Michael Hughett (Owosso, Okla.) won the Dixie Senior Championship for the second time in three years, pulling away on the back nine to hold off Jerry Slagle (Southlake, Texas) by four shots at Eagle Trace Golf Club in Coral Springs, Fla.
Hughett, who won by on shot in 2018 and who finished 5th last year, took a two-shot lead over Slagle into the final round after rounds of 69-71.
Slagle cut the lead to one shot at the 5th, and was still within a shot with five holes to play. But Hughett, coming off a double at the par-4 13th, birdied the next two holes to extend his lead to three, and when Slagle bogeyed the par-4 16th, the lead was four and Hughett parred in to win by that margin.
Hughett closed with a 74 for a 2-under 214 total. Slagle (76) finished solo second at even par.
Art Sellinger (Roanoke, Texas), a former World Long Drive champion, finished third in his national senior amateur debut, while Michael Mercier (Juno Beach, Fla.) was fourth.
Six players tied for fifth at 10-over 226, including last year’s Golfweek Senior TOC champ Rich Buckner (Gainesville, Va.) and past Old Corkscrew Senior champ Stephen Sharpe (Greensboro, N.C.).
A diverse field representing 13 states traveled to Eagle Trace for the final national senior rankings points event of 2020.
In the Super Senior division, Tim Vigotsky (Centreville, Va.) denied Edward Turner (Richardson, Texas) what would have been a three-peat, making birdie on the 5th playoff hole after he and the two-time defending champ tied at 1-over 217. Turner erased a five-shot deficit with a final-round 70. Jeffrey Knox (Brecksville, Ohio) finished third, four shots out of the playoff.
The Mid-Master division for players ages 40-54 was added to this tournament in 2019, and last year’s champion Chad Branton (Cartersville, Ga.) made a spirited title defense, finishing as the runner-up in 2020.
But it was Tommy Smith of Puerto Rico who went wire-to-wire, shooting rounds of 70-72-72 for a 2-under 214 total, three shots clear of Branton. Smith was the only player in the three divisions to shoot par-or-better every round.
Earlier this fall, Smith partnered with Erick Morales to qualify for the U.S. Four-Ball Championship to be held next spring at Chambers Bay Golf Club in University Place, Wash.
Mike Batten (St. Johns, Fla.) and reigning Trans-Miss Mid-Master champion John Bearrie (Marana, Ariz.) tied for third at 4 over par. Mark Lindberg (Coppell, Texas) and Mike Heffner (Villa Rica, Ga.) tied for fifth.