Lee Porter (USGA)
The Society of Seniors (SOS) Senior Masters was full of drama down the stretch. On a day when scores were high, Lee Porter
(Pinehurst, N.C) managed to shoot a 74 and edge out Michael Arasin
(Auburn, Ala) and Randy Haag
(Orinda, Calif.) by two shots.
Arasin had played a solid opening 36 holes and ran out to a three-shot lead. On the Celebrity course in round two, Arasin played the first four holes in four-under par. He made an eagle on the par-4 third hole along with birdies on hole Nos. 1 and 4.
Unfortunately for Arasin, the front nine of the Players Course was not as kind. He opened with a 42 on the front nine (and shot 38 there in the first round).
"There wasn't much room for error," Porter said after his win.
The course was playing firm and fast, and a touch of breeze made it tough to hold some greens. The 8th hole, a par 3, was a lay-up according to Porter. Any ball flying on the green careened down a steep slope making par impossible.
In the tough conditions, Porter tallied three birdies and two bogeys for a one-under 36 which helped him turn a four-shot deficit into a two-shot lead heading into the back nine.
Arasin quickly erased Porter's lead on the 11th. The pair had a two-shot swing with a birdie for Arasin and a bogey for Porter. However, a double bogey by Arasin on the very next hole and Porter's birdie on the 13th hole quickly put Arasin into the role of chaser again.
With the help of a tough golf course, Porter managed to keep playing partners Arasin and Randy Haag at arm's length down the stretch. Porter didn't know where he stood until he looked at the live scoring on the 17th hole. Two pars on the closing holes helped Porter reach the clubhouse as the only player under par for the event, beating Arasin and Haag by two shots.
Porter is returning to competitive golf after nearly 20 years away from the grind. He was a former pro, who regained his amateur status last year. He stepped away from golf in 2004.
"I was burned out," he said. "I didn't play for several years."
What reignited the passion?
"My wife started playing during COVID," Porter said. "It got me back into playing and enjoying it again."
Porter credits his wife, who caddied for him this week, with a putting tip that helped him win this week.
"I've been struggling with my putting. You have to make putts to win," he said. "My wife have me a tip on my posture."
Even after so many years away and feeling a bit like an outsider in this new amateur landscape he felt very welcome and enjoyed the competition.
"During my professional career I didn't win a lot. Of course no one does," Porter said with a laugh. "It was fun to be back in the mix."
Porter has the Coleman at Seminole and British Amateur on his calendar for this year along with state events in his home state of North Carolina, and a couple of Society of Senior events, too.
In the super senior division, Adam Kugler
(La Quinta, Calif.) impressed in the final round with the only under-par round of the day. His closing 71 was five shots better than leader Craig Calkins
, helping Kugler make up the four-shot deficit and win by one shot.
started the day four shots behind Peter Van Ingen
(Palm Beach, Fla.). Walker's final round 70 was the best round in the division by three shots, helping him win by three shots Tom Yellin
Johnny Blank (Frostburg, Md.) shot 75-73-76 to beat out Jack Marin by two shots in the grand master division.
ABOUT THE SOS Senior Masters
54 hole invitational stroke play event held in the
California desert around the same time as the
tournament's namesake in Augusta. Attracts great
senior players from all over the
country. Senior, Super Senior, Legends and Grand
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