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Three bogeys in a row? Stifling heat? No problem for Jacksonville Amateur leader Jeff Dennis

Three consecutive bogeys early in his round on Friday at the San Jose Country Club didn’t frustrate Jeff Dennis.

He had enough confidence in his game to know he’d battle back.

That he did. Dennis, an assistant golf coach at the University of North Florida, played his last 12 holes at 6-under, without another bogey, and with a 67 took a two-shot lead in the Jacksonville Area Golf Association Amateur Championship at 11-under-par 133.

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Will Davis (69), a rising Davidson junior and a Wolfson graduate who shared the first-round lead with Dennis is at 9-under and Sam Geise of Ponte Vedra Beach (69) birdied three of the four par-5 holes and is third at 8-under.

Tied at 6-under are defending champion Jason Duff (71) and Andrew Riley (71), who will be teammates next month at North Florida. Riley, the reigning NCAA Division II national champion, is transferring to UNF — where they will both play for head coach Scott Schroeder and Dennis.

Jeff Dennis watches his tee shot at the par-3 eighth hole of the San Jose County Club during the second round of the Jacksonville Amateur. Dennis leads by two shots entering Saturday’s final round.

Keeping the trophy at UNF

Dennis, for one, wants the winner’s trophy to stay in the UNF locker room, where it’s resided since Duff smoked the field at Deerwood last year to win by 11 shots and become the 10th Osprey player to win Jacksonville amateur (in a span of 20 years) and the third in the last four years.

Defending Jacksonville Amateur champion Jason Duff adjusts his driver to give him the proper drop area to the right of the sixth green of the San Jose Country Club on Friday during the second round of the Jacksonville Amateur.  Duff's ball was unplayable.  He made a bogey and finished with a 71.

Defending Jacksonville Amateur champion Jason Duff adjusts his driver to give him the proper drop area to the right of the sixth green of the San Jose Country Club on Friday during the second round of the Jacksonville Amateur. Duff’s ball was unplayable. He made a bogey and finished with a 71.

“If you go down the list of winners there’s a lot of past Ospreys. Just getting my name on there with all those other guys would be really cool,” said Dennis, who played for UNF from 2005-09 and was a three-time All-ASUN player, then joined the UNF staff in 2016 after attempting to play professionally.

Dennis has been around enough to know a round of golf doesn’t hinge on just a few shots and after starting at No. 10 and making two short birdie putts, he bogeyed Nos. 13, 14 and 15. The first two came after he blocked drives to the right and the last was a three-putt.

Jacksonville Amateur leaderboard

Jacksonville Amateur third-round groups, starting times

Despite the heat (it was 97 degrees when the final groups finished), Dennis kept his cool.

“I knew I wasn’t hitting it bad,” he said. “I just happened to hit a couple of bad drives and had to chip out twice. I just knew if I kept swinging the way I’d have plenty of birdie chances. I ended up making a bunch of putts and had a good back nine.”

Dennis fights back

Dennis fought back with a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 16 and a two-putt birdie at the par-5 17th. He turned and dropped four birdie putts of 10 feet or less on the front, ending with a 10-footer at No. 9.

Davis ended his round with a chip-in birdie at No. 9. Geise, a 29-year-old Ohio native who moved to Ponte Vedra 18 months ago hit 13 of 14 fairways.

“There was a little more wind today than the first round, and I had a few more 20- and 30-footers,” he said. “But I’m in the last group and I’m pretty excited about that.”

Duff was keeping pace with Dennis, playing his first 13 holes at 3-under without a bogey. But he bogeyed No. 5 and added another at the par-5 sixth hole after his second shot went under a bush to the right of the green and was unplayable.

The Menendez graduate is trying to become the first repeat winner in the Jacksonville Amateur since Robert Goettlicher in 1999 and 2000.

The cut was 6-over, with 41 players surviving to play on Saturday.

Jacksonville Area Golf Association

62nd annual Jacksonville Amateur

At San Jose Country Club (par-72, 7,027 yards)

Jeff Dennis 66-67–133

Will Davis 66-69–135

Sam Geise 67-69–136

Jason Duff 67-71–138

Andrew Riley 67-71–138

Jeff Golden 72-69–141

Toby Ragland 68-73–141

Sam Davis 74-68–142

David Palm 71-71–142

James Tureskis 73-70–143

Max Barile 71-74–144

Max McKay 73-71–144

Sam Ohno 74-70–144

Zach Lee 74-70–144

Panormitis Karatzas 72-72–144

Thomas Salatino 72-72–144

John Ambrose 72- 73–145

Jackson Klauk 75-70–145

Mark Spencer 75-71–146

Tyler Brown 70-76–146

Evan Raynor 71-75–146

Danny Erickson 75-71–146

Clay Tucker 75-72–147

Graham Nichols 73-74–147

Nate Mosby 75-72–147

Adam Waller 75-72–147

Kevin McDonald 76-71–147

William Shrewsbury 76-71–147

Andrew Morgan 72-76–148

Adam Vermut 73-75–148

Johnny Tucker 75-73–148

Michael Smith 75-74–149

Suttanit Tangyihgyong 68-81–149

Chuck Kirk 77-72–149

Andrew Stewart 78-71–149

Peter Catanzaro 77-72–149

Luke Cusick 76-73–149

Alex Dienes 77-72–149

Thomas Cavanagh 73-77–150

Raines Holmes 73-77–150

Missed the cut

Pablo Mena 73-78–151

Scott Thomas 74-77–151

Alex Taylor 75-76–151

Harrison Harper 75-76–151

Stewart Slayden 78-73–151

Chad Knickerbocker 76-75–151

Duke Butler IV 73-79–152

Jackson Sullivan 76-76–152

Patrick Hamlin 78-75–153

Matt Kleinrock 76-77–153

Dan Huffingham 78-76–154

Brent Edwards 77-78–155

Aaron DeWitt 78-77–155

Harrell Robinson Jr. 78-77–155

David Locht 79-76–155

Jake Fournier 75-80–155

Mike Holland 75-80–155

Michael Del Rocco 76-79–155

Brock Buhnerkemper 77-78–155

Clark Tiller 77-79–156

Kevin Sullivan 75-81–156

Mitchell Nolan 78-78–156

Matthew Myers 80-77–157

Alexander Waller 79-78–157

John Lobb 80-78–158

Drew Miller 82-77–159

John Makarauskas 77-82–159

Mitch Howard 81-79–160

Rocky Fraleigh 78-84–162

Jackson March 82-82–164

Drew DeBrito 81-83–164

Brian Blackburn 89-77–166

Patten Williams 81-76–167

John Milton 80-87–167

Matt Miller 88-79–167

Teddy Sotsky 82-83–163

Richard Owen 83-80–163

Easton Oliva 83-82–165

Aaron Badz 86-83–169

Tucker Bagnardi 80-91–171

Ryan Wharton 87-85–172

Stewart Knight 92-80–172

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: UNF assistant Jeff Dennis grabs two-shot lead in Jacksonville Amateur

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