Doug Hanzel Captures the Inaugural "Vinny"
Wielding a hot putter on the slick Deer Creek course greens of his home club at The Landings, Doug Hanzel fired a two-under par 70 in Monday’s final round to win the first “Vinny” Championship for SOS seniors with a 54-hole score of one-under-par 215.. Hanzel, who won the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, had only 24 putts during his final round, according to the tournament honoree, Vinny Giles, who was paired with him.
Bob Stephens, Mark Weston and Mike Bodney finished in a three-way tie for second place at 217. Mills Rendell returned to his home in nearby Sea Island, Georgia, with the Super Seniors title.
The Landings hosted a wonderful dinner in Vinny’s honor for the SOS players and their guests on Saturday night, and Giles was clearly touched by the outpouring of affection from the players and some of his closest friends from the golfing wars. As a record of Vinny’s performances in USGA and International championships was read to the audience – Giles, remember, has won the U.S. and British Amateurs and the U.S. Senior Amateur, among other triumphs – SOS member Richard Pfeil said simply: Wow!
Three of Giles’ fellow former Walker Cup players and captains – Mr. Downing Gray, Mr. Ex-Capt. Jim Holtgrieve and Buddy Maruccii (who actually led the Vinny through two rounds but had to withdraw from Monday’s final round) – all took to the podium to provide personal salutes to, and remembrances of, their dear friend Vinny.
And then Vinny took the microphone and told the audience of his passion and love for the game of golf, and of all the experiences he had so enjoyed throughout his long and greatly successful career in the game. He also urged the SOS seniors to lead the organization into that great unknown called the future of golf.
It was a night to remember, for sure.
On a more somber note, while the SOS players all were celebrating Vinny Giles during the weekend, they also were mourning the death of Brad Franks, who suffered a heart attack during Saturday’s opening round and passed away later that afternoon. Mr. Franks, who lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Bradenton, Florida, was 69. We offer our sympathies to his daughters and his grandchildren. And we particularly thank Dr. Hanzel, Tad Sanders and his staff at The Landings, the local police, the EMS personnel, the staff at the host Courtyard Marriott hotel and also our SOS Tournament Management team for their assistance throughout the weekend.