Doug Hanzel ran away with his 3rd POY title in 2017
For the second consecutive year and third overall, Doug Hanzel
of Savannah, GA is the AmateurGolf.com Senior Player of the Year.
The AmateurGolf.com Senior Player of the Year is awarded based on a point system earned through performance in major senior events throughout the course of the year. This year, the 60-year-old Hanzel enjoyed his best season since becoming a senior five years ago, winning six tournaments and finishing runner-up in five others.
Players of the Year
Hanzel credits playing a full schedule for his remarkable consistency that saw him win in six different months. "I believe I am having more success because I am working less! It was a very busy year but playing more has helped a lot."
Hanzel started his winning ways in January at the Golfweek Player-of-the-Year Classic in Palm Coast, FL, with a six-shot victory
over Scott Smith of Houston.
He picked up his second win in March at the Florida Azalea Invitational, where he scored a five-shot win
over fellow Savannahian Jack Hall at Palatka Golf Club.
In April, Hanzel held off a hard-charging Tim Jackson (Germantown, TN) to win the Coleman Senior Invitational by a single shot
at famed Seminole Golf Club.
Hanzel's fourth win
came in June in North Carolina, when he overcame a first-round 76 to take the National Senior Hall of Fame tournament by three shots over Brady Exber, denying Exber a chance to win the tournament in the same year as his Hall of Fame induction.
"I think my most significant wins were the Coleman and Hall of Fame", said Hanzel, "because most of the top seniors are at these events."
In July, Hanzel won the Society of Seniors (SOS) Jack Hesler Tournament, overtaking Kenneth Phillips (Lancaster, PA) on the final day to win by two shots
at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania.
His final win of the 2017 season came at the Dixie Senior Amateur in Coral Springs, FL, where he took a seven-shot lead after the first-round and eventually won by six
In addition to his six wins, Hanzel contended and ultimately finished runner-up in the British Senior Amateur at Sunningdale in England, the Jones Cup Senior in Georgia, the Canadian Senior Amateur, the Senior Porter Cup in New York, and the Timuquana Senior in Florida.
Final Senior POY Points Standings, 2017
|1 ||Doug Hanzel||Savannah, GA||8550|
|2 ||Gene Elliott||W. Des Moines,
|3 ||Steve Hudson||Birmingham,
|4 ||Keith Decker||Martinsville,
|5 ||Jack Hall||Savannah, GA||4750|
|6 ||Paul Simson||Raleigh, NC||3675|
|7 ||Allen Barber||Yorktown, PA||3050|
|7 ||Michael Occi||Bonita Springs,
|9 ||James Starnes||Fort Myers,
|10 ||Sean Knapp||Oakmont, PA||2700|
He also finished 4th in the SOS Fall Classic in Savannah, 7th in the SOS Championship in Florida, and was a quarterfinalist in the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at the Minikahda Club in Minnesota.
Like any ultra-competitive player, Hanzel relishes the successes but also thinks of the ones that got away. "The Canadian was probably my most disappointing finish as I had a three shot lead heading into the last round and played poorly and shot 75 to lose by two."
Finishing as the runner-up to Hanzel was Gene Elliott of W. Des Moines, IA, who won four times in his first season as a senior. Steve Hudson (Birmingham, AL), Keith Decker (Martinsville, VA) and Jack Hall (Savannah, GA) rounded out the top five of the POY points standings.
In his first year as a senior, U.S. Senior Amateur champion Sean Knapp finished 10th in the standings.
Hanzel was also the AmateurGolf.com Player of the year in 2013 and 2016, when we won the points race by much narrower margins. His 2013 season was highlighted by his win in the U.S. Senior Amateur
, and last year he rode five tournament wins to the points title.
When asked to describe his game, Hanzel says while he is consistent across all aspects of his game, "I think my driving distance is a big advantage as not many seniors hit it up with me. When I am driving it well I have a big advantage, using much less clubs into the greens and most par fives are reachable in two."
"The last thing I believe helps me compete is that I am mostly self taught. When things go wrong I usually can figure things out by myself fairly quickly and, as all golfers know, things go wrong."
AmateurGolf.com Senior Rankings
| Complete 2017 Points List (438 players)