Jim Applegate Overcomes 6 Stroke Deficit to Win State Senior
Palm City's Jim Applegate played steady golf and shot a final round 1-under par 71 at Riverwood Golf Club to win the 34th Florida State Senior Championship.
"This really means a lot to me," the 58-year old Applegate said. "The Florida State Golf Association is one of the top golf associations in the country, so to win one of their championships is really special."
Applegate started the day six strokes behind Cristillo, but he still felt he had a good shot to win if he just played steady golf. "I didn't pay attention to Joe," Applegate explained. "1 just wanted to play my game. Joe had to play his game, and I had to play mine. I'm not a long hitter, so 1 just had to play to my strengths."
Cristillo had played marvelous during the first two rounds where he recorded a 65 and a 70, but he “had nothing" during the final round. He struggled on the front nine and made the turn at 4-over for the day. Then on the par-five 12th hole, Cristillo hit it in the water and took a double bogey. That gave Applegate a one-stroke lead. A 3-putt bogey by Applegate on 13 evened the score, but he followed his bogey with a birdie from of the green at 14 to take the lead for good. Four pars on the last four holes was enough to hold off Cristillo and a charging Curt Madson for the title.
Madson, of Mount Dora, eagled 12 and birdied three of the last four holes, but he just had too much ground to make up. He finished two strokes back of Applegate in third place.
Riverwood Golf Club member Hal Knuth won the 70-and-over Super Senior division in dramatic fashion. After tying Tampa's Walter Baldwin Jr. with a 3-day total of 231, Knuth birdied the first playoff hole with a winding 25-footer from off the green. Second-round leader Moot Thomas of Ocala was in the hunt, but he lost seven shots on the final two holes to finish four shots behind in fifth place.
Applegate's 212 total is also the lowest 3-day total in the history of the State Senior. The previous record was 214 set by Jupiter's Bill King in 1996 and 1998 and Tampa's Dick Goerlich in 1989.
The Florida State Senior Championship is the 1st of 17 state championships conducted annually by the Florida State Golf Association. The FSGA is a not-for-profit organization that promotes, preserves, and protects amateur golf in the state of Florida.