Jarred Garcia of Jacksonville birdied three of the last five holes to overtake clubhouse leader Landon Lyons of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and capture the APGA Tour Black History Month Classic Sunday in windy conditions on the Dye Course at PGA Golf Club. It was his first APGA Tour triumph since the 2019 Miami event, earning him the first-place prize of $7,695.
Lyons, co-winner of the first tournament of the year and winner of the APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open Invitational at Torrey Pines last month, shot a five-under 67 but his bid for a third straight triumph fell just short. First round leader Rafa Guerrero Lauria of Pompano Beach finished tied for sixth with 2020 APGA Tour Point Standings Champion Tim O’Neal and circuit veteran Rovanta Young.
Joey Stills, son of former PGA TOUR player and APGA Tour co-founder Adrian Stills, finished at one-under to tie for third place with Patrick Newcomb of Jacksonville. Trey Valentine finished in fifth place alone with an even part 144 over the 36 holes on the prestigious, par-72, Pete Dye layout.
Garcia, 31, a graduate of the University of North Florida who has held status on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, shot a six under 138, taking the lead with a five-foot putt on the 17th hole.
“I’ve found something in my swing and these last three days are the best I’ve hit the ball, I think ever,” offered Garcia, who plans to play the full APGA Tour schedule. “The courses we’re playing are amazing. The tour has taken a huge jump. Thanks to the APGA Tour, I’m now playing with fitted clubs for the first time.”
The APGA Tour now heads to St. Augustine for APGA Tour at World Golf Village March 21-23 before going west for April tournaments at PGA Tour-owned TPC (Tournament Players Club) courses in Las Vegas and Scottsdale. The 13-event, $350,000 APGA Tour season is the largest in its 12-year history as the circuit for minority players pursues its mission of bringing greater diversity to the sport of golf.
On Friday, APGA Tour Executive Director Cole Smith and PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh honored PGA Professionals Tom Woodard, Wyatt Worthington II, Kennie Sims, Clay Myers and Doug Smith for their contributions to golf diversity initiatives. All activities are being conducted under social-distancing and health/safety guidelines in conjunction with regional authorities.
The 47-player field included Kamaiu Johnson and Kevin Hall, standout APGA Tour regulars who teed off earlier this month with PGA TOUR players in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Johnson is preparing to play in the PGA TOUR’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and Honda Classic in the coming weeks. APGA Tour star Willie Mack was absent from the field because he played in the Genesis Invitational earlier this week, missing the cut.