Spared by pirates - Derek Busby poses with some salty dogs and his Gasparilla trophy
of Ruston, Louisiana claimed the Gasparilla Invitational title today at Palma Ceia Country Club in Tampa, Florida at 4-under 206 on the par 70 layout.
Busby, who fired a tournament-low tying 65 in the second round -- when cool weather sent scores skyrocketing -- had a game plan for managing his five shot lead heading into today's final round.
Related: Gasparilla Invitational: Derek Busby jumps out to 5-shot lead
"My goal was to get to double digits and go bogey free today," said Busby in an exclusive phone interview with AmateurGolf.com. "Then someone would have to play a great round to catch me."
Despite getting off to a self-described "scrappy start," Busby was able to stick to his plan with key par saves on the first two holes, thanks to a couple of nice putts. Playing with No. 5 ranked Mid-Am in the AmateurGolf.com rankings Joe Deraney
, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when he'll make a move.
Sure enough, Deraney stuffed a shot on No. 4, while Busby had 30 feet for a birdie of his own.
"That was the turning point," said Busby. "I made my 30 footer and he missed - then I hit a gap wedge to 5 feet and made it on the next hole for my second birdie in a row."
After another birdie on No. 7 and a front nine of 32, and with Deraney getting on the bogey train with five straight, it appeared that the only thing left to determine was who would be runner-up.
But this is golf we're talking about, and The Gasparilla is a prized trophy. Heck, there are pirates involved. (The tournament takes it's name from the annual Mardi-Gras like Gasparilla Festival in Tampa/St. Pete.)
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Busby made three straight pars to start the back nine, and his goal of double digits was well within reach. He was 11-under, and nobody was even close. A bogey on the 13th proved to be a bad omen, but in the end Busby had such a nice margin to play with that it didn't matter.
"After I made bogey on 13 I didn’t refocus/reset my goals," explained Busby. "I plugged it in the bunker on No. 15 [leading to a triple bogey] then, as it does out there, everything got hard all of a sudden."
Busby made a double bogey on No. 16, and bogeyed 17 to fall back to 4-under on the tournament. But with Deraney unable to make a charge, he just needed to hold off Marc Dull
and the other players close to par for the 54-hole event. Busby finished with a safe par on the 18th to take home one of the coolest trophies in amateur golf.
Dull finished solo second at 1-under 209 thanks to a final round 69 while Deraney righted the ship to post 1-under 34 on the back nine and a 73 for a tournament total of even par 210 -- good for third place.
of Tampa, like Busby in the Mid-Am division, took a 5-shot lead into the final round in the senior division. After making three-straight bogeys to start the round, Jones settled down and shot 38 while Richard Kerper
(the first round leader) posted 37 to gain a stroke.
The same thing happened on the back nine, with Kerper making up another shot to get within three and finish in solo second at 7-over against Jones' winning total of 4-over 214. Jack Hall
of Savannah, GA posted a final round 71 to finish in third place at 9-over 219.
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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