PALM BAY, Fla. - Chuck Smith did not make a birdie the final round but still maintained a comfortable lead throughout Thursday in winning the fifth annual John Kline Super Seniors Championship conducted by the Society of Seniors.
Playing for the first time in 70-and-over competition, Smith began and ended the day with a five-stroke margin over the 67-player field, closing with 78-227 at The Majors Golf Club.
Bob Hughett of Lincoln, Neb., edged Joe Estes of Atlanta for second on a match of cards after they tied at 232.
Smith, who divides his time between Naples and Delaware, Ohio, made bogies at the first, fourth, 11th and 14th holes and a double bogey at the par-4 16th. "Not bad for finishing on two wheels," he said, "but that's what this course can do to you."
"I didn't know how I stood most of the day and I didn't care," Smith said. "I just figured if I could keep it around three or four over I'd have a good chance of winning."
Four strokes behind after a wind-blown first round, Smith moved in front with a one under par 71 on five birdies Wednesday. "That set the stage for the victory," he said. It was the only round or par or better all week. Smith opened Tuesday with 78 on two birdies.
In the older age groups, the winners were Romie Holder, Tulsa, Okla., 75-79, 234; and Ed Ervasti of Tequesta, who outlasted Bud Chapman of Minnetonka, Minn., with par on the second playoff hole after they tied at 249. Playing in the 80-and-over division, both bogied the par-4 10th hole and Chapman three-putted the par-3 11th.
It was the second Society of Seniors title for Smith, a retired home builder. He won the Dale Morey Championship in 1993 at Amelia Island Plantation in northeast Florida. He was the No. 1 ranked senior amateur golfer in the U.S. in 1994.
Smith said he has played 14 USGA championships, including nine U.S. Amateurs, two Mid-Amateurs, two Senior Opens but only one Senior Amateur. "I've lost in playoffs at qualifiers four times at the Senior Amateur," he said.
One of the highlights of his career, Smith said, was a hole-in-one during the 1998 Senior Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., a feat made even more special because his grandson, Eric Bodager, 18 at the time, was his caddie.
The Society of Seniors is an organization of amateur golfers 55 years and older with handicaps of three or less. Next on its schedule: May 17-19, Ed Tutwiler Memorial Four-Ball, Flint National GC, Wichita, Kan.
The prize winners:
Society of Seniors
Super Seniors Championship
The Majors GC, Palm Bay, Fla.
70-74 years, 6,492 yards, par 72
Chuck Smith, Naples 78-71-78-227
Bob Hughett, Lincoln, Neb. 81-75-76-232
Joe Estes, Atlanta, Ga. 74-82-76-232
Earl Bowden, Macon, Ga. 79-75-79-233
Paul Cobb Jr., Norcross, Ga. 82-75-77-234
Roy Vomastek, Marion, Mich. 80-77-78-235
Carl Schulten, Dallas, Texas 74-80-81-235
Henry Kerfoot, Boynton Beach 83-80-73-236
Pete Parker, Winston-Salem, N.C. 77-79-80-236
Boyd Johnson, Statesboro, Ga. 79-80-78-237
75-79 years, 6,207 yards, par 72
Romie Holder, Tulsa, Okla. 86-74-74-234
Joe Duchateau, Boynton Beach 80-81-79-240
Bob Harris, Boynton Beach 80-76-84-240
Jack Hesler, Dublin, Ohio 82-80-82-244
Bill Bonney, Myrtle Beach, S.C. 81-79-85-245
80-years-and-up, 6,207 yards, par 72
Ed Ervasti, Tequesta 84-85-80-249
Bud Chapman, Minnetonka, Minn. 80-92-77-249
Ervasti won playoff, par-3 on second extra hole
Tom Forkner, Duluth, Ga. 80-87-83-250
Bob Wallace 92-94-88-274