Rick Woulfe (FSGA photo)
In news which will come as no surprise to anyone, Rick Woulfe (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) won the Society of Seniors John Kline Championship which concluded on Thursday at Hobe Sound (Fla.) Golf Club.
With 15 state championships to his credit, the 12-time Florida Golf Association Player of the Year is the odds on favorite any time he tees it up in his home state, especially when he is playing against players in his Super-Senior age bracket, as was the case this week.
Woulfe added to his legacy this week at Hobe Sound, capturing -- appropriately --the event's "Legend's Division" with a 2-under score of 214.
And Woulfe didn't just win by a little. The Ft. Lauderdale resident was 13 strokes clear of his closest pursuers, Mike McDonald (Williamsburg, Va.) and Pete Allen (Southport, NC), who tied for second place at 11-over par 227. It was somewhat of a home game for Woulfe, who resides a little over an hour from the host club. Clearly he is well familiar with South Florida conditions, and that likely didn't hurt his chances.
“I played pretty steady for three days, hit a lot of greens and made some nice up and downs,” said Woulfe. “The wind was a factor, especially the first day and I think the rest of the field was having difficulty with the new greens which were redone about two years ago.”
Woulfe carded rounds of 70-72-72 to run away with the Legend Division (65-74) title in the dominating fashion which has made him one of the most-decorated amateur golfers in the state of Florida for close to 40 years. He opened each of his three rounds with a birdie on Hobe Sound’s par-5 first hole and kept his mistakes to a minimum to earn his first win of the season after tying for third in the season-opening SOS Spring Classic held at Orange County National in February.
A nine-time FSGA Senior Player of the Year who plays out of Lago Mar Country Club in Plantation, Fla., -- not to be confused with Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach -- Woulfe has competed in 25 USGA championships and 12 British Senior Amateur championships and in 1992, defeated a 16-year old Tiger Woods in the semifinals of the 1992 Dixie Amateur, 4 and 3.
But despite those accomplishments over the last three decades, Woulfe is not ready to ride off into the sunset and reminisce on his stellar career. The now 71-year old plans to play a full tournament schedule this summer.
“I plan on playing at the (George C.) Thomas Invitational at Los Angeles Country Club in June and then try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Am later is the summer, in addition to playing in the Florida State Golf Association events.
“The hard part is not staying competitive, it’s staying physically fit enough to play on a high level. I had some back issues a few years ago and I spent three months using a walker. I have some tenderness in my Achilles which causes be to walk on my toes a little bit but other than that, I’m feeling pretty good.”
Bobby Lundquist (Sanford, Fla.) finished fourth at 12-over 228 while Evan Long (Charlotte, NC) and Dan Donatoni (Malvern, Pa.) tied for fifth at 15-over 231.
GRAND MASTER DIVISION
With a 17-over score of 233 (78-74-81), 80-year old Joel Hirsch of Highland Park, Illinois won the Grand Master Division by one stroke over by fellow Illinois resident Gil Stenholm (Burr Ridge).
Hirsch is a two-time winner of the Senior British Amateur championship, who competed in that championship well into his 60s, coming in 18th in 2007 at age 66. That same year he was runner-up in the Canadian Senior Amateur.
To Society of Seniors members, age is just a number.
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ABOUT THE SOS John Kline
54-hole individual stroke play event for super seniors
open to Society of Seniors (SOS) members only.
There are two age divisions: 65-74 (Legend), 75-over
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