Steve Maddalena (Heron Creek Golf and Country Club Photo)
Steve Maddalena of Jackson, Mich., won the 2024 Heron Creek Senior Invitational at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club at North Port, Fla., but it was anything but easy.
Not only did Maddalena have to brace the gusty winds, rain, and cold the week had to offer, but he also had to overcome a five-man playoff at the end.
Maddalena, Kevin VandenBerg of Pulaski, N.Y., Trent Gregory of Wake Forest, N.C., Mark Lindberg of Irving, Tex., and Craig Hulbert of The Woodlands, Tex., all finished at 13-over to force the extra holes.
Hulbert had already left and was heading home, so he did not participate. After a bogey by Gregory and Lindberg on the first playoff hole, Maddalena and VandenBerg moved on to the second playoff hole.
On the second playoff hole, with VandenBerg in with a par, Maddalena drained a 25-foot putt to win the tournament.
"I am coming down from Michigan, so my goals were modest," Maddalena said. "I haven't played any competitive golf since the beginning of November. I tried to stay loose and keep a feel and when I came down (to Florida), I was hitting it good."
Maddalena stuck to the script, missing only one fairway and three-putting once. However, that one three-putt came on the 54th hole, where he hit the ball in the water and three-putted to make a double bogey and force the playoff.
"I drove the ball really well for 54 holes on a narrow golf course," Maddalena said. "My iron play was pretty good, considering the tight and muddy lies."
VandenBerg finished in solo second place, Gregory and Lindberg finished T3, and Hulbert finished in solo fifth place.
Lindberg was the 36-hole leader by three shots over VandenBerg, but he struggled in the final round, shooting a 9-over 81 to fall to the playoff.
Maddalena shot rounds of 76-78-75 to win.
Super Senior Division
In the Super Senior Division, Harold Payne of Hurricane, W.V., defeated Mike Poe of Kingsport, Tenn., by two shots.
Payne finished at 9-over to win over Poe, who finished at 11-over. Payne shot rounds of 77-74-74.
James Starnes of Fort Meyers, Fla., finished in solo third place at 13-over.
Gregory Osborne won easily in the Legends Division, finishing at 6-over and winning by nine shots over Michael Lullo, Bill Everett, and Stephen Fox, who all finished T2 at 15-over.
Osborne shot rounds of 78-71-73. His 1-under 71 in the second round was the only round under par in the division and tied for the best round in the entire tournament.
Bev Hargraves finished at solo fifth place at 19-over.
Super Legends Division
In the Super Legends Division, Frank Polizzi of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., won by three shots over George Owens of Suffolk, Va., who finished at 16-over and in solo second place.
John Blank of Frostburg, MD., and Dick Van Leuvan of Atlanta, Ga., both shot 19-over and finished T3.
Grand Master Division
Jim Pfrogner of Sarasota, Fla., shot 13-over to win the division by ten shots over Charlie Busbee of Stockbridge, Ga. Pfrogner shot rounds of 78-75-76 to shoot 13-over for the tournament.
Jerry Edwards of Louisville, Ky., finished in solo third place at 25-over.