Andrew Riley not only had a successful freshman season at the Palm Beach Atlantic, but he established several program milestones and records in the process.
And the Creekside High School Graduate and 2020 Times-Union high school boys golf player of the year isn’t finished yet.
Riley became the first Palm Beach Atlantic player in history to qualify for the NCAA Division II tournament, off his tie for the 24th in the Sunshine State Conference tournament. Riley will play in the NCAA South Region at the Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Valdosta, Ga., May 5-7.
More:North Florida men’s golf captures seventh ASUN title, earns 12th consecutive NCAA tournament berth
More:Mindy Herrick, Christin Eisenbeiss lead the way as UNF Women’s golf team wins ASUN title
Prior to the SSC tournament, Riley became the first PBA player to earn All-SSC honors when he was named to the second team. Riley had four top-10 finishes in eight starts – three during the spring season – and set the school record with a 71.9 stroke average and logged the third-lowest 54-hole total at 211, in two tournaments.
Palm Beach Atlantic has had a golf program for nine seasons.
Riley won’t be the only local representative in the South Region. Brothers Johnny and Clay Tucker of Jacksonville, who play for Florida Southern, will compete for the Moccasins after they scored an at-large bid. Florida Southern finished second to Barry in the SSC and are in their 26th consecutive NCAA tournament.
Johnny Tucker tied for 14th in the SSC tournament and Clay Tucker tied for 29th.
Flagler College senior Mauro Baez will play in the Southeast region (also at Kinderlou) as an individual after the Saints finished second in the Peach Belt Conference. He tied for second in the conference tournament last week at Sea Palms in St. Simons Island, Ga.
Ospreys have momentum
The University of North Florida Women’s Golf Team is making its fourth NCAA tournament appearance beginning May 9 at the Seminole Legacy Golf Club in Tallahassee.
They may have more moments going into the tournament than they’ve ever had.
UNF was an automatic Qualifier after winning its third ASUN title and is the ninth seed in Tallahassee. Entering the regional, the Ospreys are on track for the program record for team single-round scoring average (289.78), have the fifth-best mark in the regional and are 13th in the Nation.
South Carolina is the top seed in Tallahassee, followed by UCLA, Florida State, Ole Miss, Illinois, Mississippi State, Miami and Denver. The top-four teams and the top-two individuals not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Women’s Tournament on May 20-25 at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
UNF’s lineup will be graduates Sara McKevitt of Ponte Vedra Beach and Mindy Herrick, senior Daniela Gonzalez and sophomores Christin Eisenbeiss and Jesse Cai.
There may be no junior golfer in the 13-15 year-old range playing better golf right now than Miles Russell of Jacksonville Beach.
Russell won his third FJT 13-15 event of the season last Sunday when he birdied four of his last five holes and his last three to force a playoff with Clipper Salmon of Tampa, then birdied the third playoff hole to win at the Heritage Oaks Golf and Country Club in Sarasota.
Both players finished 5-under 139. Salmon shot 68 in the first round for a two-shot lead over Russell, who closed with a 69 to Salmon’s 71. Russell’s winning putt came from 12 feet.
Russell has three victories and a tie for second in five FJT 13-15 starts this season. Counting 2021, his last season in the 9-12 age group, Russell has five victories and 11 finishes of fourth or higher in 12 starts.
Tesori closes strong
Paul Tesori of Nocatee didn’t win the 45th Florida Senior Open this week at the Miromar Lakes Beach and Golf Club.
But he won the final round.
Tesori birdied three of his first five holes and went on to post the low round of the day, a 6-under, bogey-free 66 to Rocket 36 spots up the Leaderboard and finish in a tie for fifth at 2-under-par 214 , three shots out of a playoff involving Gene Fieger of Naples, Mark Mielke of Atlantis and Todd Franks of Ft. Myers.
Fieger won the Championship with a par on the first playoff hole.
Tesori opened with rounds of 76-72. He tied for third among amateurs with JD Schlotterback of Naples, behind Franks and Miles McConnell of Tampa.
Mark Spencer of Jacksonville tied for 11th at 1-under 215 and Steve Carter of St. Augustine tied for 15th at even-par 216. Sixteen players finished with five shots of the playoff trio.
Therese Quinn of Jacksonville posted a 15-over 231 at the Eagle Creek Golf and Country Club in Naples to finish fifth in the Florida Women’s Senior Amateur, six shots behind Winner Terrill Samuel of Boynton Beach.
Carolyn Creekmore of Ponte Vedra Beach (237) tied for 13th. Christine Hunt of Ponte Vedra (165 for 36 holes) finished Solo fourth in the Super-Senior division, six behind Winner Taffy Brower.
Tours pitch in
The PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and the United States Golf Association will provide assistance and help raise awareness for Patriot Golf Days on Memorial Day weekend. Patriot Golf Days offers funding in support of Veterans and military families through Folds of Honor and PGA HOPE, the Flagship military program of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America.
Patriot Golf Days began as a grassroots fundraising celebration in 2007, and over the last 15 years, it has grown to encompass a variety of fundraising efforts led by PGA Professionals and Golfers in all 50 states.
These efforts have accounted for over $ 60 million and funded more than 12,000 Scholarships to help Veterans, their spouses and children, but there remains a significant unmet need in the country. Over 6,000 US troops were killed and approximately 52,000 were wounded in the 20 years the United States was at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among military dependents, only a fraction receive educational assistance. Funds donated over the holiday weekend are used in the local community where the money is raised.
Since its inception, PGA HOPE has served over 10,000 Veterans in 46 states. Led by more than 200 PGA Professionals, the PGA HOPE will serve more than 7,500 Veterans in 2022.
For more information about Patriot Golf Days visit www.patriotgolfdays.com.