Senior Amateur Comes Down to the Wire
In his first FSGA event and at his home club, George DeSear made a furious late charge to capture the 56th Senior Amateur Championship. Sitting alone in 10th place after two rounds, DeSear was able overcome a five shot deficit. Through the 54 hole Championship, players battled through windy conditions and notoriously fast Donald Ross greens.
The final round began with Bret Voisin holding the lead after excellent rounds of 70-71. Voisin found himself at one under par and leading 2013 Senior Amateur Champion, Doug LaCrosse and Robert Polk by one shot. Voisin was unable to hold onto his lead as he started the final round with a few blemishes. LaCrosse and Polk were steady as they each played the opening nine with eight pars and a birdie to share the lead as they made the turn. Also making a push was Sarasota resident, Jerry Rose. Rose birdied his opening hole, to go along with two more birdies on the front nine, but was unable to sustain the momentum as he bogeyed three holes down the stretch. Notably, Thursday saw two players record a one on their score cards as Bob Levy aced the 165 yard, 2nd hole and Mike Bodney, of Jacksonville, conquered the 185 yard, 18th.
DeSear, after a slow start including a bogey on the par-four 5th, and a double bogey on number 7, birdied the par-five 8th to get his round moving in the right direction. Consecutive birdies on holes 12 and 13 vaulted DeSear into contention but a bogey on 15 halted that momentum. A par on the 16th hole meant that DeSear would need something special on the final two holes and he delivered with another two birdies, the closing birdie in front of a large crowd of members that had gathered to show their support. With this victory, DeSear has earned himself an exemption into the next ten Senior Amateur Championships, the next two Florida Senior Open Championships, as well as the 100th Amateur Championship and the 2017 Mid-Amateur Championship.
Since the number of entries received has always surpassed the capacity of the Championship, a qualifying stage was instituted in 2005. While 52 players earned exempt status through a variety of different means, nearly 300 participants attempted to qualify at one of six sites across the state, as competitors played 18 holes of stroke play hoping to advance to the Championship. Participants must be 55 or older to participate in the Championship.
The 57th Senior Amateur Championship is heading to the beautiful and challenging Mayacoo Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach on April 10-12, 2018.