Gianchandani, Valdes win Space Coast Amateur titles


Brendan Valdes tees off on the first hole at Duran Golf Club during the Space Coast Amateur Championship. Valdes won the men's title in a two-hole playoff.

Courtesy of the Duran Golf Club

This year’s Space Coast Amateur Championship at the Duran Golf Club had it all.

While Ami Gianchandani of New Jersey successfully defended her women’s championship, the men’s title went to a two-hole playoff that saw Brendan Valdes of Orlando prevail against Jeff Mocini of Melbourne to claim the title.

“I hit the ball great,” Valdes said in a press release. “I hit the driver especially well all event which put me in great position, especially on the playoff holes.”

Valdes, who has committed to play at Auburn University, shot 1-under par in regulation during the two-day event held during the end of March. That put him in a tie with Mocini to force the playoff.

Defending champion, and former Viera High standout Kyle Decenzo, shot 68 for the low round of the day. He finished third.

Kevin Altenhof won the Senior Division championship and set a tournament record in the process, finishing at 10-under during the tournament’s two rounds. He won by eight strokes.

Mike Spragins won the Net Division title, while Jeff Henning finished second.

Mark Larsen won the Men’s A Flight after finishing with a two-day total of 150. William Casteel won the Net Division and Chris McBride was second. In the B Flight, Dale Martin was victorious in the Gross Division after shooting 169. Nan Ou claimed the Net ahead of second-place finisher Jordan Yang.

While the men’s tournament had plenty of drama, Gianchandani turned in a strong performance to win a tournament that, just like the men’s side, drew top players from around the area and from around the country.

Gianchandani, a freshman on the Yale women’s golf team, also is a student of Duran Head PGA Professional Matt Morrison and spends time in Viera with her family while working on her game.

She shot back-to-back even-par scores of 72 to win the tournament by seven strokes.

“I am honored to once again win this championship,” Gianchandani said in a press release. “I struck the ball great for both days and enjoyed the course and the competition.”

Second place went to Britta Snyder, who lives in Iowa and is committed to Baylor University.

Mary Kate Smith, a Viera High senior who has signed to play at Lipscomb University, came in third.

In the First Flight, Rose Poss of Viera won the Low Gross Division with a two-day total of 152. Carolyn Hough captured Low Net with even-par 144. In the Second Flight, Marilyn Nagel captured Low Gross, while Pam Brockmeyer won Low Net honors.

“We were thrilled with the excitement and turnout of the Women’s Space Coast Amateur,” Morrison said in the release. “Growing the game of golf, in particular women’s golf, is very important to Duran Golf Club. To be able to offer an event like this and draw some of the top talent in the country is amazing.”

Duran will be the site of this year’s NJCAA National Championship May 12 to 17. The event will be hosted by Eastern Florida State College.