Mike Arnold (Golfweek photo)
FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2019) – Mike Arnold held onto his lead at the Gateway Senior, using a final-round 76 for a two-shot victory on defending champion Owen Joyner.
Arnold’s scores rose progressively through the week at the Club at Gateway, but rounds of 73-74-76 for a 223 total still left him safely on top. Joyner matched his effort during the final round.
Arnold, a Fort Myers, native, last won a national senior amateur event in 2016 at the Golfweek
Senior National Tournament of Champions. That was also the year he won the Golfweek
Senior National Match Play.
Behind Joyner, Mark Weston was third with a 226 total. Bob Stronikas was another shot behind that in fourth while Kevin Allis, with the day’s best score (74), was fifth at 228.
Sam Till Jr. won the super senior title on the strength of a second-round 66. He bookended that with rounds of 74-79 and with his 219 total, finished three shots ahead of Tom Elfers.
George Washburn won the legends division by a single shot over John Cuomo. Washburn had a final-round 76 for a 220 total.
O. Gordon Brewer Jr. had rounds of 75-75-77 for a 227 total that left him with a seven-shot victory in the senior legends division.
The three men were tied for the lead after one round of the Gateway Senior Invitational but after another 18 holes, they have separated (if only slightly). There is now a single shot between each of the top three players at the Club at Gateway, setting up a tight race entering the final round.
Mark Arnold and Steve Groom were part of that original tie after opening with 73, but Arnold took the outright lead with a second-round 74. Groom had 75 and is one shot behind him. Owen Joyner, also the defending champion is, is third another shot behind that.
Arnold, a Fort Myers native, was runner-up at the Golfweek
Senior Tournament of Champions to end 2018 while Groom, of Raytown, Mo., is coming off a T-7 at last week’s Old Corkscrew Senior.
Mark Weston shared the lead with those two men after one round but a second-round 77 dropped him to a share of fourth at 6 over. He is tied with David Holmes, whose 1-under 71 in Round 2 was the best score of any player in the senior division.
Sam Till Jr., with a 6-under 66, outdid Holmes and every other competitor on Wednesday and thus leads by five shots in the super senior division. Till won the senior title in a playoff in 2016. He will take a five-shot lead on Tom Elfers into the final round.
John Cuomo backed up an opening 77 in the legends division with a second-round 67 and is now tied for the lead with George Washburn, who had rounds of 73-71. Both are at even par while the next-closest competitor, Bill Engle, is 5 over.
Steve Wilson leads the super legends division with rounds of 73-76.
The top of the Gateway Senior leaderboard is crowded after Day 1. Among the three men tied for the lead is at least one familiar name in Steve Groom, the 2014 Gateway Senior champion.
Groom, along with Mike Arnold and Mark Weston, opened with 73 at the Club at Gateway. The Gateway Senior is the second tournament in the Senior Florida Swing. The senior golf world is relatively small, however, so the familiarity continues down the leaderboard. Most notably, defending champion Owen Joyner, of Bonita Springs, Fla.
Joyner is just two days removed from a runner-up finish at the Old Corkscrew Senior. A year ago at the Club at Gateway, Joyner led from the word go. On Tuesday, Joyner posted a 75 that left him tied for fifth with Bob Kearney and John Skinner.
In the super senior division, Tom Effers and Richard Pfeil are also tied atop the leaderboard with rounds of 73. A four-man tie for third includes Sam Till Jr., who won the senior title in 2016.
In the legends division, Bill Engel leads with the round of the day, a 71 that gave him a two-shot advantage on the next-closest competitor.
A 73 was good enough to lead the super legends division, too. Steve Wilson is on that number and two shots ahead of O. Gordon Brewer Jr.