By Nathan Dominitz
SAVANNAH, Georgia (July 29, 2012) --Three hot days in Savannah were not going to cool the hottest amateur golfer in Florida.
Chase Seiffert, a rising senior at Florida State, continued his summer victory tour Sunday by claiming the Oglethorpe Invitational by three strokes at Wilmington Island Club.
Seiffert completed the end of his weather-delayed second round with two pars early Sunday, then returned to the course later in the morning and posted a 3-under 68 to finish at 10-under 203.
“I just went out there and played my game and tried to make as many birdies as I could,” said Seiffert, who birdied Nos. 1, 4, 6 and 9 and made one bogey at No. 11.
“He was very steady,” said Sea Island’s Jack Hall, who finished second at 7 under.
Seiffert formulated a solid game plan by studying the course and especially the slopes of the greens. The psychology major from Panama City, Fla., seems to have figured out his game.
After being selected All-Atlantic Coast Conference in his first season at FSU last spring, Seiffert won a hometown tournament in May, then was the only competitor to finish under par (-1) in capturing the Florida State Amateur on June 24 in Jupiter.
On July 22, Seiffert became the second player ever to win the Florida Open and Florida State Amateur in the same year. He set course records at Sara Bay Country Club (64) in Sarasota and at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club (63) in Bradenton en route to winning the three-round event.
A week later, he collected the Oglethorpe crystal trophy and a $750 gift certificate to the Wilmington Island Club’s pro shop.
The outcome Sunday was still in doubt when Seiffert was two shots up with two holes to play. His tee shot at the par-4 No. 17 landed right of the fairway in the rough, and a tree with low-hanging branches was between him and the green.
Seiffert later said he was aiming for the front edge of the green and didn’t want to hit it long. His low-flying projectile safely avoided the branches and ran up onto the green to set up a birdie attempt.
“It was a really good shot to be within 18 feet,” Seiffert said of his shot of the day.
Seiffert settled for a par of 3 1/2 feet. Tap-in pars were consistent through his back nine, along with a 16-footer at No. 10.
“That’s kind of the way it played today. I wanted to birdie coming in,” said Seiffert, 21 on Aug. 12. “Easy pars are always good.”
Hall, who led Seiffert by one shot at 8 under after completing his second round with a 65, was bidding for a third tournament title (2005, ’10). However, he slipped behind in their hole-by-hole battle as Seiffert made pars and Hall settled for a 1-over 72.
“I was hoping to win it this year and not play it anymore,” said Hall, 55 on July 2, who did claim the senior division.
Hall said he hurt his chances with three three-putts Sunday. His short game has to be sharp to counter the longer, younger hitters he plays against.
“You only get so many chances. Those guys hit it so far,” Hall said. “It’s tough to play catch-up.”