Jacksonville Sports Day

JAGA: Sass Outlasts Iturra in Match Play Championship

JACKSONVILLE – College of Charleston rising senior Michael Sass outlasted recent Flagler College graduate Juan Iturra to capture a 2 up victory in the Jacksonville Area Golf Association (JAGA) Match Play Championship finale played at TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium course in Ponte Vedra Beach.

The turning point in the match, which featured a pair of 22-year-olds, came at the famed island green 17^th hole. With the match all square, Iturra hit a 9-iron from 147 yards over the green into the water. Sass then stepped up and jammed his pitching wedge to 3 feet to go 1 up.

Champion Michael Sass holds JAGA Match Play Championship trophy for 2019

A ball in the water off the 18th tee all but sealed the Argentinian Iturra’s fate. He would almost chip in for a bogey before conceding Sass’s bogey putt to end the match.
With the exception of the final score, no player held an advantage of more than 1 up throughout the entire match. Playing from the tips at 7,245 yards, the golf was superb, with Sass recording an unofficial score of 33-38-71 and Iturra 35-41-76, which included double-bogeys on 17 and 18.
The final match was set up Sunday morning on the Stadium course when Sass defeated Chase Baldwin of Jacksonville 4&2 and Iturra birdied the 19^th hole to take down Chris Henderson of Jacksonville and San Jose Country Club.
Sass was born and still resides in Louisville, Ky.  With his family owning a condominium in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., he is familiar with the area. His accolades at the College of Charleston include being named the 2018 Colonial Athletic Conference player of the year.
Sass defeated four Jacksonville residents to reach the finale – Harrison Yazgi (6&5), Charles Collings of Flagler College (3&1), Schonfeld III (4&2) and Baldwin (4&2). He was the third seed having tied for second in the May 26^th qualifier at Jax Beach Golf Club with a 71.
Iturra shot 77 in the qualifier to nail down the 21st seed. He dispatched Colin Surbaugh of Jacksonville (4&3), Sam Dales of Jacksonville (6&5), Robert Mealey of Jacksonville Beach (9&8) and Henderson of Jacksonville (19 holes) to advance to play Sass.
With a concession from Baldwin, Henderson was recognized as the winner of the consolation match. The championship began on Friday afternoon with 32 seeds based on the May qualifier. The first three rounds of matches were contested on Dye’s Valley.
The top finishers will be awarded World Amateur Golf Ranking points. The JAGA Match Play is one of three JAGA tournaments recognized by the WAGR, joined by the First Coast Amateur and the upcoming Jacksonville Amateur.
2016 champion Michael Smith of Ponte Vedra Beach and host TPC Sawgrass was medalist in the qualifier for the second year in a row posting a 70 at Jax Beach. He won his first-round match 6&4 over T. J. Doty of Jacksonville before falling to Grant Sutliff of Cumming, Ga. 4&3.
In addition to becoming the ninth name engraved on the JAGA Match Play Championship trophy, Sass was presented with a sterling silver engraved money clip from Underwood Jewelers and a $500 gift certificate to TPC Sawgrass.
Complete tournament results, photos and more may be found at www.jaxareagolf.org. 

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