NAPLES, FLORIDA I Former University of
Minnesota standout David Constable survived a
tense duel and claimed the Terra Cotta Invitational
at Naples National Golf Club on Sunday. Constable
posted a final-round, even-par 72 to shoot
4-under-par 212 to win by a shot over Tae Wan
Lee, Jim Liu and Mike Miller.
Juan Carlos Benitez took a one-shot lead into
the final round, but playing partner Liu came out
firing, posting three birdies in the first six holes
to get to 7-under par. For a moment, it looked
like it would be a two-man shootout between Liu
and Benitez on the Hurzdan/Fry layout in Naples,
Fla. However, Liu proceeded to bogey three of the
next six holes and found himself tied with
Constable at 4 under after 15 holes.
When Constable bogeyed 16, Liu found himself
alone on top. However, the tables turned quickly
when Constable rebounded with a birdie on the
par- 3 17th. He hit a 6-iron to 20 feet and rolled in
the putt, while Liu yanked his tee shot and could
not get up and in. A four-foot par putt on the final
Constable, 23, completed his eligibility at
the University of Minnesota last spring, when
he earned All-Big Ten second-team honors. He
began his college career at Texas before trans-
ferring to Minnesota during his junior year. His
previous biggest win was when he defeated Kelly
Kraft at the 2010 North & South. Ranked No. 186
in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, this was his
second outing of the year; he struggled to a T46
finish at the Jones Cup in February. Constable
will graduate in May and play amateur golf before
turning pro after the U.S. Amateur in August.
Miller improved his score each round, closing
with a 2-under-par 70 to finish T2. Miller was the
2011 Metropolitan Golf Association (New York)
Player of the Year. He enrolled at Penn State in
2010 but left after a semester.
Liu was hailed as the next Tiger Woods when
he became the youngest champion of the U.S.
Junior at age 14 in 2010. He is currently ranked
16th in the AJGA Polo Junior Rankings and 93rd
in the WAGR. He continues to hunt for his first
elite amateur title.
Lee, a high school junior, is Korean born and
lives near Orlando. He is ranked No. 34 in the
AJGA Polo Junior Rankings. Lee, seventh in the
Asian Amateur last fall, double-bogeyed the first
hole, but then quietly got himself back into con-
tention with an even-par back nine.
Benitez faded on the back nine, carding four
bogeys to fall out of contention, finishing T6 at
1-over 217. The unheralded Benitez is a freshman
at Texas State University and hails from Puebla,
Mexico. He has played in nine of the team’s 10
tournaments during the fall/spring season and
has a scoring average of 73.8.
www.globalgolfpost.com APRIL 16, 2012
Matthew NeSmith, a talented junior who
recently won the Azalea Invitational, turned in an-
other good showing. He shot 1-under 215 to finish
alone in fifth. First-round leader Curtis Thompson,
a freshman at LSU, finished at 1-over 217, good for
a T6 finish with Benitez and Chelso Barrett.
TERRA COTTA NOTE
5 4 TOUR WINS
*Tour stats taken from pgatour.com