Gasparilla winners Bob Royak and Mike Finster (Courtesy Gasparilla Invitational)
called his bogey-free, 6-under 64 at Palma Ceia Golf Club in Tampa, Fla., the round of his life on Saturday. Turns out that’s what it took to finally get the St. Petersburg, Fla., resident over the hump at one of the country’s premier mid-amateur events. After a handful of runner-up finishes at the Gasparilla Amateur, Finster is finally the champion.
Finster was the only player in the top 10 to go bogey free for the final round. He started the day seven shots off the pace of second-round leader Joseph Deraney, who was 9 under. But while Deraney went 4 over in the opening four holes, Finster went 2 under. He had three birdies on each side.
Finster’s final-round 64 came on the heels of opening rounds of 70-68. At 8 under, he three ahead of Derek Busy (Ruston, La.) and Deraney (Belden, Miss.).
“As my daughter would say, I’m a four-time first loser so finally nice to get that monkey off my back,” Finster told media after the round.
Finster being so close so many times, he became something of a local favorite. This adds to a strong start in 2019 that includes a win at a Florida Winter Series event in January.
Kevin O’Connell, the reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, was part of a tie for fourth at 3 under. Joe Alfieri, the first-round leader, was also at that number.
Bob Royak of Alpharetta, Ga., won the senior title in a playoff with Adam Armagost of Jupiter, Fla. Royak had rounds of 70-67-77 for a 4-over total, then won on the first extra hole.
ABOUT THE Gasparilla Invitational
54-hole individual stroke play championship
cut after 36 holes to the low 60 and ties. Good
and national competitors looking for an
tune up. Played on a traditional, tree lined
course that isn't very long but has small,
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