GCSAA National Championship: Two Sunshine State supers lead the way

Floridians Deron Zendt and Seth Strickland are atop the leaderboard after the first round; defending champ Steve Gilley is also in the hunt.


GCSAA scramble tournament
In addition to the National Championship and Golf Classic, Sunday’s action at the GCSAA Golf Championships included the scramble tournament at Shingle Creek Golf Club. Photos by Montana Pritchard

Home-field advantage was in full effect during the first round of the GCSAA National Championship Sunday in Orlando, Fla.

Deron Zendt and Seth Strickland — both Florida golf course superintendents and past champions in the event — found themselves at the top of the leaderboard following the first day of competition. Zendt, the superintendent at Pine Tree Golf Club in Boynton Beach, Fla., and the 2014 champion, fired a 2-under-par 70 on the International Course at ChampionsGate to take a two-shot lead at the halfway point of the 36-hole tournament.

Among a pair who shot even-par 70s in the first round was Seth Strickland, the superintendent at Miami Shores (Fla.) Country Club. Strickland is a three-time winner of the GCSAA National Championship, taking home the trophy in 2005, 2008 and 2009. The only non-Floridian among the top three was defending champion Steve Gilley from Panorama Golf Club in Conroe, Texas, who joined Strickland with a 70.

Three superintendents were three shots off the lead after first-round 71s: Tanner Chrastecky from Houston Oaks Golf Course in College Station, Texas; John Gianopoulos from White Deer Run Golf Course in Vernon Hills, Ill.; and 2016 champion Shawn Westacott from Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas.

The GCSAA Golf Championships — which include the flighted Golf Classic — will conclude Monday and are presented in partnership with The Toro Co. for the 26th consecutive year. For complete results and to follow the action live, check out the GCSAA Golf Championships on Golf Genius.

A few more scenes from the around the 2020 GCSAA Golf Championships:

Florida golf course wildlife

Golf course superintendent tournament

GCSAA superintendent golf tournament

Florida golf wildlife

GCSAA golf tournament

GCSAA 2020 Golf Championships

Scott Hollister is GCM’s editor-in-chief.