Nicholas Mullhaupt defends his Gasparilla Invitational Title
Nicholas Mullhaupt after his second consecutive <br>Gasparilla Invitational title <br>(Photo Courtesy of Nicholas Mullhaupt)
Nicholas Mullhaupt after his second consecutive
Gasparilla Invitational title
(Photo Courtesy of Nicholas Mullhaupt)

TAMPA, FL (February 25, 2017) -- For the second straight year Nicholas Mullhaupt has won the Gasparilla Invitational. And for the second straight year it came down to the wire.

"This year was a little different then last year," Mullhaupt said. "This year was more of a grind then last year but it was pretty nice to be able to defend."

Leading by two at the start of the final round at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club, Mullhaupt, 1-under for the week, battled tooth and nail with Mike Finster and Kyle Stiles. On the final hole Finster applied some pressure with a closing birdie but Mullhaupt was able to drain an 11-foot par putt to close out the the title.

With the victory Mullhaupt became the sixth different player and first repeat winner since five-time winner Peter Dachisen accomplished the feat for the second time in 2009 and 2010.

Peter Dachisen 2009, 2010
Peter Dachisen 2005, 2006
Bobby Dick 1996, 1997
David Smith 1987, 1988
Jack Veghte 1965, 1966
Paul Tarnow Jr. 1957-1959

During Saturday's breezy final round, Mullhaupt turned in a 3-over 73 for his only over-par round of the week. Mullhaupt started his round off with bogeys on three of the first five holes before righting the ship with a 6th hole birdie. One more bogey did follow on the 8th but pars the rest of the way allowed Mullhaupt to hold on.

"Hole No. 10 was kind of he hole that probably kept me in it. I had a 112 yard bunker and hit it fat so I had about 48 yards for my third," explained Mullhaupt. "After my pitch I had a 12-foot downhill putt for par and ended up making that one."

On the way in Mullhaupt also rolled in clutch par putts on the 12th, 14th and 17th holes to maintain his advantage.

"It was a grind session all day long. I think I hit six greens all day," Mullhaupt said.

Mike Finster ended up even-par and in second place and despite that 18th hole birdie, one shot out of a playoff. Finster put together rounds of 71-67-72.

Kyle Stiles began the final hole a shot off the pace but while trying to make something happen on the 18th hole he slipped up with a closing double-bogey. The final hole struggles forced Stiles to sign for a Saturday 4-over 74 that left him 2-over for the week and tied for third with Brian Armstrong.

Four players, including low senior Bob Royak, finished tied for fifth at 3-over. The rest of the fifth place group was comprised of Tom Miller, Kevin Dutkowsky and Brendon Ehlers.

Behind Royak in the senior standings were Steve Hudson (+7), Bryan Norton (+8), Doug Hanzel (+9) and Marcus Beck (+10).

Results: Gasparilla Invitational
1CANick MullhauptPalm Desert, CA30068-68-73=209
2FLMike FinsterSt. Petersburg, FL20071-67-72=210
T3FLBrian ArmstrongTampa, FL10074-67-71=212
T3GAKyle StilesAthens, GA10071-67-74=212
T5FLKevin DutkowskyTampa, FL10073-69-71=213

View full results for Gasparilla Invitational

ABOUT THE Gasparilla Invitational

54-hole individual stroke play championship with a cut after 36 holes to the low 60 and ties. Good mix of Florida players and national competitors looking for an early season tune up. Played on a traditional, tree lined golf course that isn't very long but has small, undulating greens.

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