TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (May 20, 2012) -- Tom Jungkind got quite the 58th birthday present Sunday when he captured the 15th State Senior Amateur Championship at NorthRiver Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa.
Jungkind, who won the overall title and his age division (57-64) by four shots, fired rounds of 70-69-70–209 to win his first state individual title.
He led Mobile’s Richard Jeffers, who shot 73-69-71–213.
Overnight leader Steve Hudson fell to an 80, after rounds of 67-69, and ended up in three-way tie for fourth overall with Emile Vaughan (70-72-74) and Robert Nelson (70-73-73) on 216.
This threesome also finished tied second in the 50-56 age division behind Birmingham’s Earle Bidez, who had rounds of 71-73-71–215.
But it was Jungkind’s, who lives in Bessemer and plays at Hoover Country Club, day and championship.
He started the final round trailing Hudson, the defending champion, by three shots, but had erased this deficit by the seventh hole and never looked back.
He made the turn in two-under-par 34, courtesy of birdies on Nos. 1, 5 and 8 against a bogey on No. 8, while Hudson made bogey on 3 and double bogey on 7.
Prior to Hudson making a 20 footer for par on 9 and Jungkind missing a four footer for birdie, Jungkind found himself getting ahead of himself.
“I thought I was about to go four ahead and it was a mistake to think that way.”
There were numerous twists and turns on the back nine, starting on No. 10. Jungkind went for the green in two on this short par 5, but pulled his second shot and it appeared headed for the water hazard. However, it hit a tree and he was able to play a pitch onto the green and save par. Meanwhile, Hudson hit the green in two, but three-putted for par; hence no change in standings.
Although he three-putted for bogey on No. 11, Jungkind stayed two clear as Hudson could not get up and down from a greenside bunker and also made a five.
On No. 12 Jungkind doubled his lead after he dropped a 25-foot putt for a birdie two (he made two on this par 3 all three rounds) and Hudson dropped another shot. His lead was now four and despite a bogey on No. 14, he was able to close out the win with some room to spare.
“I can’t tell you what it means to win an individual state title. I’ve won some state team titles (State Four Ball titles with David Minshew and Todd Lindsey and two State Senior Four Ball titles with Mike Greer), but that just means I’m a good recruiter,” he said tongue-in-cheek.
“I was feeling the pressure, but was very proud with how I handled it and myself. I feel comfortable on this golf course. I don’t hit it far, but I do hit it straight, and you have to hit it straight here.”
Hudson, as well as being defending champion, also won the 2010 State Mid-Amateur and has been the AGA Player of the Year multiple times.
“My game has been kind of borderline lately, and I just wasn’t sharp today,” Hudson said.
“I’m disappointed, but tried my best on every shot. I tried to be more aggressive (when he was falling behind) and ended up losing more shots.”
Jeffers has won more different AGA titles than anyone else. He has won the State Four Ball with Joey Dzwonkowski in 1996 and 2002; the State Amateur in 1997; the Mid-Amateur in 2004; the State Senior in 2005; and the State Senior Four Ball with Mark Miller.
“This was a very nice, positive finish for me. I’m very happy to be back in contention because I’ve not been very competitive lately as I’ve been yippy with my putter. I went to the long putter and I’m pleased with the results.”
Birmingham’s Bob Moody won the 65+ age division by eight shots over Oneonta’s John Gibbs after rounds of 73-75-74—222.
View results for Alabama State Senior Amateur Golf Championship