Preview: Golfweek Sen. Champ.; '13 POY
Golfweek takes its first national ranking tournament of 2014 to Saddlebrook Resort where Bill Zylstra and Bob Howe will try to defend their 2013 titles. The 54-hole event will be contested on the Saddlebrook course, which was designed by Arnold Palmer. This lush 6,564-yard par-70 layout will transport you back in time to the Florida of the Conquistadores.
The fairways are framed by towering cypress trees filled with Spanish moss while white faced bunkers protect the landing areas. The Saddlebrook course will be a challenge, offering a wide range of shot-making opportunities to the top senior amateur golfers in the country.
When: January 16-18, 2014
Where: Saddlebrook Resort, Tampa, Fla. - Saddlebrook course
Register: www.golfweekevents.com thru January 6, 2014
Of Note: This Golfweek 800 point event is also a certified WAGR international ranking tournament. (World Amateur Golf Ranking)
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Golfweek’s Senior Player of the Year awards: During the luncheon following the tournament on January 18, Golfweek will honor the 2013 Player of the Year in both the senior, as well as super senior divisions.
After an explosive start to the 2013 season, Bill Zylstra, a Plymouth, Mich., native, who now winters in Ocklawaha, Fla., was propelled to the top of the national rankings where he finished for the second straight year. Following his January wins at Old Corkscrew, The Gateway Invitational, and the Golfweek Senior National Championship, the rest of the field was forced to play Zylstra’s version of, catch me if you can.
Dr. Doug Hanzel, the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion from Savannah, Ga., wound up as Zylstra’s closest rival, and finished in second place. Hanzel, who played a limited schedule in 2013, moved to within 1,130 points of Zylstra after late season victories at the Dale Morey Championship and in the senior division of the Dixie Amateur.
Rounding out the top five in the senior division are; No. 3 Paul Schlachter of Pittsburg, Pa., with 4791.5 pts., No. 4 Chip Lutz of Reading, Pa., with 4603.3 pts., and Ron Carter of Monticello, Ind., who finished at No .5 with 4005 points.
In the Super Senior Division there were no surprises, as Ted Smith is set to receive the Player of the Year trophy for the second straight time. His incredible 15,527.5 point season included victories at Old Corkscrew, the Society of Seniors Spring Classic, the Golfweek Senior Amateur, the John Kline Invitational, the U.S. Senior Challenge, the Hessler, the Dave King Invitational, the Porter Cup, the Sunnehanna, the Senior Azalea, the John Owens Invitational, and the Chechessee Invitational.
Count them, that’s twelve wins in the same year against some of the strongest fields in senior amateur golf! We might have witnessed a winning season that will never be duplicated.
Smith had a 10,082.2 point lead over his closest rival Walt Martin of Oakton, Va., who finished the year in second place with 5445.3 points. In third place was Bill Engel of Alexandria, Va., with 5185.5 points. Followed in fourth place by Joe Pavoni of Prospect, Ky., with 5119.3 points and the fifth place finisher was, John Blank of Frostburg, Md., who amassed 4615.3 points.
On the schedule: April 13-15, 2014 - The Golfweek Senior Amateur at PGA West in La Quinta, Cal. Registration is now available at www.golfweekevents.com