Chip Lutz made a twisting 8-foot par putt on his final hole March 13 to shoot 64 and win the Florida Azalea Senior by one shot over Bruce Scamehorn, who missed an 8-footer for birdie at his last and also shot 64. Lutz and Scamehorn finished on opposite nines, eliminating a stare-down finish at the 18th.
There were many elements of the 5,800-yard Palatka (Fla.) Golf Club that were a bit off-kilter. To begin with, the course has to be played at such a short length because the Donald Ross-designed greens and surrounds are such a test. Calm conditions and temperatures in the 70s helped scoring conditions.
The contenders played leaderboard leapfrog during the final round. Mark Weston, who led by two shots after opening with rounds of 68-67, fell to a 75 for an even-par 210 total and a sixth-place finish. David Anthony and Berger Warner were trailing by two entering the final round, but shot scores of 68 and 70, respectively, that were good enough for third and fourth place. Kim Schwenke, winner of the senior division at the Gasparilla Invitational three weeks ago, posted a final-round 66 to finish fifth.
Even though they weren’t paired together, Lutz and Scamehorn took turns firing broadsides at each other during the final round. Lutz eagled his first hole of the day, the par-5 10th, while Scamehorn made four birdies on the front. It all came down to those 8-footers on Nos. 9 (Lutz) and 18 (Scamehorn).
Lutz, the top-ranked player in the 2010 Golfweek/Wilson Golf Senior Amateur Rankings, is two for two in 2011. He also won the Golfweek Senior National Championship at Doral in January.
“I had six guys breathing down my neck all day,” Lutz said. “This is as good as I can play and it is an honor to win the Donald Ross Trophy against such a tremendous field.”
The Donald Ross Trophy is 45 pounds of solid bronze. Wrapped in a towel, Ross’ figure became carry-on luggage on Lutz’s flight home to Reading, Pa.
In the super senior division, Gary Shimmin shot 10-over 220 for a two-shot victory over Bill Ploeger and Bill Stallings. This was Shimmin’s first win in 2011.
–Ronnie Tumlin contributed to this story.