With a field of golfers who have won national and international senior championships Pat Thompson wasn’t worried about beating any of those golfers for the Chanticleer National Senior Invitational title.
He wanted to beat the golf course.
Thompson shot a final round 2-over par 74 to finish the 54 hole championship at 218 to take a 1-shot win and his second championship in the event.
Thompson won the 2018 Invitational and used the experience he gained three years ago to help him win again at Chanticleer.
“Being a past champion is huge,”said the Asheville golfer. “You know this golf course is always going to be the winner, so if you can play it about even you are going to be right there,” he said.
Thompson started the tournament tied with three other golfers a shot behind first round leader Peter DeTemple from Callaway, MD.
In the second round DeTemple fell off the pace as Thompson carded a 1-over par 73 to take a 1-shot lead over Richard Karper from Oldsmar, FL.
Greenville’s Geno Berchiatti and Buddy Bryant from Lexington, KY were 2-shots off the lead with former champion Rick Cloninger from Fort Mill and the winningest amateur in Carolina golf history Paul Simson from Raleigh close behind.
While Thompson’s main goal was to beat the course he did take notice of the golfers chasing him in the final round.
“I was guessing that because of Covid last year a lot of really good players would have the bug to get out and play in an event like this,” said Thompson.
In the final round Berchiatti got off to a hot start with birdies on three of his first four holes. He finished the front nine at 1-under par while Thompson had a double-bogey bogey finish on the front to post a 3-over 39 and relinquish the lead .
Berchiatti added another birdie on the 11th hole, but deep into the back nine he ran into trouble. A triple on the par 3, 16th hole and a bogey on the final hole dropped Berchiatti out of the lead.
Bryant, playing in the group in front of Thompson, had bounced back from going four over in his first five holes to make two birdies on the back nine to take the club house lead at 3-over par.
Thompson birdied the 13th hole to retake the lead and for the first time during the final round checked the scoreboard.
“I didn’t look until after I hit my second shot on 15. When I saw everyone else was around par I had a shot,” he said.
With a 1-shot lead Thompson made what he called a mistake. He hit a driver off the tee on the long par-5 hole and it trickled off the fairway.
“17 is a bear. I knew I wasn’t going to go for it and I should have hit a hybrid. I got a decent lie off the fairway and made a decent pitch and parred the hole,” he said.
Thompson still had the difficult par-4 18th hole to wrap up his second win. His tee shot was well back of the traps leaving him 130 yards to a pin that was tucked in the far right corner of the green.
“I wanted to take the bunker and the water out of play. I ended up about as far away from the hole as I could be,” Thompson said. He needed a par to avoid a playoff with Bryant.
Thompson put a good stroke on his 40 footer and rolled it 6 feet past the hole, but it gave Thompson the line he needed to see to make his par coming back.
“I wanted to get it to the hole and when it rolled past I saw how I needed to play it to make the par,” he said.
Thompson played the six footer a little outside the hole and when it dropped he had his second Invitational title topping an outstanding field..
“This was the strongest field I have seen here and this is the best golf course we play. I know if I can compete with the guys in this field I can compete with them in national events and around the world,” said Thompson.
Bryant finished second, one shot behind Thompson. Sherrill Britt from West End, NC shot the best final round posting a 2-under par 70 to move up to third with Berchiatti finishing in fourth place.
Greenville’s Johnny Dennis was the winner of the Super-Senior category with Charles Yandell from Cashiers, NC taking first place in the Legends Division.
Chanticleer National Senior Invitational scores https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/7012587876013620836
Categories: Upstate Amateur Golf