Jake Hibbert brought Miami Shores Country Club’s standing course record off the wall on Friday. In fact, Hibbert was still signing his scorecard when a framed, faded round of 62 preserved in the golf shop was brought out for his inspection.
“He didn’t even birdie the first,” Hibbert noted, examining Greg Kopf’s round of 9 under from 2007.
Hibbert did open with birdie in the third round of the Golfweek Miami Amateur. He birdied four of the first five, in fact. After a bogey on the par-3 eighth, a stretch of five birdies and an eagle at Nos. 9-14, the freshman at Florida Atlantic arrived at double-digits under par. He parred in for the low round of his life.
Before Friday, Hibbert had only ever gotten to 8 under.
SCORES: Golfweek Miami Amateur
Hibbert opened with rounds of 73-71 on a course he had never seen before a 36-hole day on Thursday. His final round moved him to 8 under for the tournament. After torrential fall rains in South Florida, Miami Shores was soggy on the opening day. By the time it dried out for the third round, Hibbert was ready to attack. Playing in perfect conditions is a far cry from the wind and rain he was used to growing up in Warrington, England.
Miami Shores’ challenge lies in tiny, elevated green complexes. Hibbert hit every par 5 in two on Friday, playing those holes in 3 under. He poured in putts.
“Greens were in absolutely tremendous condition,” he said. “It’s a privilege to own the new course record.”
Logan Bryant, a Miami native who competed for Florida A&M as a freshman, brought in rounds of 70-67 for a two-shot lead after 36 holes. Bryant played steady golf in the final round. Three birdies kept him even with Hibbert most of the day. A bogey at the par-3 17th dropped him back a shot. He finished solo second at 7 under, one shot ahead of Thomas Salanito and A.J. Ewart in third.
“He won. I made one bogey, had three birdies, I can’t hate myself because he shot 61,” Bryant said. “Happy for him. It just shows I have to get better.”
With his Golfweek Miami Amateur win, Hibbert earned an exemption into the South Beach International Amateur, an elite amateur tournament played across town in December. He had been on the waiting list until winning at Miami Shores.
Now, Hibbert figures, the family Christmas will take place in South Florida instead of England. It’s a change of plans he was quite happy to make.
In the women’s division, Florida Gulf Coast player Haley Yerxa, from Ottawa, Canada, ran away with a 25-shot win with rounds of 70-71-68. Yerxa saw that she had plenty of breathing room heading into the final round and took the opportunity to get aggressive.
She made six birdies in the final round.
“The greens are rolling really nice,” she said. “Once I hit it on I felt confident over the ball putting. I’m striking the ball really well right now. The course is pretty gettable.
“I had a pretty comfortable lead so it felt good to just attack it and go for birdies today.”