Former Eastern Florida State Titan John Houchin Wins Amateur Match Play Championship in Hobe Sound

Houchin will play, attend Stetson University in the Fall

Former Eastern Florida State College men’s golfer John Houchin won the 30th Amateur Match Play Championship at Hobe Sound Golf Club on Sunday. (EFSC image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Former Eastern Florida State College men’s golfer John Houchin won the 30th Amateur Match Play Championship at Hobe Sound Golf Club on Sunday.

Houchin, who will play and attend Stetson University in the Fall, defeated the 2019 Boys’ Junior champion, Justin Ross, in 21 holes, then posted a win in 19 holes against Scott Turner to advance to the semifinals.

Houchin faced Andrew Clark in the semifinals and went down two early but won four of five holes between five and nine to take the lead and held on to post the 1-up win and advance to the final.

“In the semifinal match I was down early, but just kept telling myself that if I could keep hitting good shots and put pressure on my opponent, anything could happen,” Houchin said.

“Match play relies heavily on momentum so all I needed was one good hole to get all the momentum back on my side. And sure enough, that’s what happened. After being 2 down thru 4, I I won the 5th hole, 7th, 8th, and 9th to make the turn at 2 up.”

“After that, I just tried to stay in the moment and remind myself that I’m in control of the match now.”

In the final, Houchin faced Joey Latowski and got off to a quick start, winning the first and third holes. After Latowski got one back at No. 5 Houchin won the seventh and eighth to extend his lead to 3 up. Houchin closed out the match, taking three-straight holes on Nos. 12-14, to capture the championship with a 5-and-4 win.

“Honestly, it was kind of just like a sigh of relief that I had made it this far since it’s a tough field and tough to get through that many opponents undefeated. I was the only player on the field to win every match I played. I had played 106 holes up to that point, so 18 holes looked very small at that point,” Houchin said.

“Once it was down to one guy, I just focused really hard on playing solid golf. Nothing crazy. I got up early and told myself to hold on for a couple more holes, keep playing solid golf and make the other guy do something spectacular to catch up. And sure enough, it was enough to win.”

It was Houchin’s first win in a Florida State Golf Association event.

The Amateur Match Play began with 64 players, who advanced to the championship through qualifying and exempt players, playing three matches in group play on Thursday and Friday.

The 16 group winners advanced to the Round of 16 on Saturday, with a single elimination match play to determine the champion.

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