Jacksonville Sports Day

GOLF: Elite National and International Golfers Headed to Hidden Hills

JACKSONVILLE –  The Jacksonville Area Golf Association (JAGA) says that it has reached a full field of 78 entries for next month’s 2019 JAGA First Coast Amateur, to be played at the Arnold Palmer-designed Hidden Hills Golf Club in Jacksonville.

The third edition of the First Coast Amateur will be played over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Jan. 19-21, 2019. It is the only JAGA-run event that is promoted nationally and features multi-state and multi-national participation. The 54-hole stroke-play championship attracts some of the nation’s top amateur, collegiate and junior talent, along with many of the best golfers from North Florida and the state of Florida.

The top finishers will receive World Amateur Golf Ranking points.

Of the 78 contestants, 51 have plus handicap indexes, with 10 more registering indexes of 0.0.

Ages range from 16 to 64, with the average age being a shade over 22. At 16 years, five months, Gordan Brixi of Potomac, Md. is the youngest player in the field.

All 78 competitors will vie for the First Coast Amateur title. A separate tournament within the tournament for mid-amateurs – those age 25 and older – will also be conducted.

Cole Bradley of Purdue University, who claimed a one-shot victory in January, is scheduled to return to Hidden Hills to defend his First Coast Amateur title. Bradley is the son of former University of North Florida assistant coach (2009-12) and current Purdue head coach, Rob Bradley.

Twelve players will vie for the two titles, including 1990 JAGA Jacksonville Amateur champion Mike Bodney of TPC Sawgrass, who at age 64 is the most veteran competitor in the field. Also in both fields are 2011 JAGA Senior Amateur champion and 2019 Underwood Cup Amateur team captain John Milton of Queen’s Harbour Golf Club (one month plus younger than Bodney) and 2016 JAGA Match Play champion Mike Smith of TPC Sawgrass.

“This year’s response from top golfers from all over the eastern half of the United States has been fantastic,” said Jeff Adams and Joel Lamp, JAGA directors and co-chairmen of the First Coast Amateur. “Word of the JAGA First Coast Amateur is clearly spreading, and the players are taking advantage of the opportunity to play an elite level event in January, particularly the college golfers, who are in between their fall and spring seasons and looking to stay sharp against strong competition. The First Coast Amateur is providing that opportunity. We think the championship is gaining momentum and notoriety on the national amateur golf scene.”

JAGA is accepting additional entries from players who wish to be placed on the priority waiting list in anticipation of player withdrawals prior to the start of the tournament.


The First Coast Amateur is sponsored and conducted by the Jacksonville Amateur Golf Association, which annually promotes Jacksonville’s top-level amateur competitions and has since 1954.

Veteran rules official Jim Kavanagh will oversee course set-up, rules and general competition needs. He will be supported by prominent rules experts who have current or former affiliations with the PGA TOUR, USGA, FSGA and California State Golf Association.

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