OPELIKA, ALA. (May 22, 2011) -- Steve Hudson fired a closing round of 68 in the State Senior Amateur Championship at Saugahatchee Country Club to beat overnight leader Robert Nelson who closed with a 72.
Hudson, who won last year’s State Mid-Amateur Championship for his first state title after many close calls down through the years, had a bogey-free final round with birdies on Nos. 3, 10, 15 and 17 to claim the title. His 68 was added to earlier rounds 0f 70-73 for a total of 211, five-under-par.
Nelson, who led after the first and second rounds (68-73), ended up on 213, three-under-par and one clear of Scott Johnston of Auburn (71-71-72–214), who was runner-up last year.
“I’ve been hitting it well this week, but just had a little trouble on the greens (the first two rounds),” Hudson said. “I knew with Robert leading, I’d need a good final round to have any chance.
“I set myself a goal of 66 (to win) and thought maybe 68 or 69 would get me in a playoff. I just tried to stay patient and the birdies came.”
Hudson credited his good friend Jimmy Tom Goosetree with helping him with a slight change to his address position and “everything clicked into place.”Hudson took great pleasure in shooting 33 on the back nine when he needed a low closing nine. “All three birdies were tap-ins.”
It was his fourth time to play in the State Senior and he had been close to the title twice before.
After he concluded his final round, Hudson watched on as Nelson came to the final hole tied with him for the lead. However, an errant drive ended up right and in the water and he struggled from that point making double bogey.
“Knowing Robert I thought he would make birdie to beat me. I never expected he would make double.”
Nelson, who won the State Junior in 1978 and the State Mid-Amateur in 2009, turned 50 last fall.
Hudson of Birmingham and Nelson of Mobile know each other very well having paired up in recent years in the State Four Ball Championship.
In the 57-64 age group, Lanett’s David Stanfield successfully defended this age group, shooting rounds of 73-71-71–215 to beat second-placed Paul Crowell of Athens (73-73-75–221) by six shots.
James Errol Baxley of Dothan hung on to win the 65+ age group. Rounds 71-74-79–224 saw him win by one over Don Lambert of Foley (74-75-76–225) and Bob Moody of Birmingham (75-75-75–225).
View results for Alabama State Senior Amateur Golf Championship