JACKSONVILLE - Middleburg High and University of North Florida golf ace Cody Carroll added yet another lofty outing on the the golf course with a masterful birdie on the final hole of the 59th Jacksonville Amateur Golf Championships to take the title over Western Carolina’s Pierre Viallaneix. The event was staged by the Jacksonville Amateur Golf Association at the Jacksonville Beach Golf Club on Saturday.
“There is nothing more satisfying than finishing off a tournament with the win, especially like that,” said Carroll. “I bogeyed the first hole, a sloppy bogey on four, then I made three pars, until I rattled off four birdies in a row from five to eight to go from four down to two up for the final couple of holes. I birdied five which I think is the toughest hole on the course.”
Carroll got stronger toward the finish with a birdie on 13 to stay one up on Viallaneix.
“I had a really nice wedge shot on 13,” said Carroll. “My strategy for each hole is to execute the best shot for my ability and not let what is going on around me affect that. In four holes, I made up six shots.”
Viallaneix made the finish more dramatic with two birdies before the walk to the 18th tee box. In the final hole’s dramatic finish, Viallaneix took a stab at rattling Carroll with an eagle score that forced Carroll to restrategize his approach.
“He played for the green on his drive and wound up about 30 yards short of the green on his drive then made his pitch for the eagle,” said Carroll. “I had another incredibly good wedge shot to set up the putt for the win.”
Carroll has challenged himself with a series of tournaments around the country before returning to University of North Florida. With college nationwide responding to the COVID-19 situation, Carroll plans to continue his off course fitness regimen while preparing for his junior season at UNF.
“I’ve played in two pretty big amateur tournaments in Dallas and in South Carolina and the pressure of the moment was not as much as you might think,” said Carroll. “The finish at the Unbridled Tour was a good confidence builder, but the Texas event was one of the biggest amateur events in the world.”
In Texas, on July 15-18, at the Southern Amateur Championships in Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, TX, Carroll finished 28th with a four round total of 292 4-over (75, 72, 75, 70) with the winner at 281 7-under (70, 73, 72, 66).
In South Carolina, Carroll was 18th with a 1-under 279 for four rounds (68, 70, 69, 72) with the winner at 10-under 270 (68, 66, 67, 69).
Carroll, earlier in the summer, had a top 10 finish at the Unbridled Tour Fleming Island tournament at Fleming Island Golf Club that saw him outduel a handful of PGA Tour professionals. Carroll was also second by one stroke in January at the JAGA First Coast Amateur tournament held at The Conservatory at Hammock Beach Resort.
For the Jacksonville event on Saturday, Carroll unloaded on the course in the final round with a scintillating four birdie push to take the lead with a final 67 score on the round to top off a second round score of 67 with a second 67 after falling back a bit with a 72 on the first round.
Viallaneix kept pace with Carroll torrid weekend with a 71 in round one followed by a 66 in round two to set up the final round theatrics. Viallaneix fell to 70 in round three with a traumatic double bogie on the eighth hole that gave Carroll the light to the title.
“He hit his drive out of bounds and had to rehit his drive,” said Carroll. “Even though it was an opportunity, I stay more aware of just adjusting my strategy to what is playing out in front of me. It’s an everchanging strategy.”
Carroll third round drama seemed to make the crafty late round veteran even more energized with a three putt on this very first hole causing some trepidation. Carroll remained four shots off Villaneix pace after five holes before Carroll buckled up and hit the throttle with four straight putts for birdie (12-footer), par (18-footer) with two short putts making the dramatic scoreboard shift.
Carroll is the ninth UNF player to win the prestigious award since 2002. Defending champion Jordan Batchelor, also a UNF Osprey and now the UNF assistant golf coach gave Carroll his trophy.
59th JAGA Jacksonville Amateur Golf Championships
Thur., July 23-Sat., July 25
Jacksonville Beach Golf Course
1. Cody Carroll, Middleburg, (-7, 206), 72, 67, 67
2. Pierre Viallaneix, Orlando (-6, 207), 71, 66, 70
3. Toby Ragland, Jacksonville (-1, 212), 71, 67, 74
4. Jeff Golden, Jacksonville (E, 213), 70, 70, 73
T5. Brock Healy, Peachtree Corners, GA (+1, 214), 74, 71, 69
T5. Devon Hopkins, Atlantic Beach (+1, 214), 74, 71, 69