Victorious in Winter Haven
The Country Club of Winter Haven proved to be a worthy opponent for the 79 players that braved the chilly conditions for our first Winter Series event of 2018. Although the temperature and winds were unfavorable, the golf course was in immaculate shape which made the two-day event enjoyable for all who participated.
John O'Brien, of Jacksonville, outlasted the field of 12 in the Mid-Amateur division at the Country Club of Winter Haven for his first FSGA victory. John held the early lead after day one, firing an impressive even-par, 72. The second round proved to be significantly harder for the Mid-Amateur division, but O'Brien did not let the cold temperatures get to him as he shot 76 in the second round, leaving him seven shots clear from the rest of the field. Jaime Girardi, of New Port Richey, finished second after getting off to a very solid start on Monday. Chad Ibbotson, of Sanford, rounded out the top three spots with a well played round of 75 on the second day.
Tom Norton, of Reunion, triumphed over Jimmy Jones, of Tampa, to win his first Winter Series event in very exciting fashion. Norton needed to make a birdie on his final hole of the day to force a playoff with Jones, which he did. Both Norton and Jones finished the two rounds with a total score of 146, then promptly headed over to the par five ninth hole for a sudden death playoff. It was there that Norton made a 12 foot birdie putt to win the event after Jones narrowly missed his birdie putt. Norton is no stranger to this event or golf course. He played the same event last year and placed third, shooting the same total score as he did this year (146).
Mike Corbin, of Weston, won the First Flight in the Senior Division after a very solid round in tough conditions. He fired a final round 76 to win by three shots over Kevin Macy, from Tampa. Corbin made two birdies Tuesday en route to his first ever FSGA victory. Ken Kirchner, of Bradenton, narrowly missed out on the second spot after improving four strokes from day one to finish in third place.
Congratulations are in order for Chip Kelly, from Orlando, who made his first ever Hole-in-One on hole 17!
Pete McDade, of Lakeland, was one of only two players to shoot a round under-par this week. He finished round one with a 71 and a two-shot lead over Carey Watson. Watson shot a second round 74 to finish at one over-par total for the event (145). McDade finished his second round with five pars and a birdie to close out his third FSGA victory. Doug LaCrosse, of Tampa, rounded out the top three after shooting 74-73, for a 147 total.
Winter Haven resident, Kevin Hyman took home the title for the Super Senior - First Flight Division with a stellar second round. After round one, Hyman was one of five golfers tied for the lead. Round two proved to be quite different for Hyman, as he fired a one over-par 73 to claim the victory by four strokes over Pete Andrews, who finished with a two day total of 160. Lloyd Meisels, of Fort Lauderdale, placed third after shooting 83-79.
The Winter Series rolls on to Hunters Green CC, where we will be hosting our annual Four-Ball event on January 29th & 30th.