With the PGA Tour Champions turning their focus to points instead of dollars during the run up to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, a group of the world’s elite senior amateurs are also ready to compete for points in the first ever national championship for players age 65 and older.
The Scoop: The 54-hole, Golfweek U.S. Super Senior & Legends National Championship is set to begin Wednesday on the Palm Course at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Looking to fill a USGA void, the two divisions, Super Senior (age 65-69) and Legends (age 70+) will compete separately for the right to be called a national champion. With a field that includes the winners of numerous state championships, the competition will be fierce for players looking to add a national title to their already impressive list of accomplishments.
The Course: Redesigned in 2013 by Arnold Palmer, the Palm features 9 water holes and 59 bunkers to complement its new green complexes and newly shaped tee’s. Home to almost half a century of PGA Tour golf, the Palm remains a place “where dreams come true.”
Players to Watch: George Washburn of Frederick, Md. is sitting comfortably at the top of the national rankings in the Legends division. With an almost unsurmountable lead over his closest rival, look for Washburn to finish at or near the top of the leaderboard and go on to his second Player of the Year trophy in the Legends division.
Joe Pavoni of Prospect, Ky. currently at number three in the Legends Division, has an outside shot at the trophy. A win would move Pavoni to second place in the national rankings but he would still have to run the table to take the No. 1 position from Washburn.
In the Super Senior division, Dr. Rob Hess of Casselberry, Fla. has a slim lead over Paul Schlachter of Pittsburgh. With Schlachter not competing this week, Hess appears to have firm control of the top spot. His closest competing rival, Gary Kirwan of McKinney, Texas trails Hess by 1,530 points and even a Kirwan victory would leave Hess in the top spot.
About the Senior Amateur Rankings: The senior national rankings are made up of 41 tournaments during the year. Each tournament is awarded points based on its historical significance and its traditional strength of field. The top three players in each division, Senior (age 55-64), Super Senior (age 65-69) and Legends (70+), are honored each January during the Senior Player of the Year Classic. The January 2018 tournament will be held Jan. 15-18 on the Nicklaus course at Reunion Resort in Orlando.
Coming Up: Dec. 9-12, 2017 – The Golfweek Tournament of Champions moves to Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, Fla. The tournament will be played on both the top-rated Quarry Course and the equally impressive Ranch course. Registration is currently open to senior amateurs age 55 and up. Visit www.golfweekevents.com for more information and to register.
Jan. 15-18, 2018 – The Senior Player of the Year Classic at Reunion Resort in Orlando. Golf at Reunion is unlike anywhere else in the world. In fact, it’s the only place where you will find signature courses designed by three of golf’s greatest legends; Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and the “King,” Arnold Palmer. The Nicklaus course is designed to tempt golfers into hitting risky shots with potentially big payoffs. The course challenges the golfer to step up to the ball with a carefully organized series of shots in mind.
Join us for the Player of the Year Classic, where we will honor Golfweek’s top three nationally-ranked players in the Senior, Super Senior and Legends division. We will also present the prestigious “Yancey Ford Award” honoring an individual who has made significant lifetime contributions to amateur golf.
Registration will open for The Senior Player of the Year Classic at Reunion Resort on Tuesday. Go to www.golfweekevents.com and follow the link for more information.
April 4-7, 2018 – The Golfweek Senior Amateur Championship returns to PGA West in Laquita, CA. Registration will open soon so keep checking www.golfweekevents.com for updated information.