Jupiter’s Daniel Berger completed his march to victory in the 82nd Dixie Amateur Friday, posting one of only four scores under par at Heron Bay Golf Club. His final round 70, 22-under par 265 total was 13 shots ahead of playing companion Tom Loveland.
Berger, who birdied the first four holes of the tournament earlier in the week to take command of the event right from the start, never was less than seven shots ahead of the field on a day in which South Florida’s first cold front of the season came through, dropping temperatures 20 degrees in 25-30 mile per hour winds.
“I knew it was not feasible for anyone to shoot 63 today,” the Florida State University sophomore said after accepting the trophy. “My attitude today was make it a damage control round and try to make as many pars as I could.”
Richard Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., slipped into third place after his 71, 279 total edged Trey Mullinax, who was fourth at 280.
Loveland and Mullinax, both from the Birmingham, Ala., area and University of Alabama teammates, were playing in the final group with Berger but with the strong winds, never were able to mount an attack, closing with a pair of 74s.
“I really wasn’t nervous at all today,” said Berger, who had only four bogeys all week, two in the final round. His chip in for par after a poor second shot on number 12 made it a bit easier for him to breathe. “I was probably looking at bogey or double at that point but I chipped it in for par and that’s when I kind of knew I was going to win.”
According to Berger’s father Jay, a former touring professional tennis player, the Dixie is Daniel’s first big amateur victory, although he did win the U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifying tournament earlier in 2012 at Weston Hills Country Club in western Broward County.
All week Heron Bay was giving up low numbers, but when the wind comes up, it is an entirely different course. The best round of the day was just a 69 posted by David Erdy of Bloomington, Ind.
The Dixie was contested on three ClubLink courses with the players completing one round each at Heron Bay in Coral Springs, Woodlands Country Club in Tamarac, and Palm Aire Country Club in Pompano Beach, before the 54-hole cut brought 73 players back for a second go round at Heron Bay.
For full final round results, please visit www.dixieamateur.com.