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Stephen Fox, Pinehurst, NC

ZION CROSSROADS, Va. – Players enjoyed three beautiful fall days at Spring Creek Golf Club for the 22nd John Kline Championship, which is the designated championship event for the Legend and Grand Master divisions. The respective division winners turned in some dominant performances on the par 72 layout designed by Ed Carton, a Tom Fazio disciple, which opened in 2006.


Legend Division

In the Legend division, Stephen Fox (Pinehurst, N.C.) won by ten strokes after shooting under par in all three rounds of the competition. Fox posted scores of 71-67-69 for a 9-under total of 207. Evan Long (Charlotte, N.C.) finished runner-up at +1, 217 total, followed by Peter Van Ingen (Palm Beach, Fla.) at +2, 218. By his own standards, Fox got off to a bit of a slow start on Thursday morning, but he turned it on down the stretch by making five birdies on his closing nine to win going away.

“This was my first event in the Legend division, so it was fun,” said Fox. “I used my length to my advantage and hit the ball solid all week and had the scoring clubs going. I had played here in the past during some travel as a Golf Digest rater, so that helped a bit as well. The course was in great shape, especially the greens, and the club staff was very helpful.”

Grand Master Division

Johnny Blank, Frostburg, MD

Johnny Blank (Frostburg, Md.) continued his strong play throughout the ’23 season in the Grand Master division, this time shooting under par in two out of three rounds. His lone non-red total for the week happened in round two, when he shot a 1-over score of 73. On Thursday, he made it look easy in front of his fellow-competitors by making six birdies on his way to a final round of 4-under 68 and a 5-under total of 211. Ron Johnson (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) and Dennis Younglove (El Macero, Calif.) tied for runner-up at +11, 227.

“This is a great golf course, the greens were very challenging and in really good shape,” said Blank. “I hit the ball very well all week and kept it in the fairway off the tee. My putting was very good, which it has to be around here if you want to have a good score. The weather was great and I’m happy to come away with the win.”

Senior Division

Bryan Hancock, Hoschton, GA

In the Senior division, Bryan Hancock (Hoschton, Ga.) slept on a nice lead heading into the final round, however he thought he may have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Despite not having his A-game on Thursday, Hancock grinded out a score of 81 to go with his previous rounds of 72 and 71 to post a three day total of +8, 224 to take home the trophy. Jeffrey Wells (Southern Pines, N.C.) grabbed runner-up honors at 234.

“It was pretty ugly today,” said Hancock. “The first two days, I was on-point and I feel that was a better representation of my game, but today I was just off for whatever reason. I’m proud of not giving up and not getting too discouraged and still being able to win. The golf course was really good and overall the venue was great.”

Super Senior Division

Gregory Goode, Salina, KS

Gregory Goode (Salina, Kan.) also entered the final round with a nice lead and struggled a bit today in the breezy conditions. After starting his round five over through four holes, his overnight lead was all but gone. From there, Goode was able to settle in a bit and play well enough to win by three strokes over runner-up Michael Arter (Lakeville, Mass.). Goode carded rounds of 73-74-80 for a +11 total of 227.

“I was just trying to hit a lot of fairways, lots of 2-irons off the tee has been my recipe for success throughout the year,” said Goode. “I only hit driver if I feel really confident. My goal was to keep it in play and try to play to the right section of these greens, which are tough and very undulating. Today wasn’t my best, but it was a good week at another great venue.”

On a day when the majority of the field struggled starting out in the cool morning temperatures and breezy conditions, the Legend division featured five scores under par in the final round. In addition to Fox’s 68, Long and Jeffrey Knox (Jupiter, Fla.) each posted 70, and Van Ingen and George Walker (Fairhope, Ala.) fired rounds of 71.

During the practice round on Monday, Stephen Fox made a hole-in-one on No. 5 with a 6-iron. He thinks it was his 11th or 12th ace, but who’s counting? Even more impressive, Michael Arter played the course on Sunday, making an ace on No. 8 with a 9-iron, and followed that up with another ace on No. 17 with a 6-iron during Wednesday’s second round of competition.

Special thanks to the entire membership and staff at Spring Creek Golf Club for hosting the event. Specifically, Spring Creek member and past Society of Seniors President Yancey Ford, Head Golf Professional Kevin Haney, General Manager Kris Reinert, and Course Superintendent Jason Hoffman. Thanks as well to Callaway Golf for their sponsorship of the Society of Seniors.