BROOKSVILLE, Fla. – Florida Atlantic University rising senior golfer Ricky Hendler placed second in a field of 64 competitors at the Florida State Golf Association Amateur Match Play Championship on Aug. 6 at the Southern Hills Plantation Club.
Hendler qualified for the event and placed 10th in the seeding round before moving on to the bracket where he defeated Tyler Pham 6-and-5 in the opening round. Hendler then topped Kuihao Huang 3-and-2 in the round of 32 before beating Chris Berens 4-and-3 in the round of 16. In the quarterfinals, Hendler defeated Christian Bosso 4-and-3 before winning by the same score in the semifinals against the No. 1 seed Dustin Dingus. In the finals against Jacob Huizinga, Hendler battled back from three down on the 12th hole to square the match on the 15th after tallying five birdies. The two remained all square until the 22nd hole where Huizinga recorded a birdie to win the match.
“I had such a great experience playing in the Florida amateur match play championships,” Hendler said. “I had to go through a local qualifier where I came third and that definitely helped my confidence. I have been struggling through a slump since last spring at conference, but have been working really hard so I knew good results would start to come and it was great timing in such a big event right before school starts.”
“Getting to the finals and having an opportunity to nearly win a tournament that required so many obstacles to actually get there was a win in itself. I was three down in the finals and fought my way back. I had a 10-foot putt on 18 to win the tournament but I didn't capitalize and my opponent made some really clutch putts to keep the match going to hole 22. I have learned so much from being under the pressure of heads up competition and I will channel this newfound confidence into the upcoming season here at FAU and use it on the long road to conference as well as nationals.”