Turner knocks off rust in time to defend Palm Beach Amateur title
A socially-distanced final group at The Dye Preserve (PBCGA photo)
A socially-distanced final group at The Dye Preserve (PBCGA photo)

Three and a half weeks ago, Scott Turner couldn’t make a birdie when he shot 75 at The Fox Club and failed to qualify for the Florida Open. Now, 25 days later, he’s only the second player in the 45-year history of the Palm Beach Kennel Club/County Amateur Championship to win the title in back-to-back seasons.

Turner, of Stuart, started and finished the final round at The Dye Preserve with a two-stroke lead, closing with a one under par 71 for 206, matching his winning score at the Lost Tree Club a year ago.

“I give my pro (Rod Curl Jr., at Hammock Creek) a lot of credit for this win today,” Turner said Sunday afternoon. “I didn’t play for a couple of months because of the coronavirus pandemic when all the golf courses were closed and I stayed home because we (Scott and wife Stephanie) have an 11-month daughter (Kennedy) and I didn’t want her to catch anything.

“So I came out pretty rusty when I started playing again and Rod worked with me for three days in a row last week and it made a big difference.”

Talk about something making a big difference. In Sunday’s final round, Turner hit 3-iron off the tee at the par-3 seventh and the ball sailed left of the green, about a foot out of bounds. Later, Turner hit the same 3-iron on the green at the par-3 17th to about 20 feet, then had a tap-in par putt. He had just birdied the 15th and 16th holes, then parred the 18th as a sudden rainstorm swept through the area for the win.

“I guess that 3-iron redeemed itself,” he said with a smile.

The only other back-to-back winner in County Amateur history was Bill McDonough of Wellington in 1985-86 on the East course at JDM CC, once known as PGA National but now called BallenIsles. A few months later, McDonough qualified for the senior tour but came home a year later paraphrasing the PGA Tour slogan, “Those guys are good!”

The next goal for Turner, owner-operator of the Minor League Golf Tour, is the four County Amateur titles by Tom Knapp of Tequesta between 1982 and 1991. Turner, McDonough and Knapp are the players to have won the County Amateur more than once.

Greg Etimos of Palm Beach Gardens and John Driscoll III of Lake Mary, tied for second after two rounds, two strokes behind Turner, finished second and third with 71-208 and 72-209, respectively. Etimos had four birdies and three bogeys Sunday, Driscoll four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.

Ryan Howison of Jupiter was the senior winner for the second year in a row and third time in the last four seasons, closing on 69-219, tied for 13th overall.

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ABOUT THE Palm Beach County Amateur

54-hole Individual Stroke Play Championship with a single Open division; the field will be cut to the low 70 + ties after the second round.

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