Miller Wins Senior Championship
Tim Miller edged out the field by one stroke to win the 2008 Senior Amateur Championship as Bill Dorece captured the Super Senior Division at Old Corkscrew Golf Club in Estero on April 15-17.
Battling tough winds on this challenging Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, Tim Miller, from Venice, won his first Florida State Senior Amateur Championship by one stroke recording a tournament total of 232. After rounds of 80-77, Miller trailed the leader by one stroke heading into the final round. On the last day, Miller started strong making four birdies on the front nine en route to carding a 34. “I made some really nice putts on the front,” said Miller. “I made a couple when I really needed to.” Heading to the 18th hole, Miller had a one stroke advantage. “I just played it safe on 18 and chipped the ball short and two-putted,” said Miller. Miller finished with a 41 on the back nine and 75 for the day to secure the title. “This is really special,” said Miller, a two-time Indiana Senior Champion. “I have won a few things but this is my first Florida Senior Championship.” Bill O’Keefe, from Fort Lauderdale, jumped into second place after firing a final round 73. O’Keefe recorded rounds of 83-77 the first two days to finish at 233. In third place, Joe Records, from Naples, posted consistent scores of 79-78-77—234.
In the Super Senior Division, Bill Dorece, from Pompano Beach, captured the title shooting a 234 for the three days. Dorece shot a pair of 79’s the first two rounds to sit one back from the leaders heading into the final round. Starting on #10 in the final round, Dorece made three birdies to make the turn at 1-under 35. On the front, Dorece parred the first four holes and held onto the lead with a 41 to finish at 76. “A 74 was my target score for the round,” said Dorece. “I thought I may have missed by a stroke but my 76 was enough.” Playing in his first ever Florida Senior Championship, Dorece just started playing golf again last November after having a back injury. Second round co-leader Stuart Young, from Fort Myers, took second place two strokes back from Dorece. Young shot an 83-74-79—236. Ray Darmstadt, from Cocoa Beach, led the division after the first round shooting a 74 and posted an 84-80 in the final two rounds to place third.
Since the number of entries received has always surpassed the capacity of the Championship, a qualifying stage was instituted in 2005. While 62 players earned exempt status through a variety of different means, over 300 competitors attempted to qualify to complete the 156 player field. Qualifying took place in March at 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 and enter one of the age divisions, 55-64 and 65 & over. Players who advanced to the Championship competed in 54 holes of stroke play with a cut after 36 holes. 58 players in the Senior Division advanced to the final round as 18 competitors in the Super Senior Division made the cut.
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Organized in 1913, the Florida State Golf Association is a not-for-profit organization that governs amateur golf in the state of Florida. In addition to conducting 25 championships for amateur golfers in the state, the FSGA is responsible for more than 40 qualifying tournaments for USGA National Championships. The FSGA also maintains the USGA Handicap System, performs course ratings throughout Florida and assists in junior programs and scholarships.