David Ford won the Jones Cup Invitational in dramatic fashion late Sunday afternoon when he made a birdie putt on the 18th hole at the Ocean Forest Golf Club on Sea Island, Georgia, to bring the first tournament of the 2023 season in amateur golf to a rousing conclusion.
Ford’s 18-foot downhill putt at the par-4 finishing hole, which plays along the seashore, gave him a one-shot victory against Caleb Surratt and also landed the Peachtree Corners, Georgia, native his second amateur golf major championship in less than six full months.
Ford, a sophomore at North Carolina, won the Southern Amateur last July at Sea Island Golf Club’s Plantation Course when he tied the tournament scoring record of 20-under par.
At Ocean Forest, Ford led after all three rounds and ended up at 12 under for the championship after carding a 69 in Sunday’s final round. He shot 67 in round one on Friday and 68 in the second round on Saturday on the demanding par-72 layout designed by Rees Jones, which played 7,308 yards this week.
“I’m very thankful for both of them,” Ford said of winning both the long-running Southern Am and now the 19th Jones Cup. “The experience here was just as good as the Southern Am. Both events were amazing.”
This week’s Jones Cup field was as deep as any that may be assembled later this season in amateur golf. The tournament attracted 40 of the top 100 players in the Golfweek/Amateur.com rankings including nine of the top 25 players in those same rankings.
Ford came into 2023 ranked No. 21 in those world rankings.
There wasn’t anyone in the field who Ford respected more than Caleb Surratt, who was ranked No. 24 coming into this week.
He led the University of Tennessee freshman by two strokes going into the final round, and they battled all the way to the finish for the victory along the Georgia coast.
“It feels really good to beat some of the really, really highly-ranked players,” Ford said, “and Caleb Surratt is one of those who comes to mind. He was at the Southern Am as well, but his ranking has moved up since then. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever played with. He’s a guy who I think a lot of people who love to say they beat just because of how good he is. He doesn’t go away. He’s one of the best mentally and physically, so he’s pretty awesome.”
To read the full story, click here to read that and more from our friends at AmateurGolf.com, who were at the Jones Cup all weekend.