HOT TIMES AT BONITA BAY
The 2014 SOS season got off to a roaring start as a full field of 171 players showed up for the Spring Classic at the Bonita Bay Club East in Naples, Florida. Playing conditions on the Sabal and Cypress Courses were absolutely perfect, with the slick, smooth greens putting at breakneck speed. To top it all off, the weather was perfect, with temperatures reaching the mid-80s each day.
And the golf was played at a very high level.
In the Senior Division, Stephen Sharpe of Greensboro, North Carolina, blitzed the field with scores of five-under par 67 and one-under par 71 to take a four-shot lead over Jerry Rose of Sarasota, Florida, and a five-shot lead over Jeff New of Scottsdale, Arizona, entering Wednesday’s final round over the Sabal Course. Rose and New put the heat during the final 18 holes, shooting matching 71s, but Sharpe stayed strong with a final-round 74 to win by a single shot. It was his first SOS victory.
In the Super Seniors, new SOS member Peter Saputo used his local knowledge as a member and resident of Bonita Bay to run away from the field. Saputo started with a one-under par 71 over the Cypress Course on Monday, followed with a three-under par69 in Round 2 – and then fired a two-under par 70 for a 54-hole score of six under par 210 that was seven strokes better than runner-up Bob Currey of Fenway Park, Massachusetts. Jim Rollefson, the golfing dentist from Wisconsin, finished in third place at 219.
The Grand Masters produced the real drama of the week. Joe Estes of Atlanta, Georgia, and Bill Robischon of Tequesta, Florida, shot final-round scores of 74 and 76, respectively, to catch second-round leader Claud Johnston of Ann Arbor, Michigan, with 54-hole scores of 232. So, off the threesome went to the first hole of the Cypress for a mano-a-mano playoff. And it was Estes who made short order of that playoff, rifling a five-iron on that first hole to tap-in distance for a birdie – and victory.
And so the first tournament is officially in the books. Next stop for the SOS players: the annual Ed Tutwiler Four-Ball Championship that will be played at the Hawk’s Nest Club in Vero Beach from Sunday, March 23rd(practice round) thru Wednesday, March 26th. The field for the Tut is currently filled … with a waiting list. Two weeks after the Tut, the SOS will be in Palm Springs, California, for the annual SOS Senior Masters. More than 140 players have already entered the Senior Masters, which begins with a practice round on Monday, April 7th, and continues with tournament play the following three days. If you intend to play in the Senior Masters, get your entry in NOW!