JUPITER, Fla. (April 27, 2005) - Former Abilene Christian University teammates Steve Johnson of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Bill Steen of Dallas, Texas, completed a wire-to-wire performance Wednesday (April 27) to win the second annual Bear's Club Invitational golf tournament at The Bear's Club.
Counting both balls the final round after two days of four-ball stroke play competition, Johnson and Steen won the mid-amateur division by six strokes. Each shot 77 for 154 Wednesday after they opened 71-68. They were the only team to post a bogey-free round and the only team to break 70 all week on Tuesday's effort.
In the senior division, Bob Currey of Jupiter and Joe Keller of Osterville, Mass., came from behind to win with 155-298. They were the first round leaders but trailed after two to Jacques Wullschleger of Tequesta and Jerry Grudl of Minnetonka, Minn. Wullschleger and Grudl closed with 158-300.
Both Johnson, 37, and Steen, 39, were graduated from Abilene Christian in 1989. It was Johnson's second victory in Palm Beach County in less than 16 months. In January, 2004, he teamed with Jeff Knox of Augusta, Ga., to win the International Four-Ball at Emerald Dunes in West Palm Beach.
For the route here, Johnson made eight birdies on the par-5s, three each Monday and Wednesday and two on Tuesday. "I'm not especially long, not by any means," he said, "but this is the kind of course where you almost have to take advantage of the par-5s and then just hang on at the par-3s and par-4s."
Their only problem during the final round came at the par-4 12th when Johnson hit two balls out of bounds. "We both struggled for a few holes after that," he said, "but then we finished well." Johnson birdied the par-3 16th, 9-iron to 20 feet, and the par-5 18th, 8-iron to five feet. Johnson had five birdies, six bogies and the quad. Steen scored a birdie and six bogies.
Both Currey and Keller shot 36 on the inward nine. "After the way I started, we both finally got our games going on the back nine," said Currey, a TBC member. Currey had a birdie and a bogey on the last two par-3s, while Keller had two birdies and a pair of bogies. On the front, after a first hole birdie, Currey had a 3, 4, two 5s, 6, 7 and 8, nine over par, on the last seven holes. He carded 80 for the day, Keller a 75.
"Tuesday, when we shot 74 (and lost the lead), because of the wind and the speed of the greens, that was one of the hardest rounds of golf I've ever played," Keller said. "Every shot out there could lead to a double bogey."
Currey and Keller are both members at Oyster Harbor in Osterville and they teamed up to take the 2003 Havemeyer Trophy at the Rhode Island Country Club in West Barrington. Currey and son David won the Leon "Pop" Sikes Father-Son at the nearby Atlantis Country Club in 1999 and 2003.
It was the first appearance in The Bear's Club Invitational for all four members of the winning twosomes. Each received a trophy depicting a bear mounted on a stand. There were 19 teams in the mid-amateur division (25-54 years) and 14 senior teams (55-older).
The Bear's Club Invitational
The Bear's Club, Jupiter, Fla., April 25-27, 2005
(First two rounds, four-ball stroke play; final round, both balls count)
Mid-Amateur Division (25-54 years), 7,103 yards, par 72
293 - Steve Johnson, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Bill Steen, Dallas, 71-68-154.
299 - Dean Brinker and Dave Clement, Newburgh, Ind., 73-72-154. Randy Elliott, Winter Park, and George Roat, Windermere, 73-74-152.
307 - Tom Fiocchi, West Palm Beach, and John Veneziano, Mount Dora, 74-75-158.
309 - Jim Patrone, Boca Raton, and George Weston, Palm Beach, 78-77-154. Steve Nicklaus, North Palm Beach, and James Reid, Edmond, Okla., 74-80-155. Ken Kinkopf, Columbus, Ohio, and Jim Anderson, Greensboro, N.C., 72-71-166.
312 - Mike Nealy, Boca Raton, and Tim Hanlon, West Palm Beach, 74-77-161.
313 - Greg Anderson, Edmond, Okla., and Josh Sanders, Stillwater, Okla., 81-74-158.
314 - Tom Rex, Naperville, Ill., and Kevin Walsh, Wildwood, S.C., 77-76-161.
320 - Doug Fix, and Rob Adams, Alpharetta, Ga., 77-77-166.
330 - Gerard Conforti, West Palm Beach, and Robert Savoie, Barrington, R.I., 78-80-172.
333 - Robert Vickers, Mission Hills, Kan., and Dave Stanchak, Oakmont, Pa., 80-80-173.
335 - Christian Beto and Eric Bates, Rockford, Ill., 79-83-173.
337 - James Graff and Marty Gallagher, Sylvania, Ohio, 83-81-173.
344 - Jay Lavender, Hobe Sound, and Mark Potts, Oklahoma City, Okla., 82-86-176.
346 - Mel Hughes and David Corsaut, Evergreen, Colo., 83-84-179.
354 - John Pou and Knox Ridley, Shreveport, La., 84-82-188.
364 - Todd Williams, Jupiter, and Kevin Simpson, West Palm Beach, 87-92-185.
Senior Division (55-older) 6,832 yards, par 72
298 - Bob Currey, Jupiter, and Joe Keller, Osterville, Mass., 69-74-155.
300 - Jacques Wullschleger, Tequesta, and Jerry Grudl, Minnetonka, Minn., 71-71-158.
301 - Roger Brown, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Bill Heldmar, Broken Arrow, Okla., 71-74-156.
309 - Bill Maloy and Jay Fitzgerald, Tequesta, 75-76-158.
310 - Van Lefferdink, Jupiter, and Robert Housen, Brielle, N.J., 73-75-162.
312 - Mike Fauks and Randy Robinson, Oklahoma City, Okla., 77-74-161. Gerry Barnett, Brielle, N.J., and Vic Gerard, Neptune, N.J., 79-71-162.
313 - Jack Richey, Winter Park, and Ned Steiner, Roseland, N.J., 78-75-160.
323 - Larry Derito, Jupiter, and Lenny Loyd, Stuart, 78-86-159.
324 - Paul McIntosh, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Bill Van Faasen, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., 81-75-168. Larwence Harrison, Margate, N.J., and William Care, Northfield, N.J., 81-75-168.
326 - Dorsey Lynch, Paradise Valley, Ariz., and Robert Randol, Scottsdale, Ariz., 77-79-170.
330 - Don Cooke, Edmond, Okla., and Bob Sine, Oklahoma City, Okla., 76-80-174.
331 - Mark Mulvoy, Vero Beach, and Jim Applegate, Palm City, 81-76-174.