Doug Hanzel of Savannah, Georgia, made a birdie on the first playoff hole to win the Canadian Senior Men’s Amateur on Friday at Big Sky Golf Club in Pemberton, British Columbia.
Hanzel, long a stalwart in the senior amateur game, became the first player since 1995 to win both the senior and super senior divisions at the same time.
“I’m 66 but still competitive in senior golf,” Hanzel told Golf Canada. “I don’t feel like a super senior; I’m still hitting it far. This was my third time playing the Canadian Senior, and what a beautiful place. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come to this part of the world unless a tournament was hosted here, so I’m grateful.”
Hanzel opened the tournament with rounds of 68-74-71, putting him one stroke behind third-round leader Ken Griffith of Canada. The final round proved to be a back-and-forth affair. Hanzel tied for the lead after making birdie on No. 7 and then went two shots clear after a birdie on 11 coupled with a Griffith bogey. But Hanzel then bogeyed No. 12 and doubled No. 13 to lose the lead.
Griffith looked to have the best chance at victory before he made double bogey on 16. That created a momentary three-way tie at 2-under between Griffith, Hanzel and Canadian Dave Bunker.
Around the same time, former U.S. Senior Amateur winner Gene Elliott holed out from the fairway on the par-5 18th to make an eagle that put him at 3-under 285 for the tournament. It was a final-round 67 that appeared to potentially steal the tournament until Hanzel made a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to force a playoff. Griffith and Bunker finished one stroke shy at 2-under 286.
“I had a difficult up and down, and I didn’t want to leave it short,” Hanzel said. “I knocked it a bit past the hole but was happy to make probably my second-longest putt of the week there.”
On the first playoff hole, Hanzel knocked it on the green in two and made birdie, but Elliott could not match him. It continues to be a nice summer for Hanzel, who also recently won the Huddleston Cup and Georgia Senior Match Play Championship.
Rick Stimmel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, continued his strong summer in winning the Senior Porter Cup on Friday at Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston, New York.
Earning his eighth victory of the year, including local competition, Stimmel made par on the first playoff hole to defeat former champion Steve Maddalena.
“I have won three professional events as an amateur. I won our state senior amateur. I won the Tri-State Open, the Tri-State Amateur … and I won this,” Stimmel told the Niagara Gazette. “I won eight tournaments in a year. Like if you win once, you’re pretty happy. Twice is kind of a fluke. But I have it going in the right direction just in time for the winter.”
Stimmel held a one-stroke lead after an opening 2-under 68. He lost that lead in round two when he shot 75, falling two strokes behind Tony Hejna of Juno Beach, Florida.
Three back-nine birdies looked to put Stimmel into position to win until an untimely bogey on the par-3 18th sent him into a playoff at 3-over 213.
Stimmel again missed the green in the playoff but blasted out of the greenside bunker to just 2 feet. Maddalena hit the green but three-putted from 25 feet, allowing Stimmel to earn the title.