2009 St. Augustine Amateur gets underway


Tournament Chairman Jay Jennison reported to Historic City News that Kevin Grabeman of Centerville, Ohio and Mu Hu of Shenzhen, China are tied for the lead after the first day of play in the 2009 St. Augustine Amateur golf tournament.

Grabeman shot 36-32 ~ 68 and Mu Hu finished with 33-35 ~ 68 on the course at the St. Johns Golf Club where the tournament is being held.

“I made some putts and played steady. It got a little windy. It was a little tough out there toward the end” commented Grabeman, who graduated from Ohio State University earlier this year and who is playing in the tournament for the first time.

Mu Hu, a sophomore at the University of Florida, commented that the tournament has been great so far. “The conditions out here are better than I’ve seen it before. The greens are rolling pretty good. I’m playing solid, but the wind is not consistent. Every hole is different.” This is Hu’s third appearance at the St. Augustine Amateur.

Blayne Barber from Lake City, Florida and Wesley Graham from Port Orange, Florida are close behind the leaders, each with finishes today of 35-34 ~ 69.

Barber, a sophomore at Auburn University, also commented on the windy conditions. “It was windier than I expected, but I was able to manage it well and stay steady.” When asked about his goals for the weekend, he said, “I’m here to win.”

The players noticed that the fairways are narrower and the greens are smaller than usual. “The rough was really tough. They have it as thick as can be. We could have lost a few balls if it weren’t for the spotters out there,” said Grabeman.

Players, caddies, and volunteers wore green ribbons in support of Tournament Chairman Jay Jennison’s battle with cancer.

After play today there was a long drive competition, which was won with a 368 yard drive by John Jennison, a tournament volunteer from Miami, Florida.

The tournament is designed for better amateur players and is played at 54 holes, stroke play. Net proceeds of the event will benefit the First Tee of St Johns County. The First Tee is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation, and is supported by (among others) it’s Founding Partners: the Augusta National Golf Club, PGA Tour, PGA, LPGA and USGA. The focus is to give young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop, through golf and character education, life enhancing values such as honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and responsibility.

The St. Augustine Amateur is a national event established in 2004 for better amateurs and collegiate players. Played over three days at stroke play, the field this year will be comprised of players from ten different states and seven countries. The winner will receive a replica of our trophy designed by Heritage Creations of Glens Falls, NY.

The St. Augustine Amateur is a walking only tournament. Playing in threesomes, it makes for an enjoyable round for the players. Our local First Tee chapter provides caddies for the field (or many players bring their own). Play is daily on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 4 pm. Spectators are encouraged to attend. Admission is free. Refreshments are available at the course.

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