After opponent's costly mistake, Rusty Strawn defends his SOS Dale Morey championship
Rusty Strawn (Credit: Society of Seniors)
used to find it hard to settle into a competitive round of golf. Then he started pretending to play the opening holes during his warm-up on the driving range. Now it seems like no one can beat him.
At Pine Needles, Strawn successfully defended his Society of Seniors Dale Morey title with a one-shot victory over Steve Johnson
One thing stands out after a glance at the hole-by-hole scoring for Strawn over the three rounds - he didn't make many birdies. In his first and third rounds, Strawn, the U.S Senior Am champion, made one birdie total. His second round was the one that Strawn might point to as the one that helped him win. A 2-under par 69 punctuated by three straight birdies on hole Nos. 10-12 gave Strawn the lead heading into the final day.
"Pine Needles is a very difficult golf course with a lot of trouble off the fairway and around the greens." Strawn said. "After you play it you realize why the USGA holds championships there.
Pinehurst, NC., was one stroke behind Strawn after two rounds. Back-to-back rounds of 72 had him at 2-over par and hoping to chase down Strawn. Unfortunately, an opening 40, in contrast to Strawn's steady 35 left Porter well off the pace.
Johnson, paired with Strawn, proved up for the battle. After starting the day two strokes behind Strawn, birdies on holes Nos. 4 and 6 pulled him into a tie with the top-ranked senior golfer in the world.
Strawn's final round had 17 pars and one bogey, which must have been tough for Johnson to watch. There just didn't seem to be much room to make up ground. Strawn's 3-putt bogey on the par-5 10th hole should have been a glimmer of hope, but Johnson also made a bogey on 10. A birdie on the 11th for Johnson gave him some life as he pulled even with Strawn. Another birdie on hole 15 gave Johnson a one-shot lead.
"We both played very steady while hitting a lot of fairways and greens," Strawn said. "Steve was a little more successful with his putter than me. I just couldn’t get a putt to fall."
The stage was set, Johnson led the U.S. Senior and Canadian Senior Am champion with three holes to play. The pair matched pars on hole Nos. 16 and 17. With the honor on the 18th tee, Johnson stepped up and hit his tee shot out of bounds. The 2-shot penalty was too much to overcome, and a double bogey six dropped Johnson to 3-over par for the tournament. Strawn tallied his 17th par of the round to claim a one-shot victory.
This victory for Strawn solidifies his grip on the Society of Seniors Player of the Year award race. Strawn is also the top-ranked senior in the AGC/GolfWeek Senior rankings
ABOUT THE SOS Dale Morey
54 hole stroke play event that honors one of the
founders of the SOS, Dale Morey, who won more
than 250 events in a lifetime of golf. In 2021 the
to a single division. SOS annual meeting and
banquet is held with this tournament.
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