Michael Barnard (Gallatin, Tenn.) shot a final-round 1-under 71 — the low round on another blustery day at Eagle Trace Golf Club — to win the Dixie Amateur Championship by five shots in Coral Springs, Fla.
The redshirt freshman at Middle Tennessee State University started the day one shot behind leader Bennett Ruby of Waterloo, Canada. Playing in the final round with Ruby and another Canadian, Zack Mason of Toronto, Barnard held firm while his playing competitors fell away in the ever present wind, which blew all four days at Eagle Trace as a cold front moved across the area.
Ruby got off to a slow start, with bogeys at two of his first four holes, but he still was tied for the lead until a brutal triple bogey at the par-5 5th hole which left him playing catch-up all day. He never could regain the lost ground and eventually closed with a 77 to finish second, five shots behind Barnard.
Mason hung in there a little longer, but he too suffered a rough stretch, making two doubles and two bogeys in a five-hole stretch on the back nine. He finished with a 79 and a tie for fifth with another Canadian, mid-amateur Phil Arci, at 9 over..
Another mid-amateur, Vincent Kwon (Marlton, N.J.), shot an even-par 72 to pull into a tie for second with Ruby at 6 over.
Noah Connor (Reidsville, N.C.), a freshman at UNC Greensboro, shot a 71 (the low round along with Barnard and two others) to finish fourth at 8 over par.
This was the 89th playing of the storied tournament that has moved locations over the years but has settled on Eagle Trace Golf Club, the former site of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, which once again proved itself as a premier championship test, especially with the wind playing havoc for four days.