at 3-under. Hopkins claimed low amateur for the tournament by one shot over Yunhe Zheng (72) of Orlando and Brendan Collins (70) of Tallahassee.

Defending champion Sean Dale (72) and Pete Kellermann (73), both Jacksonville residents who played at the University of North Florida, tied for 12th at 2-under.

Kellermann birdied No. 8 and eagled No. 9 to come within two shots of the lead, but didn’t make another birdie and bogeyed his last three holes.

Two more former UNF players both shot 69. Jeff Dennis finished 1-over and Jordan Batchelor, who defends his title beginning Thursday at the Jacksonville Amateur, ended 2-over. Batchelor shot 68-69 and had 28 bogey-free holes in a row after an opening 77 at the Club at Quail Ridge.

Also finishing at 2-over was Sam Nicholson (73) of Atlantic Beach, a sophomore at South Florida. Davis Lee (73) of Ponte Vedra, a sophomore at UNF, shot 3-over.

Michael Giammaresi (68–214) and Osten Waite (72–219) gave UNF a total of seven past or current players who made the cut, the most of any state university with players in the field.