Bill Zylstra Wins Senior Championship
Bill Zylstra prevailed in a play-off to win the 2010 Senior Amateur Championship as James Byer captured the Super Senior Division at Southern Hills Plantation Golf Club in Brooksville on April 13-15.
Battling tough winds the entire week, Bill Zylstra, from Ocklawaha, the number one ranked Senior in the United States, won his first Florida State Senior Amateur Championship in a one hole playoff recording a tournament total of two-under par 214. After rounds of 73-69, Zylstra trailed the leader by two strokes heading into the final round. In the final round, Zylstra started strong making two birdies on the front nine en route to carding a 34. Heading to the 18th hole, Zylstra was tied for the lead with Pat Vincelli, of Stuart. Both players missed the green and had difficult up and downs. Vincelli’s putt on the 18th hole just grazed the edge and he tapped in for bogey, and Zylstra failed to get up and down. Both players would go to a sudden death play-off on the 18th hole. After both players missed the green, Zylstra hit his chip shot to five feet to have an uphill putt as Vincelli hit his chip shot to eight feet. After Vincelli missed his putt, Zylstra made his putt for the victory. Zylstra said, “I have won many tournaments but this is my first Florida Senior Championship and it is very special to me.” Pat Vincelli, from Stuart, finished in second place after losing in the play-off. Vincelli carded rounds of 69-72-73. Kim Schwencke, from Temple Terrace, finished alone in third place with a tournament total of 216.
In the Super Senior Division, James Byer, from Lantana, captured the title with a tournament total of 218 for the three days. Byer shot rounds of 71-73 to share the lead heading into the final round. Starting on the 10th hole in the final round, Byer played solid carding an even par 36 on the front nine with one birdie and one bogey. On the front, Byer struggled on his first four holes by going four over par; after making birdie on the fifth hole, Byer birdied the seventh hole and finished with two pars to capture the title by two strokes. This is Byer’s first Super Senior Championship. Second round co-leader and Defending Champion Brian Sachs, from Newberry, tied for second place with Robert Martin, of Fort Lauderdale, with a tournament total of 220. Sachs carded rounds of 72-72-76, while Martin carded rounds 71-78-71.
Since the number of entries received has always surpassed the capacity of the Championship, a qualifying stage was instituted in 2005. While 50 players earned exempt status through a variety of different means, more than 360 participants attempted to qualify at one of eight 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 and enter one of the age divisions, 55-64 and 65 & over. Players who advanced to the Championship compete in 54 holes of stroke play with a cut after 36 holes.