Pat O’Donnell of Happy Valley, Ore. went wire-to-wire in winning the 55th Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur Championship; while Gary Vanier of Tetonia, Idaho survived a playoff to win the 10th Pacific Northwest Super Senior Men’s Amateur.
The three-day 54-hole stroke-play championships were held concurrently at Florence (Ore.) Golf Links, and were conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA). The Senior Men’s Amateur includes men 55 years of age or older while the Super Senior Men’s Amateur includes men age 65 years or older.
O’Donnell was the only player in the Senior Amateur to finish under par, with rounds of 71-73-71. He was the leader after round one, and carried it through to the end. In today’s final round, he was two shots up on Greg Sanders of Anchorage, Alaska, and he held that lead until the end.
“It feels good to get it done,” said O’Donnell afterward, of his win. “I’d come close many times in a PNGA championship, but never to the top. I was keeping track of where I was (during today’s final round), and I stumbled a bit in the middle of the round, with bogeys on eight, 10 and 11, but settled down with a birdie on 14, and that was that.”
O’Donnell was named the 2016 PNGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year.
In the Super Senior Amateur, Vanier had started today’s final round one shot behind Paul Lodge of Caldwell, Idaho. Vanier had built a two-shot lead over Lodge with three holes to play, but Lodge birdied holes 16 and 18 to catch Vanier and force a playoff, with both players finishing the three-day championship at 1-under-par. Vanier won the title on the second playoff hole. The two competitors were the only players in the Super Senior field to finish under par.
“I played really well yesterday (in shooting a 3-under 69),” Vanier said. “And that got me back in the tournament. It’s hard to make birdies out here. It’s an excellent golf course. The wind is such a factor here, with it blowing 30 mph into you on one hole, and then with you on the next hole.”
Of the playoff with Lodge, Vanier said, “Paul nearly got me on the first extra hole. His putt lipped out, and I got lucky.”
Vanier had finished tied for second in last year’s championship. He lives part-time in California, and has won nine senior titles in Northern California.
Scott Masingill of Payette, Idaho held the lead with nine holes to play in today’s final round, before taking a devastating quadruple-bogey on the par-3 17th hole, finishing in third place, four shots out of the Lodge-Vanier playoff. Masingill is a 2003 inductee of the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame, and serves as a vice president on the PNGA Executive Committee.
Lodge, Vanier and Masingill were paired together in today’s final round.
The Pacific Northwest Senior and Super Senior Men’s Amateur championships are two of 15 major, regional, amateur championships for men, women, juniors, and seniors conducted annually by the PNGA throughout the Northwest.
The PNGA was founded on February 4, 1899. It is a 501c3 charitable, international, amateur golf association dedicated to preserving the true spirit of golf by supporting its allied associations, conducting quality championships, and promoting activities beneficial to golfers in the Pacific Northwest. For more than a century, the Association has been a pioneer in developing competitions and services and its mission has grown and evolved. Today, the PNGA remains committed to being a truly regional organization providing benefits and services to its members and member clubs throughout the Northwest.