The R&A - Working for Golf

Davis wins Senior Amateur in playoff

  • Craig Davis won the Senior Amateur Championship.
  • At the end of regulation play Davis and Gene Elliott were tied on nine-under par 207.
  • A birdie on the third play-off hole sealed Davis the win

American Craig Davis won the Senior Amateur Championship at his first attempt at North Berwick yesterday beating Gene Elliott at the third hole of a sudden death play-off after they had both finished on nine-under par 207 for the 54 holes.

Davis, a 57-year-old software engineer from Chula Vista near San Diego, sank the winning putt with a 40-year-old PGA Tommy Armour putter he was advised to buy by his teaching professional when he was 16.

"It's fantastic to win this," said Davis, who shot three rounds of 69.

"I never thought I was capable of winning, just hoped to make the top 20 to be exempt next year. Now I believe I get exempt into the British and US Senior Opens next year as a result of this win, which is great.

"I'm over here with 11 family members and we went to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo last night, which brought us all to tears. So special. It made today magical and we're all in love with Scotland."

How the play-off unfolded…

In the play-off they both halved the first and 18th holes. Returning to the first hole for a second time in the play-off, Davis sealed the win with a birdie.

He hit a 4-iron off the tee onto a path 107 yards short of the green, then hit a 50-degree sand-wedge to five feet and holed it.

Davis records 69 in regulation play

Earlier Davis, starting two behind the overnight leader Matthew Sughrue, bagged five birdies and dropped just two shots and at one time was in a share of the lead with five others on eight-under par.

He birdied the third with a 6-iron to the green and two putts from 40ft. Dropped a shot at the short sixth when he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker, then just missed an eagle from 15ft at the ninth, tapping in for a birdie.

He birdied the short tenth when he sank a 30-footer and then got a perfect birdie at 14 when he hit his pitching-wedge second to a foot. He missed from four feet to drop a shot at the next but then birdied the 18th after finding the green from the tee.

Elliott misses birdie opportunity

Twenty-minutes later Elliott stood on the 18th tee at nine-under par needing a birdie to clinch the championship, in which he finished 3rd last year and second the year before.

His drive finished just off the green on the right, but he misjudged his first putt up the hill pushing it 10ft wide of the hole and couldn't convert it for the birdie he needed.

The 57-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa, who has a business providing municipal vehicles, was one off the pace overnight on seven-under par and got to ten-under after 11 holes with birdies at three, eight, ten and 11 and just one dropped shot at seven.

But he missed an eight-foot putt to drop a shot at the 12th and three putted from the fringe at 14 to go back to the pack. He got to nine-under with a birdie at the 17th when he put a 4-iron to seven feet and holed it, but he couldn't just make that final step.

Slagle finishes outright third

Texas businessman Jerry Slagle finished alone in third place on 208 with England's John Ambridge from Moor Park sharing fourth a stroke further back with Americans Roger Hoit and Paul Simson, who also won the over 65s prize.

Hoit and Slagle both shot 65s, the best rounds of the week, to come out of the pack.

"This is a beautiful golf course, I love it," said Slagle playing in his first Senior Amateur. "It's the best ball striking day I ever had, but I left a couple out there.”

He eagled the third and got seven birdies dropping just one shot at the 15th, while Hoit had seven birdies in an unblemished card.  

"I hit it really well and putted really well," said Hoit, who had local Scottish international 22-year-old Clara Young on his bag. "Clara was great.  She helped me a great deal all week.  I love it over here. The golf is so good."

Ambridge recovered from a three-over par seven at the second to post a 67, while Simson, three times a winner of this championship, eagled the 18th for the second time in three days to move into the top four.

Rounding out the top ten…

Three others finished in a share of seventh on six-under par, Scot John Fraser from Royal Burgess, England's Rupert Kellock from Sunningdale and American Chip Lutz, another three-time former winner.

Matthew Sughrue, who led overnight, slipped to a share of tenth place with a final round 75, while his fellow Americans Bob Royak and Randy Haag shot 75 and 74 respectively to fade out of contention.