Bob Royak got a big win at Sea Island (Jones Cup photo)
(Alpharetta, Ga.) won the Jones Cup Senior on Wednesday, going wire-to-wire at Sea Island Golf Club against a stacked field of seniors from all around the country.
The last time Royak faced such a deep field was at the biggest senior championship, the U.S. Senior, where he defeated Roger Newsom
in the final match to win his first USGA championship.
Related: Royak wins the U.S. Senior in hard-fought final match
This week on a tough Seaside Course at Sea Island, Royak opened with a 2-under 68 to share the lead with Jerry Slagle
of Southlake, Texas. Then, on the strength of three straight birdies on the back nine of round two, he forged a four-shot lead over four players, including the defending champion Doug Hanzel
Playing in the final group today with Hanzel would be familiar for Royak -- the two are great friends and frequently partner in four-ball events. But Gene Elliott, he wasn't as familiar with.
"I've met Gene before," said Royak in an exclusive phone interview with AmateurGolf.com. "But I've never played against him."
For most of the final round, Royak faced no serious threat, but when 2018 Jones Cup Senior champion Gene Elliott
(W. Des Moines, Iowa) birdied Nos. 16 and 17 while Royak bogeyed 16, a four stroke lead had been whittled down to one.
"It really started to rain on No. 15," said Royak. "By the last three holes it was coming down really hard, and I don't know how Gene managed to birdie 16 and 17."
When both players made par at the last, the title would belong to Royak - but Elliott certainly went down with a fight.
Royak, who said he didn't have his best ball striking day, finished with a 71 for a 4-under 206 total. Elliott (68) was three under, while Steve Harwell
(Mooresville, N.C.) shot a 69 to finish third at 2 under.
(Atlanta, Ga.) was the only other player under par, closing with a 69 to finish 1 under.
Hanzel (72) and Jack Kearney
(Peachtree City, Ga.) rounded out the top five at 1-over 211.
In the Super Senior division, Mark Weston
(Windermere, Fla.) also enjoyed a wire-to-wire victory, shooting 70-71-71 for a 2-over total, two shots ahead of Allan Small
(Savannah, Ga.). Small had the lead early on the front nine and was tied with Weston at the turn, but a two-shot swing in Weston's favor on the 11th hole ultimately swung the momentum.
(Solon, Ohio), John Armstrong
(Frostburg, Md.) and Brian Johnston
(Peachtree Corners, Ga.) finished third through fifth, respectively.
ABOUT THE Jones Cup Senior
54-hole senior invitational event inaugurated
in 2012, that follows in the footsteps of the
Jones Cup, an event that unofficially kicks off
the amateur circuit each year.
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