Marc Fried (Photo: Ron Gaines)
The Golf Club of Georgia provided some drama as Marc Fried
and Gary Durbin
battled down the back stretch and needed extra holes before Fried was crowned the Golfweek Super Senior National champion.
The final round started with John Armstrong
in the lead at four-under par. Mark Weston
sat one shot behind Armstrong; Durbin was the only other player under par at two-under par.
Unfortunately, Armstrong had a tough final round, shooting a first nine 40 that dragged him down the leaderboard.
On the other hand, Fried, who started five shots off the lead, opened with a steady 34 making birdies on the fourth and eighth holes.
A par on the seventh hole kept his momentum, though.
"On the seventh hole, I hit a poor drive and the second shot into a trap, then I hit a poor trap shot but made an 18-footer to save par and stay 2-under par," Fried wrote in a post-round email.
Durbin had the busiest front nine with four birdies, a bogey, and a double bogey.
As the leaders made the turn for home, Durbin was three under. Weston and Fried were tied at one under par. Fried, however, was out ahead of the final groups due to his earlier tee time. A birdie on the 12th got Fried to two-under par.
Two bogeys on hole Nos. 13 and 15 dropped Weston off the pace, leaving Durbin and Fried to battle for the top spot. Durbin managed to reach four-under par with a birdie on the 14th hole.
Winning wasn't really on Fried's mind on the back nine. It was a different milestone he was aiming for.
"The back nine is a little harder and I really wasn’t thinking about being in contention," Fried said. "I got to 3 under after twelve and was thinking more about shooting my age (68) for the first time."
That goal kept him occupied enough to not know where he stood in the event.
"I never checked the leaderboard until the round was over to find I was one behind," Fried said.
Things didn't look great for Fried with two holes left. He three-putted the 16th hole and made bogey to fall to one under par. A birdie on the par-5 18th gave him a bit of hope, but he still trailed by two shots.
Durbin made bogey on the 17th hole to give Fried a bit more hope, and when Durbin finished the 18th in six shots, a playoff was set.
Fried, a resident of Lyndhurst, Ohio, made par on the playoff hole. Durbin just missed a 12-foot putt after missing the green on his approach and chipping onto the green.
Fried credited his putter in the final round for the win. He also played the fourth hole in three under including two tap-in birdies that were nearly holes-in-one in the first two rounds.
It is Fried's first major win of 2022, but he's been playing himself into contention all year with six top-five finishes. His last major super senior victory was in the 2021 Senior Porter Cup, which capped a year in which he finished third in the AmateurGolf.com Super Senior Player-of-the-Year points race. He currently sits fourth in the AmateurGolf.com Super Senior ranking
In the Legends division, Neil Spitalny
of Chattanooga, Tenn. carded rounds of 73-73-72 to win by three shots over Sam Robinson
In the Super Legends division, John Blank
fired a 34 on the back nine of the final round to finish at even-par for the tournament. An eagle-birdie stretch on holes 11 and 12 helped him turn a two-shot deficit into a two-shot victory over second-place finisher Don Marsh
ABOUT THE U.S. Super Senior National Championship
Started in 2017, this tournament features the world's
elite super-senior amateurs (age 65+) and will include
separate legends (70+) and super legends (75+)
divisions. Max handicap 8.0.
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