Sammy Schmitz and Jesse Polk win International Four-Ball
Sammy Schmitz (left) and Jesse Polk<br>at the 2014 Minnesota Four-Ball (Minn. G.A. photo)
Sammy Schmitz (left) and Jesse Polk
at the 2014 Minnesota Four-Ball (Minn. G.A. photo)

PALM CITY, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2016) – Sammy Schmitz, who’s headed for Augusta National in a couple of months, teamed with Jesse Polk to win the mid- amateur division of the 60th annual International Four-Ball on Sunday at The Fox Club.

And in the senior division, Keith Decker won the first year he was eligible upon turning 55 after winning two mid-amateur titles, with some “heavy lifting” from his partner, Matt Sughrue.

Minnesotans Schmitz, 35, of Farmington, and Polk, 31, of Lakeville, fired a final round of eight under par 63 to finish three shots ahead of the field at 16 under 197. They had 69-65 the first two days, finishing with 21 birdies in 54 holes with two bogeys each Friday and Saturday, one on Sunday.

Schmitz qualified for the Masters in April after winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in October at the John’s Island Club in Vero Beach. It was there that he hit what could easily be argued to be the shot of the year anywhere in golf, an ace-albatross on the par-4 15th hole that put him 3-up with three holes to play, all but icing the victory (he would win 3-and-2). The shot landed left of the flag on the 260-yard hole and rolled around on the sloping green before falling in.

Schmitz and Polk have a good partnership going -- the pair won the Minnesota State Four-Ball in 2014 and were the runners-up last year.

“We figured if we got to eight under today, we would have a chance,” said Polk, who birdied the par-5 18th with a driver, 4-iron and two putts from 20 feet to reach their target score. “But we didn’t know how we stood until we finished,” added Schmitz, a regional sales manager for a health care company.

Decker and Chris Reeves of Jupiter won the younger flight here in 2010 and 2014. “Reeves knew I would be too old this year and already had another partner lined up. I contacted Sughre and I’m glad he could play. He did most of the heavy lifting this weekend.”

Decker, 55, of Martinsville, Va., and Sughre, 56, of Arlington, Va., opened Friday with a double bogey on their first hole, the par-4 10th, bogeyed the same hole Saturday but got most of it back when Decker eagled the par-5 eighth Sunday. They also finished at 16 under 197 on rounds of 65-64-68 to win by two.

The four-ball stroke play event drew 22 mid-amateur teams, ages 25-54, 33 in the senior division ages 55- 64, and seven Legends players 65 and older. The latter was won Saturday by Ron Waeghe and Tom Blank of Rochester, N.Y., with 68-70—138.

-- courtesy Larry Bush

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ABOUT THE International Four-Ball

Started in 1957, the International Four-Ball is one of the most prestigious amateur events in the country. The Championship includes Mid-Amateur (ages 25-54), Senior (ages 55-64) and Legends (ages 65 and up) Divisions. All divisions compete in a Four- Ball Stroke Play format which is contested over 3 days and 54 holes. This prestigious event has a rich history, with past champions such as Jack Nicklaus, Deane Beman, Dick Siderowf, Vinnie Giles, Jim Holtgrieve and Downing Gray.

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