Team Arkansas taps into special bond to win team title at Golfweek International Senior Invitational

Team Arkansas rallied past Team Ireland and two Georgia star-powered teams.

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Team Arkansas played lights-out golf over the final 36 holes at the Golfweek International Senior Invitational at Cartersville Country Club to pull off a come-from-behind victory over Team Ireland and two Georgia star-powered teams.

Arkansas team captain, Gordy McKeown, has known his teammates Stan Payne and Wes McNulty for more than 40 years. The three were taught how to play by McKeown’s father, George, at Pine Bluff Country Club in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. George played in four majors, became a life member of the PGA of America in 2000 and was inducted into the Arkansas Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2002.

In 2014, George passed away at the age of 76. Not only did McKeown lose his father, but Payne and McNulty lost the man who introduced them to competitive golf.

“For us to get to travel to a great golf course like this and play together and then win,” Payne said to Golfweek. “That’s just a testament to him.”

Team Arkansas used a simple approach for Saturday’s final round, relying on lessons taught to them since their youth by George more than 40 years ago.

“We knew the golf course was playing extremely difficult,” McNulty told Golfweek. “The greens are the defense of this golf course and we all knew if we hit it on the greens and two-putt we’d have a chance to win. I think our scores showed it–none of us took it low-low any day but we all kept it around par and that’s what you had to do today. And it’s a testament to this golf course. It’s a beautiful golf course. It’s a gem.”

Ahead of the final round, Arkansas lurked just one shot behind the 36-hole leaders Team Ireland. With individual leader and eventual champion, Joe Lyons leading the way and his teammates Karl Bornemann and John Reynolds playing well, it seemed as though one shot is all Ireland was going to need to pull away from the field.

Arkansas had plenty of momentum thanks to a 5-under team total of 139. McNulty (3 under) and Payne (2 under) counted while McKeown’s 1 under 71 made him the odd man out. The combined rounds catapulted Team Arkansas into a tie for second and in prime position to overtake Team Ireland who had commanded the lead for 36 holes.

Saturday’s final round brought cool temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour, making the pristine greens of Cartersville Country Club even more important to find in regulation.

Even par through the turn as a team, Arkansas made their move on the back nine. Five birdies and an eagle combined for Payne and McNulty not only gave Team Arkansas the lead, but a four-shot victory to take home the team title.

“We were sitting in Whataburger last night and we were talking about George, Gordy’s dad,” McNulty said. “And did he envision that for us – I think he did. He wanted us to play golf at a high level and do these things together.”

”That was his biggest thing,” McKeown chimed in. “He wanted all of us to do it together.”

Perhaps with a bit of help from George, Team Arkansas, who has over 13 USGA starts between them, takes home a team win and a bond that will last a lifetime.

Joe Lyons, Team Ireland lead 2023 Golfweek International Senior Invitational

Rain made Cartersville Country Club in Georgia play longer than it did in the first round.

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Joe Lyons and his fellow countrymen are 18 holes away from a  wire-to-wire victory at the Golfweek International Senior Invitational.

Lyons maintained his three-stroke lead at 6 under despite a second-round 2-over 73. Off and on rain made Cartersville Country Club play longer than it did in round one, making scoring a premium. The wet conditions allowed Lyons to lean on his knowledge from back home and adapt it to the Bermuda grass he’s not fully accustomed to.

“I’m not all that new to Bermuda,” Lyons told Golfweek. “I have an idea. I still wouldn’t say I’m entirely comfortable on it [Bermuda grass]. Basically, I’m just hitting bunker shots out of the rough and trying to convince myself.”

One thing Lyons is a bit more familiar with? Leading.

“It’s always hard when you’re you’re out on your own in front. I’ve won events back home potter to post. It’s a difficult thing to do because you’re sleeping on the lead. You know the stats are not good for people following a low round but I’m very happy with today’s round.”

With a history of being able to close out championships, Lyons has a simple game plan for Saturday’s final round, albeit a difficult game plan to execute.

“Just try to play like yesterday.”

Giving chase are Utah’s Shane McMillan and Oklahoma’s Michael Hughett, both at 3 under. Behind them are two members of the ‘Georgia Mafia’, Bob Royak (2 under) and Mike Combs (1 under). Wes McNulty (1 under ) hopes to help Team Arkansas erase Ireland’s one-shot lead.

Three more players are in a tie for seventh at even par and another six players are within seven shots of Lyons, making every shot count come Saturday.

On the team side, Ireland holds a slight one-shot lead after a second-round charge from Team Arkansas.

All three players from Arkansas carded sub-par rounds, with McNulty (69) and Stan Payne (70) acting as the counting scores. Gordy McKeown carded a 1 under 71 to move inside the top 10 at 1 under for the championship.

Bob Royak’s Georgia team (even), one of five in the field, is three back of Ireland. South Carolina (1 over) and California (2 over) round out the top five. Five more teams are within eight shots of the lead.

With cool, breezy and sunny conditions anticipated for Saturday, plenty of scoring opportunities should make the final round a fun one.

Live scoring can be found on Golf Genius (GGID: 23GWISI).

Joe Lyons, Team Ireland lead after first round of the Golfweek International Senior Invitational

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Ireland is taking care of business early at the Golfweek International Senior Invitational at Cartersville Country Club. Individual leader, Joe Lyons, and his teammates have gotten out of the gates quickly, taking a three-stroke …

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. Ireland is taking care of business early at the Golfweek International Senior Invitational at Cartersville Country Club.

Individual leader, Joe Lyons, and his teammates have gotten out of the gates quickly, taking a three-stroke lead over the field after the first round. Lyons did much of the heavy lifting, firing a 7-under 65.

“A very special day for me, really,” Lyons told Golfweek. “We [Team Ireland] came over about a week ago. We’ve been enjoying Southern hospitality for the last week. We’ve played some great golf, played some really cool golf courses last week, getting climatized to playing off of Bermuda [grass].”

The preparation paid off for Lyons, as he hardly missed a fairway all day. The Irishman went out in 2 under with his lone bogey on the day coming on the par-4 8th hole. On his way back in, Lyons caught fire, making birdie on six of his final nine holes.

“Delighted with my day today,” Lyons said. “There’s another two rounds to go, so, I’m an amateur golfer, I shot 65 today, I could easily shoot 80 tomorrow so I’m just going to try to enjoy today and see how it goes tomorrow.”

Helping Lyons build Ireland’s lead, team captain Karl Bornemann (T-24) carded a 2-over 74. Rounding out the trio, John Reynolds (T-44) looks to make his score count in Friday’s round after an opening 76.

On the team side, Oklahoma commands solo second place at 2 under thanks to Michael Hughett (68) and Jon Valuck (74). Ricky Bell matched Valuck’s 74, giving the Sooner State natives plenty of momentum heading into tomorrow.

Team Michigan, South Carolina and California share third place at 1 under par.

On the individual side of the championship, there are a handful of players looking to hunt down Lyons.

Utah’s Shane McMillan rebounded well from an early bogey to post a 5-under 67. Michael Hughett (Oklahoma) used a bogey-free 11 holes to card a 4-under 68 while Michigan’s Jerry Gunthorpe had an up-and-down day en route to an opening salvo of 2 under.

Four more golfers are knotted up at 1 under with nine more players at even par.

Sharing Lyons’ sentiment, anything can happen in amateur golf, keeping the championship up in the air until it’s all said in done. But, if Lyons and his teammates have anything to say about it, the closing ceremony and trophy presentation will be accompanied by the sweet sounds of the Irish national anthem, Amhran Na Bhfiann.

[lawrence-related id=778387428]

Big names highlight the field at Golfweek International Senior Invitational

There are 28 teams from the United States, three from Europe and one from Canada.

CARTERSVILE, Ga. – Ninety-six of the world’s best senior amateur golfers are set to duke it out for team and individual glory at Cartersville Country Club.

Twenty-eight teams from the United States, three teams from Europe and a team from Canada have descended on CCC. Among them are some of the biggest names in the senior amateur game.

Reigning Walker Cup captain Mike McCoy is captaining Team Iowa alongside teammates Terry Cook and Joe Palmer. Doug Hanzel (Georgia), Jon Lindstrom (Colorado) and Bob Royak (Georgia) are the top three ranked seniors in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR). The field boasts 10 of the top 50 WAGR seniors and two of the top 20 European seniors.

This week, it’s not just about the golf legends. Former NFL quarterbacks Stan Humphries and Billy Joe Tolliver are also teeing it up this week. Tolliver and Humphries, who played in Super Bowl 29 with the then-San Diego Chargers, both are feeding their craving for competition as they tee it up with the best in the game.

Nine Europeans have made the trip across the pond to test their game against a stacked field of Yanks.

Leading the charge is Team Scotland, who have No. 4 ranked WAGR European senior Ronnie Clark and are captained by No. 20 ranked Derek Patton.

Team Ireland, Germany and Canada are all vying for the upset to take home the International crown.

As the Golfweek senior amateur season begins to come to a close, the Golfweek Player of the Year race is just heating up. With 16 players inside the top 100 of the Golfweek player rankings, individual PoY points are on the line, making this week just that much more important.

Golfweek No. 1 Bob Royak has less than a 900 point lead on Doug Hanzel. No. 3 ranked Rusty Strawn, No. 6 Jon Lindstrom and No. 10 Mike Combs can all make a huge jump in the rankings this week with a strong finish or even a win.

Combs (1990 Public Links), Hanzel (2013 Senior Am), Royak (2019 Senior Am), Strawn (2022 Senior Am) and Mike McCoy (2013 Mid-Am) are the five USGA championship winners in the field this week with another near countless amount of USGA championship starts among them as well as their fellow competitors.

Play begins Thursday, Oct. 5 at 8 a.m. ET. Live scoring is available on Golf Genius (GGID: 23GWISI).

With husband Steve at the Ryder Cup, Nicki Stricker competes in first USGA event in 31 years

“The shots I hit good or bad, the scores I shoot good or bad, don’t define me.”

At first, Nicki Stricker didn’t tell anyone in the family that she’d signed up for U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur qualifying. She wanted the challenge to be hers for a little while.

Stricker, 54, and her mental coach, Kathy Hart Wood, sister of Dudley Hart, came up with trying to qualify for a USGA Championship as a way to give purpose to her practice.

“Just getting really frustrated because everyone was kicking my butt in my house,” said Stricker, wife to Steve and mom to Bobbi, 25, and 17-year-old Izzi, with a laugh. “I’m a fairly competitive person so was just like, what is happening?”

Caddie Nicki Stricker, caddie for Steve Stricker, of the United States looks on from the 11th hole during the second round of the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort’s Ocean Course on May 21, 2021 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Needless to say, everyone in the Stricker house is competitive, and Nicki, a former collegiate player, wasn’t having too much fun on the golf course. She also wanted to set a good example for her girls. Nicki didn’t like how she treated herself on the golf course after a bad shot, and with one daughter playing the game professionally and another one playing high-level junior golf, she knew they were watching.

“The shots I hit good or bad, the scores I shoot good or bad, don’t define me,” said Nicki of what she’s learned.

Wood taught Sticker to hit shots from one of the three c’s – calm, confident, certain. Rather than put numbers down on a scorecard, she’d write which “c” she hit from.

Beginning on Saturday at the 61st U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at Troon Country Club, there will be numbers on the card. It’s the first tournament Stricker has competed in in some 20 years, and the first USGA championship since the 1992 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Kemper Lakes.

With Steve working as a vice captain this week at the Ryder Cup in Rome with eldest daughter Bobbi by his side, and Izzi playing in the postseason for high school golf, Nicki won’t have any family by her side in Arizona, though she will have Wood, who will caddie.

Nicki, of course, has caddied for Steve throughout his career. Bobbi played tennis through high school and didn’t take up golf until college. Izzi, a high school senior, won a Wisconsin state golf title last year. It’s not uncommon for the two sisters to take on their parents in a match.

“The game keeps us together,” Bobbi told Golfweek last year. “We travel with (dad), we practice with him.”

Steve was getting a lesson from Nicki’s father Dennis Tiziani at Cherokee Country Club (now TPC Wisconsin) the day they met. Nicki, who was a lifeguard at the club, went over after her shift ended to see her dad and there was Steve.

“My dad had said something after,” she recalled. “ ‘You know the guy you met? He asked for your number.’ ”

After waiting for three days, Nicki finally decided to call Steve and ask him out. Nicki was going into her freshman year of college at Wisconsin and Steve was a junior at Illinois.

The couple married in 1993.

Stricker family: Nicki, Steve, Bobbi and Izzi (courtesy Bobbi Stricker)

Steve, now a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour and a 17-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions, including six titles this season, won the 2019 U.S. Senior Open with Nicki on the bag.

All that time caddying for Steve changed Nicki’s approach to a golf course, how she looks at green complexes and how she views the importance of short game. She shot 7-over 77 at Glenview Park Golf Club in Illinois to secure her spot in this week’s field of 132. She’d love to advance to match play and see what happens.

“They’re super proud of me,” said Nicki of what her kids think of mom back in a USGA Championship. “Which to have your child say that they’re proud of you for something obviously warms my heart … makes me choke up a little bit.”

Bradley Karns seals local win, Scott Masingill goes wire-to-wire at Golfweek Pacific Northwest Senior Championship

The 2023 Golfweek Pacific Northwest Senior Amateur had everything you could ask for as a golf fan. A winner chasing records; a sweaty, down-to-the-wire finish; and four new champions were crowned this week at Wine Valley Golf in Walla Walla, …

The 2023 Golfweek Pacific Northwest Senior Amateur had everything you could ask for as a golf fan. A winner chasing records; a sweaty, down-to-the-wire finish; and four new champions were crowned this week at Wine Valley Golf in Walla Walla, Washington.

Seniors (55-64)

Bradley Karns began Wednesday’s final round three shots back of the leader, Jon Lindstrom.

With over 275 rounds recorded, a 2016 Washington State Senior Amateur win and a runner-up finish in last year’s event all at Wine Valley, Karns felt confident in his abilities to get the job done.

“When you get to this age and you’re kind of in the mix a little bit, playing in tournaments,” Karns told Golfweek. “You just kind of [put your] head down and continue to grind.”

Lindstrom struggled towards the back half of the front nine, carding a front nine 38 and dropping two strokes to Karns as they made the turn. With a birdie on the par 3 11th, Karns moved his way into a tie for the lead, setting up a shootout over the final seven holes.

Lindstrom regained the lead with a birdie on No. 13 only to relinquish the lead on No. 16 with a bogey.

Karns would get his first solo lead of the tournament on No. 17 thanks to another bogey from Lindstrom. Using his local knowledge, the three-time U.S. Senior Am qualifier made easy work of the par 5 18th, taking his first Golfweek Senior Amateur win by one stroke over Lindstrom.

“I’ve played enough and competed against high-level players, that I feel very comfortable when I go tee it up,” he said. “So, I just try to put my head down and keep grinding away… There’s some really good players around the Pacific Northwest and I’m just trying to fit in is all I’m trying to do.”

For Lindstrom, his runner-up finish will move him inside the top 5 of the Golfweek Senior Amateur rankings. Previously 6th in the rankings coming into the week, Lindstrom benefits two-fold as the top 5 players were not in the field.

Super Seniors (65-69)

With a 16-stroke lead heading into the final round, the only question remaining for Scott Masingill was not if he was going to win, but by how many.

“Yesterday, we talked about confidence,” Masingill told Golfweek. “You know, you can be too confident and think ‘I don’t really have to concentrate.”

No matter how experienced you are or how well you may be playing, golf has a funny way of humbling you.

Masingill had a tap in left for par on the par-4 9th. Sweeping it into the hole, it lipped out and resulted in a bogey for the 1971 Pac-8 conference champion (1971, Oregon State). Closing the championship with a 3-over 75, Masingill had wise words that everyone can benefit from:

“There’s the right amount of confidence and there’s the right amount of intensity. You can’t try too hard and you can’t assume that you’re such a good player that you can just go out and play and everything will work out, because it won’t.”

Despite the uncharacteristic day, Masingill closes the week at Wine Valley with the best score to par across the entire field at 7 under 209 and a 17-stroke win in the Super Senior division. Not too shabby for the 72-year-old Idaho legend.

Dan Parkinson (10 over) and Frank Maxwell (12 over) rounded out the podium spots.

Legends (70-74)

Michael Jonson retained his 36-hole lead, taking the Legend division crown with a 10 over 226. Greg Tatham (12 over) takes runner-up honors.

Super Legends (75+)

Oklahoma’s Craig Collins (10 over) takes the 75-and-up division crown. Three straight sub-80 rounds of golf gave him a one-shot victory over No. 2 ranked Bill Engel. Tightly contested, the top six finishers in the Super Legends bracket were separated by just six shots.

The Golfweek Senior Amateur Series tees off yet again next week, this time just outside of Atlanta, Georgia for the Golfweek International Senior Invitational at Cartersville Country Club in Cartersville, Georgia.

Coverage for the event will begin on Tuesday, October 3.

Scott Masingell continues domination at Golfweek Pacific Northwest Senior Championship

“Every once in a while you’ll hit a streak where you just don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself.”

Round 1 Super Senior division leader Scott Masingell came into the week just looking to post three rounds around 70. The 72-year-old from Idaho made the quick trip to Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Washington, to test his game. He didn’t think he would dominate the way he has.

“Every once in a while you’ll hit a streak where you just don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself,” Masingell said. “And that’s where I am right now.”

A 2004 Pacific NW Golf Association Hall of Fame inductee, Masingell has not only lapped the field. He has lapped them nearly three times.

Following his opening round 65 with a 3-under 69 on Tuesday, Masingell holds a commanding 16-stroke lead on the rest of the Super Senior age bracket, currently sitting at 10 under.

“The confidence has built,” he said. “I’ve been able to clear my mind and build on that confidence. It was a good day, and I didn’t get everything out of my round today like I did yesterday. There was no stress and I could’ve been lower, but anyway, it’s great.”

With just one bogey through 36 holes of play, Masingell has only his game and the course between him and the trophy. 

Utah’s Dan Parkinson and Louisiana’s Frank Maxwell round out the podium through two rounds at 6 over and 7 over, respectively.

Seniors (55-64)

Trailing overnight leader Jerry Gunthorpe by one shot heading into Tuesday’s second round, Jon Lindstrom set out to make a move on moving day.

Executing his plan to near perfection, Lindstrom followed up his Monday 68 with a 3-under 69 on Tuesday. Starting his day on the back nine, Lindstrom made the turn at 1 under before lighting up hole Nos. 1-4 with a trio of birdies.

A bogey on the par-3 sixth ended his 27-hole bogey-free streak, but nonetheless, the Denver native takes a three-shot advantage into Wednesday’s final round. 

Bradley Karns stayed stagnant with an even-par 72 to remain in second place at 4 under. Jon Brown lurks in third place at 2 under with a pair of 71s. Kevin VandenBerg, Kevin Sullivan, Tom Brandes and Jerry Gunthorpe share fourth place at 1 under.

Legends (70-74)

Michael Jonson (6 over) vaulted first-round leader Kerry Booth (9 over) with a second-round 73. Greg Tatham (10 over) and Bruce Meyer (18 over) round out the division.

Super Legends (75+)

Greg Mokler (2 over) overtakes the top spot in the Super Legends division with a 72. Wayne Peddy (5 over), Craig Collins (6 over), Henry Cole (7 over), Bill Engel and Larry Dodds (8 over) all look to apply pressure in Wednesday’s final round.

Scott Masingill, Jerry Gunthorpe go low at Golfweek Pacific Northwest Senior Championship

The Golfweek senior amateur circuit has made its annual stop in Wine Country.

The Golfweek senior amateur circuit has made its annual stop in Wine Country.

Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Washington is a stunning Dan Hixson design that perfectly uses the natural features of southeastern Washington in the shadow of the Blue Mountains. With open fairways and rarely a tree in sight, the course plays tough thanks to wild grasses, undulating greens and strategic bunkering, Wine Valley is one of the best tests of golf in the Pacific Northwest.

Two men were able to use those features to their advantage to take leads in their respective age divisions. 

Super Seniors (65-69)

72-year-old Scott Masingill had the round of the day, posting a bogey-free 7-under 65 to take an eight-stroke lead in the Super Senior age bracket.

“I’ve played this golf course quite a bit,” Masingell said. “And it’s really one of my favorite courses of anywhere that I’ve played. In about the past two months, my game has come around, and it’s really just about confidence now.”

The Idaho native has plenty to be confident about. Starting his scoring early, Masingell carded four birdies through his first seven holes. Keeping it on cruise control, he parred the next seven holes before adding three consecutive birdies on hole Nos. 15-17. Needing to knock home a 4-footer on 18 for par to keep his bogey-free round in check, Masingell found the bottom of the cup.

“I got a little nervous and sweaty on the last hole,” he said. “I was proud of the fact that feeling some stress on that last putt, I just knocked it in the middle of the hole. I’m real pleased with the way I played, I’ve been working on my fitness and my game, and I got a result.”

Masingill is not a stranger to playing with the best. With a U.S. Open, two Senior Opens, a U.S. Am and two U.S. Mid-Ams under his belt, he’s no stranger to being in the mix with elite golfers.

As for how he’ll take on the next 36 holes?

“With a big lead like this, I’m really just competing with myself at the moment. So, just not getting distracted by that and [focus] on the cliche of all time, playing one shot at a time. That’s the only way to do it.”

George Walker (No. 1 in the Golfweek Super Senior rankings) and Frank Maxwell are in a two-way tie for second at 1 over.

Seniors (55-64)

In the senior division, Michigan’s Jerry Gunthrope leads the way thanks to his opening round of 5-under 65.  His week began on the wrong foot, as his driver shaft was snapped on his flight out to the West Coast.

Finding a similar shaft at a store 45 minutes from the course, Gunthorpe was able to put the driver in play Monday but still didn’t feel 100 percent comfortable with it throughout the day. Relying on a driving iron and his woods for the most part, Gunthorpe’s wedges made up for the rest.

“I had a lot of wedges,” Gunthorpe said. “I hit a lot of really good wedges so that’s where I made a lot of birdies.”

Not completely satisfied with his game, Gunthorpe looks to improve on his par 5 scoring as well as his tee and approach shots. If the Michigander can get those facets of his game to lock in, it could be a long week for the rest of the field.

He takes a one-shot lead into Tuesday’s round, as Bradley Karns and Jon Lindstrom look to keep their play rolling with matching 68s. Seven more golfers are at par or better.

Legends (70-74)

Kerry Booth (+4) holds a two-stroke lead over Greg Tatham.

Super Legends (75+)

Bill Engel posted an even par round and commands a two-shot lead over Greg Mokler.

Four champions crowned at Golfweek Senior National Match Play

Here’s how everything unfolded.

[anyclip pubname=”2122″ widgetname=”0016M00002U0B1kQAF_M8171″]

After three days and 40 total matches, the Golfweek Senior National Match Play has crowned four champions across each of its respective age divisions.

Forty-two top senior amateur players from around the country ranging in age from 55 to 79 years old made Duke University Golf Club their playground for the past week, carding scores that would not only flirt with their ages, but in some cases shatter them.

Aside from the title of champion, winners of each bracket take home a trophy and add 1,200 Golfweek Player of the Year points to their name. As the season begins to slow down, Player of the Year points are becoming more and more important to those vying for the top spot come year’s end.

NOTE: Seeding for this event was based off of the Golfweek Player of the Year rankings as of August 1st. If the player was not ranked in Golfweek’s PoY rankings, random or national ranking was used to determine seeding.

Senior Bracket (55-64)

Four-seed, Brian Keenan, earned his way into the final with a 5-and-4 win over No. 13 Brian Kennedy and a 2-and-1 win over No. 5 Allen Peake on Wednesday. In the semifinals, Keenan took down No. 8 Craig Hurlbert 1 up to set up a final against No. 6 Ken Kinkopf.

Kinkopf’s journey to the final was seemingly a breeze. Riding a hot hand all week, Kinkopf won his first two matches 8 and 7 and 4 and 2. The latter came against Golfweek No. 3 Kevin VandenBerg, a favorite heading into the week. Cruising to a 6-and-5 victory in the semifinals against No. 7 Kirk Wright, Kinkopf was a likely favorite heading into the final match.

Picking up right where he left off, Kinkopf took the first hole with a par on No. 1. Countering the early lead, Keenan tied the match immediately with a par of his own on No. 2 before taking the lead with a birdie on No. 4.

Knowing Kinkopf could heat up at any moment, Keenan kept applying pressure, taking a 3-up lead as the match made its way to the back nine.

With Kinkopf running out of steam after a stellar week, Keenan was able to win three of the first four holes of the back side to command a 5-up lead through 13 holes.

Not going down without a fight, Kinkopf holed out for eagle on No. 14 out of a greenside bunker to pull back within four.

“He [Kinkopf] told me he had me right where he wanted me,” Kennan chuckled. “He’s a friend and I was glad to have a chance to play him. He’s won a lot of these [Golfweek] events over the years so it was nice for me to get the “W” against a friend like that.”

For Keenan, the win puts a bit of wind in his sails as he heads just an hour down the road from Raleigh, North Carolina, over to Pinehurst to play in the Senior North & South next week.

Super Senior Bracket (65-69)

No. 2 seeded James Starnes took down No. 7 Bill Hardaker 3 and 2 and No. 3 John Armstrong 2 and 1 on his way to the Super Senior final. Meeting him there was 4-seed Keith Waters who went 2 up on No. 5 Greg Goode and top-seeded Marcus Beck en route to his championship run.

Starnes and Water needed all 18 holes to decide their match with Waters coming out on top, winning four of the final six holes to swing the match from 2 down to 2 up in his favor.

Legends Bracket (70-74)

Pete Allen (No. 5) and Bev Hargraves (No. 3) squared off for the Legends title.

Allen went 4 and 3 against No. 12 Fred Clark and No. 4 John Osborne in Wednesday’s play before taking down No. 1 seed George Walker in the semifinals. Hargreaves received a bye in the first round, rolling to a 19-hole win against Donald Kuehn in the quarterfinals and beat No. 2 Sam Robinson 3 and 2 in the semis.

With both men in the top six in the Golfweek Player of the Year rankings, this match had the most riding on it when it came to the year-long race.

Allen commanded a 3-up lead as the two made the turn with Hargraves unable to get anything to fall in the hole. Matching each other shot for shot from hole 8 to 14, Hargraves was finally able to get on the board with a par on the par-3 15th.

Needing a win on 15 to close the match, Allen lived up to his nickname ‘Pointblank Pete’. Carding a par, Allen won the championship match 3 and 2. With the win, Allen slides up two spots to 4th place with Hargraves just 23 points in front of him with just a handful of points events left in the year.

Golfweek No. 2 Sam Robinson closes the gap between himself and No. 1 George Walker as Robinson won the Legends bracket consolation match 3 and 2. Altogether, the top four spots in the Golfweek Legends Player of the Year rankings are separated by just over 1,200 points, making the final stretch run a fun one to watch.

Super Legends (75+)

The top two seeds in the Super Legends division met in the final.

Top seed, John Blank played his way in with a 7-and-5 win over No. 8 Ben Dowdey and a 4-and-3 win over No. 5 Joe Pavoni. Two-seed George Owens went 5 and 3 over No. 7 Richard Kline and advanced to the final after No. 6 John Casstevens withdrew midway through the semifinal match due to injury.

In the final it was Owens who came out on top in a back-and-forth battle. After four lead changes, Owens was able to ice the match with a 1-up victory on the 18th hole.

With the win, Owens closes the gap between himself and Blank, with Bill Engel providing a slight buffer between the two men. Engel was able to earn 275 points this week despite playing down an age bracket, finishing fifth in the Legends bracket.

Championships set following rain-soaked day at 2023 Golfweek Senior National Match Play

Duke University Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina, is playing host.

[anyclip pubname=”2122″ widgetname=”0016M00002U0B1kQAF_M8171″]

The 2023 Golfweek Senior National Match Play event began with 42 of the country’s top senior golfers ranging in age from 55 years old to 75 and up, now finds eight players vying for one of four championships.

With Duke University Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina, playing host, 16 players teed it up in search of continuing their quest towards 1,200 Golfweek Player of the Year points. With just a few events left in the season, every shot matters as the season begins its final stretch.

NOTE: Seeding for this event was based off of the Golfweek Player of the Year rankings as of August 1st. If the player was not ranked in Golfweek’s PoY rankings, random draw or national ranking was used.

Senior Bracket (55-64)

After a no-contest in the first round and a 3 and 2 victory over No. 1 seed Todd Hendley in the quarterfinals, No. 8 Craig Hurlbert squared off with No. 4 Brian Keenan.

Winning three of the first six holes, Hurlbert took a 2 up lead into the par-5 7th. Both Hendley and Hurlbert walked away with bogeys as Keenan looked to gain a bit of momentum before making the turn.

Knotting it back up with wins on Nos. 8 and 9, Keenan was able to use a hot putter to get the match back to all square.

“Nine was another little turning point,” Kennan told Golfweek. “I hit a so-so chip shot…I curled it [the putt] in and got it to even through the turn.”

After Hurlbert won No. 11 with a par, Keenan drained a 50-foot downhill sliding putt on the par-3 12th to tie the match back up before an hour-long rain delay forced players off of the course.

“That was another one I was just trying to get close,” Kennan said. “It just trickled, trickled, trickled and it went right in the middle. He [Hurlbert] just started to shake his head a little bit, but he’s a good competitor and a friendly, good guy to play against.”

After the rain delay, both players exchanged pars before Keenan was able to win No. 16 with a par. With two holes left to play, pars were exchanged with Keenan coming away with a 1 up victory and an even par round of 72.

Facing Keenan in Friday’s championship match is the hot-handed 6-seed, Ken Kinkopf.

En route to the championship round, Kinkopf has won his matches 8 and 7, 4 and 2 and finally a 6 and 5 victory over No. 7 seed Kirk Wright.

Kinkopf needed just 49 shots through 13 holes to advance past Wright and earn his spot in the championship match. An eagle and four birdies highlighted his card on Thursday. For the week, Kinkopf is officially even through 47 holes of golf. Unlike many of his competitors, Kinkopf continues to play after his match is over to keep his game sharp. The strategy is clearly paying off as both he and Keenan are in top form heading into Friday’s championship match.

Super Senior Bracket (65-69)

No upsets took place in the eight-man Super Senior bracket Wednesday as all four of the top seeds advanced to Thursday’s semifinals.

In the No. 1 versus No. 4 matchup between Marcus Beck and Keith Waters, it was Waters who was able to squeak by the top man in the division with a 2 up win.

No. 2 James Starnes and No. 3 John Armstrong battled it out for 17 holes as Starnes solidified his spot in the finals with a pair of birdies on Nos. 16 and 17.

Legends Bracket (70-74)

Advancing to the semifinals with back-to-back 4 and 3 wins, five-seed Pete Allen looked to take down No. 1 George Walker.

Averaging 225 yards off of the tee, Allen gave up 75+ yards to Walker who, despite his age, is able to drive the ball over 300 yards at times. Tack on the fact that Walker got a first-round bye and Allen needed 30 holes to advance to the semis and Allen would appear to be the David to Walker’s Goliath.

Nicknamed ‘Pointblank Pete’ by John Daly following a pro-am event back in 1994, Pete Allen took the fight to Walker, quickly gaining a 3-up advantage through the first three holes.

It wasn’t until the par-3 8th that Walker was able to get on the board. Two down and making the turn, the horn blew and the match was paused as storms moved through the area.

“It [the rain delay] helped me because I was fading,” Allen told Golfweek.

After the quick rest, Walker returned the hot start Allen had to begin the day with three straight wins on holes 10, 11 and 12. Down in a match for the first time all week, Allen knew he had to get something going if he was going to advance.

Tied through No. 14, Allen made birdie on the par-3 15th with a chip-in birdie to take a 1-up advantage. Holding on to the lead the rest of the way, Pete Allen’s run to the championship continues Friday, facing off against No. 3 Bev Hargraves.

Hargraves defeated second-seeded Sam Robinson 3 and 2 to advance.

Super Legends Bracket (75+)

After a 7-and-5 win in the quarterfinals, top-seeded John Blank looked to continue his strong play against No. 5 Joe Pavoni.

Doing just that, Blank advances to the title match after defeating Pavoni 4 and 3.

Meeting him there is No. 2 George Owens.

Playing his way into the semis with a 5-and-3 win on Wednesday, Owens was in control of his match against No. 6 seed John Casstevens. 1 down through 12, Casstevens elected to withdraw for reasons unknown, setting up a one-two matchup with 1,200 Golfweek Player of the Year points on the line.