Seth Strickland stands 18 holes from becoming the second winningest competitor in GCSAA National Championship history.
The superintendent at Miami Shores CC fired a 2-under-par 70 on the Panther Lake Course at Orange County National Sunday to take the first-round lead in the 2017 GCSAA National Championship in Orlando. That was good for a one-shot lead over Rob Roy from The River Club in Suwanee, Ga., who was the only other player under par in round one with his 1-under 71.
Strickland is a three-time winner of GCSAA's golf event (2005, 2008 and 2009), one of five men to win the event three times. With a win in the final round Monday at the Ritz-Carlton GC, Grande Lakes, Strickland would trail only all-time leader Emil Mashie, who won the event on six occasions — 1940,1941, 1946, 1948, 1949 and 1950, in overall number of titles
Strickland found himself 1-over-par through six holes before he turned it on coming down the stretch. He used his length to take advantage of Panther Lake's final four par 5s, recording birdies on three of them — the seventh, 10th and 14th holes.
Three other past champions find themselves within striking distance. 2015 champion Matt Cowan from the Fazio Canyons Course at Barton Creek in San Antonio, shot a 2-over-par 74, 2010 champion Adam Hess from Tour 18 at Rose Creek GC in Edmond, Okla., fired a 3-over-par 75 and defending champion Shawn Westacott from Maridoe GC in Carrollton, Texas, finished at 4-over-par 76.
The eventual winner of the GCSAA National Championship won't be the only one bringing home hardware following tomorrow's final round. The Toro Co. is offering a Workman GTX for a hole-in-one during tournament play, but if no one accomplishes that feat, they will be raffling off that utility vehicle to one lucky tournament participant during the event's 19th Hole Reception.