Giulio Castagnara Wins the 2017 St. Augustine Amateur

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ST. AUGUSTINE, FL (October 15, 2017) – Giulio Castagnara shot a four-under 66, the low round of the tournament, to come from behind and win the 14th St. Augustine Amateur at St. Johns Golf Club.

Castagnara, an Italian who recently completed his college career at Texas Christian University (TCU), started the day four shots behind Michael Saccente (Edgewater, FL), who had led the tournament after each of the first two rounds.

Saccente, a redshirt freshman at the University of North Florida, saw his lead immediately grow to five shots as both Castagnara and Rasmey Kong (W. Palm Beach, FL), also four shots back entering the round, lost shots early on.

In fact, Castagnara fell six behind after bogeying the first two holes, and looked to have little chance to get back into contention. But he flipped the switch at the very next hole, making birdie at the short par four, and then another at the par-four 4th, beginning a stretch that would see him go six under over his next nine holes.

Saccente started out steadily, parring the first five holes, and still had a four shot lead when he bogeyed the par-four sixth. Castagnara followed with a birdie on the next hole, and suddenly the lead was two. Another birdie on the par-five 9th cut the lead to one.

Two holes and two birdies later, it was Castagnara on top at five under for the tournament, with Saccente one behind.

Kong, who at one point was six shots back, was making a move as well, making four birdies in six holes starting at the 7th, to climb back into contention at three under, two shots behind Castagnara and one behind Saccente. A crucial two-shot swing at the long par-three 15th, with Kong making birdie, while both of his opponents making bogey, shook up the leaderboard and put Kong on top tied with Castagnara, with Saccente now in third one shot back.

The tie was short-lived though, as Castagnara birdied the next hole, the par-five 16th, to go back one up, before Saccente picked up a shot on the two others with a par on the long par-three 17th.

On the 18th tee, Castagnara was four under, one shot ahead of Kong and Saccente. With his opponents looking for the birdie to send the tournament to a playoff, instead it was Castagnara who found the green, rolled in a birdie putt, and slammed the door on what had become a wide-open and entertaining battle on the back nine.

Though Castagnara has had several high finishes, competing in Europe and South Africa as well as playing college golf at TCU (he finished 5th in the NCAA West Regional two years ago), this is his biggest win in amateur golf so far.

It was a disappointing finish for Saccente, who didn’t make many mistakes but couldn’t really get anything going either. He only had two bogeys on the day, fewer than either of his opponents, but didn’t make a single birdie on the day in a closing 72.

Kong finished with a 68 to finish in the tie for second with Saccente.

Cody Carroll (Jacksonville, FL), a University of North Florida commit, tied for the low round of the tournament with a 66 to move into solo fourth at two under.

17-year-old David Morgan (Naples, FL) closed with a 68 to finish fifth at even par.

Jeff Golden, a 32-year-old from Jacksonville, won the award for the low mid-amateur. Golden shot a 71 on Sunday to finish tied for 19th at nine over par.

Michael Saccente Builds His St. Augustine Amateur Lead to Four

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ST. AUGUSTINE, FL (October 14, 2017) – Michael Saccente (Edgewater, FL) has opened up a four-shot lead in the St. Augustine Amateur, following his opening 67 with a two-under 68 at St. Johns Golf Club.

It was the second straight day that the University of North Florida redshirt freshman posted the low round of the day.

Saccente started the day with a one shot-lead over Rasmey Kong (W. Palm Beach, FL) but picked up two shots on Kong at the long par-four second hole when Kong made a double-bogey. Kong went one under the rest of the way, eventually finishing with a 71, but still lost ground to Saccente.

Saccente made two birdies (at 8 and 17) and sixteen pars to shoot his 68. He has been bogey-free for 34 straight holes going back to his only bogey of the tournament so far, which came at the 2nd hole in round one.

Giulio Castagnara of Italy, who recently completed his golf career at Texas Christian University, tied Saccente for the day’s low round, making four birdies against two bogeys for a 68. Castagnara was six shots behind at one point but played the final seven holes in three under to get into a tie with Kong at one-under 139, four shots back.

Mauro Antonio Baez of Argentina was four under on his last ten holes to shoot a 69 and get to even par, five shots behind Saccente and in solo fourth place.

His fellow countryman Juan Iturra is alone in fifth place, one shot further back at one-over 141.

Five players–David Morgan (70), Gordon Brixi (72), Sam Nicholson (72), Devin Suri (69) and Cody Carroll (73)–are tied for sixth at two-over 142, seven shots behind the leader Saccente.

The final round will be played Sunday morning. Saccente, Castagnara, and Kong will play in the final threesome at 10:57am local (Eastern) time.

Saccente Leads St. Augustine Amateur with a 67

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ST. AUGUSTINE, FL (October 13, 2017) – Michael Saccente (Edgewater, FL) shot a three-under 67 to take the first-round lead at the 14th St. Augustine Amateur at St. Johns Golf Club.

Saccente, a redshirt freshman at the University of North Florida, was in contention in every round last year and finished fourth at two-over 212. Today, he offset an early bogey with four birdies, including three in five holes from 13-17.

Only two other players broke par in the first round. Rasmey Kong (W. Palm Beach, FL) had a three birdie, one bogey 68. Cody Carroll (Jacksonville, FL), a North Florida commit, was three over through eight holes but had four birdies after that to finish at one-under 69.

Will Echelmeier (Columbia, MO), a recent graduate of the University of Missouri, shot an even-par 70 to sit tied for fourth with 16-year-old Sam Nicholson (Atlantic Beach, FL) and 15-year-old Gordon Brixi(Potomac, MD).

Brixi is no stranger to the leaderboard in big amateur events, having led the Middle Atlantic Amateur last month before finishing third.

Tied for seventh at one-over 71 are two players from Argentina, Mauro Antonio Baez and Juan Iturra; two players from Italy, Giulio Castagnara and Luigi Botta; and Matt Kleinrock of Jacksonville.

Once again tournament director Wes Tucker has developed a diverse field that has incorporated high school, college, mid-amateurs and even some golfers who are pushing 40.

In the 13 years since the tournament was created in 2014, players in the St. Augustine Amateur have gone on to enjoy success on the biggest stages in professional golf.

“It’s high-level amateur golf,” said Tucker to Will Brown of the St. Augustine Record. “It’s going to be people you see on your TV, potentially, in the next four to five years. We’ve had Ryder Cup (players). We’ve had PGA Tour winners and we’ve had European Tour winners play in the event. You get to see the future of the event up close and you get to interact with them. To experience some of these guys on the way up is a great thing.”

“Your past champions really validate your tournament,” Tucker said. “You have guys like Peter Uihleinwho won a Web.com event and has a (PGA) Tour card next year. You have Julian Suri, who has had wins in Europe and a European Tour card — the guy is pretty hot. Zach Sucher played on (the PGA) Tour for a couple of years.”

Round two of the 2017 St. Augustine Amateur will be played on Saturday with the final round on Sunday.

Auburn commit Brandon Mancheno rallies to win the St. Augustine Amateur

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Brandon Mancheno began the day one-stroke off the pace but rallied on the final day of the St. Augustine Amateur to finish 2-under and win by two.

Playing at St. Johns Golf Club Mancheno (69-71-68) moved into red figures and a tie for the lead with a birdie on the 3rd hole. From there the 2017 Auburn commit played methodical golf, adding birdies on the 12th and 13th holes to reach 3-under and open up a comfortable advantage. It wasn’t until the 17th did Mancheno drop the only shot of his 2-under 68 final round.

Flagler College junior Ryan Mosley began the day 1-under and tied for the lead with Kyle Stiles and Brett Schell but all three turned in over-par scores.

Mosley made a valiant effort throughout the day and he was able to reach 2-under following a birdie on the 10th but he bogeyed three of the next four holes to fall to 1-over. Not one to go quietly, Mosley made one last run with birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to return to red figures, only to bogey the ensuing hole. Mosley ended up in second place at even-par.

Kyle Stiles finished in third place at 1-over following a 2-over 72 on Sunday that included two birdies and three bogeys.

In fourth it was Michael Saccente at 2-over while four players, including 36-hole co-leader Brett Schell, were fourth at 3-over.

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