National Senior-Junior: Tim Jackson and Craig Smith win in playoff
Tim Jackson (2nd left) and Craig Smith accept their trophies
Tim Jackson (2nd left) and Craig Smith accept their trophies

JUPITER, Florida (Jan. 6, 2016) -- Three days, three different formats. And it still took a sudden-death playoff to crown a winning team.

Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn. and Craig Smith (Springfield, Tenn.) fired a 10-under 62 today in the scramble portion of the National Senior-Junior, then defeated Arnie Cutrell and Darin Kowalski of Pennsylvania in sudden-death to win the National Senior-Junior title.

The tournament's field included living legends like Jackson, Mike McCoy, Buddy Marucci, and Spider Miller paired alongside younger players. Some of them are legends in their own right, for example record 4-time U.S. Mid-Am champion Nathan Smith of Pittsburgh.

The first round is a standard Four-Ball competition, and in the second round the unique Pinehurst format, a unique spin on alternate shot that evidently was invented at the historic course in North Carolina. Players hit their tee shots, then switch and hit from their partner's location (fun if you're playing with Fred Funk, let's say) and choose which ball they like from their and play pure alternate shot when holing out. For the final round, a scramble was used. And while you know what that is, you may never have played it as a two person team. It's fun, and the scores reflected it with one team (David Abbell and Kris Mikkelsen) firing 60.

Jackson and Smith (66) trailed Allen Barber and Buck Brittain of Viriginia (65) after the best ball portion on Monday, then posted 71 on Tuesday, which put them a shot behind Cutrell and Kowalski, (67-69=136).

Playing together on Wednesday, Jackson and Smith edged the Pennsylvania duo by a shot to force sudden death at 199 for 54-holes. And while the final round's scramble may have been fairly laid back, the combined-score sudden-death playoff format was anything but. When you have to count both, things tend to tense up a bit. Jackson and Smith scored a 1- under 9 on the par-5 10th hole to end things in a hurry.

Tommy Brennan and Patrick Christovich fired a final round 61 to post 200, just missing out on the playoff, while 2015 USA Walker Cup team member Mike McCoy and partner John Engler (a former PGA Tour player) posted 202 to finish in fourth.


Van Lefferdink of Juno, Florida and Steve Earsley of Hobe Sound, Florida also required extra holes to take their trophy home -- they defeated John Baer (Met Section, CT/NY) and Bill Hadden (Manchester, Vermont) after both teams finished at 203.

Legends winners Steve Earsley (l) with Van Lefferdink (rt)


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ABOUT THE National Senior Junior

Mid Amateur, Senior Amateur. Unique three-format 54 hole invitational features a "junior" (mid am) and a senior paired together. There is also a Legends division that pairs legends and super seniors. Started in 1991 by some Society of Seniors members, the tournament is played on a wonderful course re-done by Pete Dye. One round each of Best-Ball, Scramble, and Pinehurst format.

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