April 13, 2000

Cristillo Wins Senior Championship

The Crystal River resident shoots final-round 71 to win by one stroke.

Joseph Cristillo, Sr. of Crystal River fired the low round of the day with a 1-under par 71 to pull out a one-shot victory at the 33rd Florida State Senior Championship at The Country Club of Ocala. Pensacola’s Billy Graham and Palm City’s John McKey tied for second with a three-day total of 220 after shooting 72 and 73, respectively, in the final round.

Cristillo had a long hill to climb after posting a first-round 77. Back-to-back 71’s moved him from a tied for 22nd place to the top of the leaderboard. Tampa’s Don Lucas, who had led for the first two rounds, finished in fourth place after a 5-over 77 in the final round. Gunnar Bennett of Surfside shot a 3-over 75 to finish in fifth place. It was Bennett’s third straight year finishing in the top five.

Defending champion Jack Veghte was just two strokes back heading into the final round, but an uncharacteristic 9-over par 81 left him in a tie for tenth place. Veghte, a four-time State Amateur champion and three-time State Senior champion, was trying to become the first player to win four State Senior titles. In the super senior division, Boynton Beach’s Bob Harris shot a 6-over 78 in the final round to win by seven strokes. Ponte Vedra Beach’s Wes Paxson (76-74-81--231) was second.

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