“It’s been almost a year since Andy Pope teed it up in a professional event, but he ended the week raising the trophy at the Florida Open Championship taking home the $15,000 first-place check.
Pope fired a 3-under 68 on Sunday to capture the 76th Florida Open title and secured the three-shot victory with a 15-under 199 for the championship with rounds of 68-63-68. This is the first professional win for Pope since 2013.
“Anytime you can win an event with 156 guys it is a pretty big accomplishment,” Pope said. “To be in the last group and hang on to get it done today, it means a lot. Especially representing Florida and The FSGA and the history that goes with it, it is pretty cool to have your name etched into a trophy.”
After taking the 36-hole lead with a second-round 63, Pope got off to slow in the final round with a bogey on the second. Derek Bard, a past U.S. Amateur finalist, made a run on the front nine, playing his first eight holes at 3-under to take a share of the lead at 11-under.
After reaching the par-5 eighth in two, Pope rolled in his first birdie of the day to take back the lead at 12-under. A lead that he would keep for the remainder of the championship. The Orange Tree Golf Club member kept it rolling on the back side, birdieing the 11th and the 12th to extend his lead to three shots at 14-under.
“The pins were tucked so much that I knew guys weren’t going to be able to shoot 6 under or 7 under and chase me down,” Pope said. “I thought if I just played solid, I would have a good chance.”
After playing the next four holes at even par, Pope hit his drive on the 17th and hit 3 wood up on the green to 20 feet, rolling in the putt for eagle to move to 16-under for the championship and a four shot lead with one hole to play. He finished with a bogey on the 18th and secured the championship victory with a final-round 68.
“I wasn’t looking at the leaderboard all day. Just focusing on my game and I knew when I tapped in on the 18th and heard the applause that it was enough,” Pope said as he walked off the green as the 76th Florida Open champion. Pope and the General Manager of Bradenton Country Club, Dave Taylor, played a lot of rounds together in the Orlando area going back over 20 years and shaking his hand as the Champion behind the 18th green meant a lot to the both of them.
This is the first FSGA Championship win for Pope, who was playing in his third Florida Open Championship. Pope’s second-round 63 was tied for the low round of the championship and his 15-under 199 for the championship is the second lowest total score in Florida Open history.
“I had high expectations, but when you have not been playing competitively, it is a different game,” Pope said. “You get out here and all of a sudden maybe you do not trust your stuff as much. It was nice to put it all on the line again and get the juices going and feel the nerves.”
Derek Bard and Pete Kellerman both took home a share of second place, posting a 12-under 202 and taking home $7,187.50 each. Daniel Robinson finished fourth at 10-under 204, ending the weekend with rounds of 66-68-70 and collecting $4,583.
Nathan Bertsch fired a final-round 67 to earn low-amateur honors and take ninth place at 8-under 206. The Sarasota native carded an eagle and three birdies in the final round to capture the honors. Jacob Penny, an amateur, carded a final-round 66 to finish in a tie for 20th at 4-under 210. His final-round 66 was the low round of the day.”
This post was written by and can be found on the Florida Golf Association website.