All five University of North Florida golfers who qualified for the 63rd Florida Open Championship in Vero Beach, Fla., not only made the cut after Saturday’s play, but finished in the top 54 of the tournament after play wrapped up Sunday afternoon, including two who finished in the top 10.The two Ospreys who garnered top-10 finishes were rising junior Major Forbess who finished tied for fifth and rising sophomore Kevin Aylwin who ended tied for seventh.Even more impressive about the UNF performances is the fact that over 1,100 amateur and professional players attempted to qualify for 156 spots. The number of participants who attempted to qualify at one of 16 sites across the state set a new tournament record for entries filed.The golfers played 18 holes each on Quail Valley Golf Club and John’s Island West on Friday and Saturday, July 17-18. After 36 holes, the field was cut to the low 60 and ties. The final 18 holes of the Championship were played on Quail Valley on Sunday, July 19. Forbess shot a final round 65, which was tied with two other golfers for lowest round of the tournament. He ended at 5-under 211 (72-74-65), while Aylwin finished with a 4-under 212 (69-75-68).Thomas Murray won the title with a 10-under 206, winning by two strokes.Rising junior Chris Kennedy finished tied for 24th with a 1-over 217 (79-70-68), incoming freshman Kevin Phelan ended tied for 34th at 3-over 219 (72-74-73) and rising sophomore Joe Byun finished tied for 50th with a 6-over 222 (76-73-73). Started in 1942, The Florida Open Championship has produced past champions that include Willie Turnesa, Bob Murphy, Gary Koch, Bruce Fleisher, John Huston, Dudley Hart, and Bart Bryant. This will be the first year the Florida State Golf Association will be conducting this championship.
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