Junior Amateur Match Play (Boys 16-18)
July 17-20, 2023
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – TJ Thompson would battle through extra holes in both his semifinal and final matches on the way to the Junior Amateur Match Play Championship victory. The University of West Florida signee will head to college with a victory in his last individual Junior Championship.
Stroke Play Rounds
On Monday 84 players teed off with the hopes of making it into the top 32 for match play. Despite a 1 hour weather delay, the first round of stroke play was completed with James Earle sitting atop the leaderboard. A bogey-free 4-under 68 was the best round of the day over Palencia member, Ethan Tak.
Tuesday morning began with an 8:00 AM shotgun and the players on the match play bubble all knew where they stood. As play progressed, the cut line began to find it’s way to 11-over 155. With 30 players at better than 11-over it sent the 4 players tied for the final two spots into a playoff. In the playoff, Dylan Reiser grabbed the first spot with a birdie on the 2nd extra hole and Trey Farnsworth took the final spot on the 3rd extra hole.
Round of 32
In match play Tuesday afternoon, the most notable match came from 2 seed, Ethan Tak, and #31 seed, Dylan Reiser. Ethan Tak was looking to defend home turf at The Palencia Club but was pushed the distance by Reiser. Tak stood one down with one to play and with a gallery of members watching, sunk a 30 foot birdie putt to keep his hopes alive. However, on the 19th hole Reiser came back with his own birdie to win the match and find a spot in the Round of 16.
Round of 16
James Earle was the player with the most confidence coming into the week. Following qualifying for the US Amateur, the senior from Jupiter took medalist honors and was looking relatively in control after a 4 & 3 victory in the opening round. However, Alex Heard had different plans as the University of Connecticut signee wanted to draw on his experience making runs in the last three Junior Match Play Championships.
Heard won the first hole and by the turn was 2 up on Earle but two bogeys to start the back nine would bring Earle back in the match. With the match tied, Earle would bounce between birdies and bogeys on the next four holes and find himself even with three holes to play. A costly bogey on the short par-4 17th would give Heard a lead that he wouldn’t relinquish in a 1 up victory.
Another top seeded competitor, Jayden Freedman saw himself pushed to the brink by Evan Raynor. The two would be tied through 18 holes and be forced to play the 1st at The Palencia Club in the extended match. On the 450-yard par-4, Freedman hit a towering drive down the middle leaving only a wedge into the green. The wedge was close enough for Freedman to find the back of the cup with his birdie putt and punch a ticket to the Quarterfinals.
Only 8 remained on Wednesday afternoon, including Nicholas Pisarski. Before heading to the U.S. Junior Championship the following week, the 2025 high school graduate wanted to keep taking down competitors on his way to the Championship. Pisarski would take on Alex Heard in the quarterfinals and would take a quick lead that he wouldn’t squander in a 2 & 1 victory.
Daniel Enrique Vanososte entered match play as the 29th seed but was proving seeds were just a number in match play. Vanososte would take on Jacob Kutner trying to earn a tee time for Thursday. Kutner jumped out of the gates with two birdies on the first two holes to go 2 up. As far as 3 down at one point, Vanososte battled back with birdies on 9 and 13. A 30-foot par save on 17 to halve the hole gave the Junior Florida Cup team member the cushion to have a bogey at the last give him the 1 up victory. A battle of North vs South Junior Florida Cup team members in the semifinals between Vanososte and Pisarski would ensue.
Before heading to the University of West Florida this fall, TJ Thompson has his eyes set on a Junior Championship trophy. A 3 & 2 victory over Dylan Reiser gave him a match against PJ Cowhey Wednesday afternoon. An eagle on the 4th hole followed by a stretch of 4 birdies in 5 holes gave Thompson the runway to a 5 & 4 victory and a spot in the Semifinals.
Freedman, fresh off being pushed to the 19th hole by Evan Raynor faced Thomas Kirby in the Quarterfinals. A steady match between Freedman and Thomas Kirby left no player more than 2 up at any point until Freedman came out victorious on the 16th hole, 3 & 2. Freedman would setup a semifinal match with TJ Thompson Wednesday morning.
There was a palpable nervous energy Thursday morning at The Palencia Club practice facility. The final four players knew they were close to raising the trophy and becoming an FSGA Champion. In the first match between Nicholas Pisarski and Daniel Enrique Vanososte, Pisarski would get out to an early 3 up lead through 3 courtesy to some great wedge play combined with a birdie the par-3 3rd. Vanososte would make a slow climb back through the next seven holes and find himself tied through 10.
Pisarski through the next five holes would put himself in precarious situations but time and time again his putter would save him. A trio of mid-range par saves on holes 13 through 15 would keep the Orlando native in the match. Trouble with the driver on 16 would force Pisarski to concede the hole to Vanososte and go 1 down with two to go. On 17, it would be Vanososte who found trouble off the tee and would be forced to concede the hole when Pisarski had a 8-foot birdie putt and he was yet to find the green in five shots.
All tied on 18, Pisarski found the right penalty area off the tee but was able to put a club on the ball. Facing a carry of over 100 yards to reach the next fairway, Pisarski was forced to chip out sideways. Vanososte took advantage of the situation by hitting 3 wood up next to the par-5 green in two. Pisarski played an incredible 3rd shot from well over 200 yards out to 25 feet to give himself a chance at birdie. When the 25-footer slid by the hole, Vanososte’s 4 foot birdie putt would punch him a ticket to the finals.
In the second semifinal match, TJ Thompson took control of the first nine holes building a 3 up lead at the turn. Jayden Freedman wasn’t about to gift him a trip to the final match however as he went on a run of 4 straight birdies to flip the match to 1 up Freedman. A bogey on the par-3 15th by Freedman would send the match back to all square and a birdie by Thompson would give him the 1 up lead standing on the 18th tee.
In the 18th fairway, both players were in the fairway and with Freedman needing to win the hole he decided to take on the par-5. After a layup by Thompson, Freedman went to send a 2-iron at the green but a mishit left him short sided behind a bunker about 40 yards from the green. Thompson’s third shot would narrowly miss the green and most likely mean a par for Thompson. Knowing he needed to make birdie, Freedman’s pitch shot would go about 20 feet behind the hole. A conceded par for Thompson meant a must-make 20-footer for Freedman. As the putt rolled towards the hole Freedman reeled up for a big fist pump as the ball found the bottom of the cup and forced extra holes.
Both players would make mid-range par putts on the first extra hole sending the pair to the short par-4 2nd at the Palencia Club. Two wedge shots into the green again set up a test of each players’ putters. Freedman would be first to give his birdie putt a chance and would watch as it slid by for a conceded par. Thompson, unfazed by being sent to extra holes to begin with, calmly stepped up and rolled in his birdie putt and clinch his spot in the finals.
Birdies were easy to come by in the beginning stages of the final match Thursday afternoon. TJ Thompson would birdie the first hole and 5th hole while Daniel Enrique Vanososte would birdie the 2nd while a par on the 3rd would also win a hole and the pair would be even through five holes. A loose tee shot from Vanososte on the 6th allowed Thompson a 1 up lead after making a comfortable par. However, Thompson would turn around and give it right back with a bogey on the 7th to go back to tied.
On the 8th hole, Vanososte would get up and down from the greenside bunker and with a bogey from Thompson would find himself 1 up. Both players would have short birdie putts on the par-5 9th to wrap up the front nine. With a miss from both players a hole would be halved, only the second of the match, and Vanososte would be 1 up at the turn.
Trouble for Thompson on the 10th allowed Vanososte to claim his largest lead of the match at 2 up. But a birdie at the 11th and par at the 12th brought Thompson back level with the Doral native. A 3-putt from beyond the flag on the 15th hole by Thompson gave the lead back to Daniel. A quick miss to the left off the 16th tee from Vanososte left him to take an unplayable lie into one of the many sandy areas at The Palencia Club. When his approach shot was also in an unplayable lie, Vanososte would concede the hole to Thompson who was on the green in regulation.
A pair of pars on the 17th would bring the final match to the 18th hole with both players having a chance to claim the Championship. Vanososte stuck to his strategy of trying to reach the green in two and left his second shot just short of the green. Meanwhile, Thompson had laid up to a wedge distance and spun it to 10 feet short of the hole. Vanososte’s eagle chip gave him an incredible chance to win the Championship in regulation. As the chip rolled towards the hole, you can see Vanososte begin to see the victory but as the chip hit the flagstick it carried just too much speed and didn’t fall. In a must-make, Thompson would find the birdie putt he needed from 10 feet to force extra holes.
On the first extra hole, both players would find the fairway. Thompson, playing the hole for the 4th time Thursday, would hit his approach just below the hole about 15 feet from the hole. With the pressure on, Vanososte would just miss the green to the left. Daniel’s chip would be close enough to be given a concession. With the Championship in the balance, Thompson would have the same putt he had in his semifinal match. The read was not a factor and once Thompson put the correct roll on the putt he would see the ball find the bottom of the hole and the Championship be in his hands. The Junior Amateur Match Play Championship is TJ Thompson’s first FSGA victory.
|Tee||Yardage / Info|
|Boys (16-18)||6,945 yds. 74.5/142|
|1 Hour Delay||94 °F|
|Sunny, Winds 5-8 mph||94 °F|
Format: 36 holes of individual gross stroke play; low 32 scores qualify for match play
Eligibility: Male Florida resident - junior golfer
Handicap: Florida GHIN required (18.0 or less)
Entry Fee: $160
- Boys (16-18)
- 36 holes of individual stroke play
- After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 32 players
- Players will compete in 18-hole matches and the winner will advance.
Championship Field Size
- Maximum of 84 players
- The Palencia Club
- Male amateur golfer
- Florida Resident
- GHIN Handicap is required
- Male must be between 16-18 years of age as of the last day of the tournament. No players are allowed to play outside of their age division.
- Entrant is not required to be a member of the FSGA
$160 - Entry fee includes all competitive rounds of golf and tee gift. Late entries will be accepted subject to a $10 late fee should the entrant gain acceptance in to the field.
- First come, first served
- The FSGA may hold an undisclosed number of spots for exceptional circumstances.
The golf course will be set-up at approximately 6,800-7,000 yards.
Monday, July 17th
- 6:30 AM - 9:00 AM - Registration - located near the clubhouse
- 7:30 AM - 9:27 AM - Round one tee times off #1 & #10
Tuesday, July 18th
- 8:00 AM shotgun - Second round of the stroke play seeding portion
- After the completion of play the field will be cut to the low 32 players
- If necessary, a playoff will be held immediately following the seeding round to determine the last qualifiers in to match play
- Round of 32 matches will begin approximately 30 minutes after the completion of the morning shotgun off of tees #1 & #10
Wednesday, July 19th
- Round of 16 - 7:30 AM - 8:34 AM off of tee #1
- Quarterfinals - Approx. 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM off of tee #1
Thursday, July 20th
- Semifinal matches - 7:30 AM & 7:45 AM
- 18-hole final match to determine the Champion - Approximately 11:30 PM off #1 tee
TrackMan Sessions Available
We are pleased to offer tournament participants the opportunity to utilize our TrackMan launch moniter, and to have his/her swing recorded on Sunday July 16th. Specifics will be included in the pre-eve
World & National Rankings
AJGA Performance Based Entry (PBE)
- Champion - 8 Performance Stars
- Semifinalists - 4 Performance Stars
- Quarterfinalists - 1 Performance Star
Palmer Haynes raised the Boys (16-18) trophy at River Hills Country Club. Haynes earned the No. 5 seed after two rounds of stroke-play seeding. He won his first two matches 4 and 2, and 1 up, before defeating Jason Shwartz in 21 holes to secure a spot in the Semifinals. The Orlando native defeated the No. 1 seed, James Earle, to advance to the finals where he won 3 &1.
Click here for the previous year's results.
Practice Round and Practice Facility Information
Practice rounds are available one week prior to the Championship and after 12:00 PM with walking practice rounds available after 2:00 PM on the weekend prior on a space available basis. Spectator Carts will be very limited and avalaible on a first come, first serve basis for the Practice Round. The price for a practice round is $55.00 + tax and includes cart and range balls prior to the round. Please call (904) 599-9040 to arrange your practice round. The proper place to practice your golf swing is on the driving range, hitting multiple shots on the course is unacceptable.
A practice round block has been set up for Sunday, July 16th. Players may register for the practice round block by emailing Brian Nichol at email@example.com. The list of open tee times is under the Tee Time & Info tab above.
Exemptions Earned from this Tournament
- Next year's Amateur Match Play Championship
- Next year's Boys' Junior Championship
- Spectators and Spectator Cart Policy - Click here.
- Caddies - Caddies are not allowed.
- Transportation - Players will ride.
- Championship Pace of Play Policy - Click here.
- Local Rules and Terms of Competition - Click here.
- Championship Policies - Click here to read the withdrawal, dress code, and other policies.
- Procedures for Alternates - Click here for information on how alternates may gain entry into this Championship.
- Conditions/ Schedule - The FSGA Championships Committee/on-site Rules Committee reserves the right to alter any of the conditions, provisions and/or schedules. The decision of the Championships Committee/on-site Rules Committee in any matter will be final.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites: Saint Augustine North
Address: 2300 State Road 16, St. Augustine, FL
- 2 Double Beds - $106/night + tax
- King Bed - $119/night +tax
- Book here!
Booking Deadline: June 16th, 2023
The Palencia Club accepts cash, Visa, and Mastercard as forms of payment.
The Palencia Club
600 Palencia Club Drive
St. Augustine, FL 32095
Click here for directions.