Vannelli Wins by One at Senior Amateur
DARIEN, Conn. (May 6, 2008) – On a day when swirling winds made for very difficult scoring conditions, 2005 Met Amateur champion and first-round leader Ron Vannelli of Metuchen Golf & Country Club (N.J.) captured a one-stroke victory in the 81st MGA Senior Amateur Championship at Wee Burn Country Club.
Vannelli carried a three-stroke lead into today’s final round after posting an even-par 72 in Monday’s first round. However, after a bogey-bogey start and a five-over 40 on the front nine, Vannelli saw his cushion evaporate as Joe Sommers of Winged Foot was playing solidly and moved into a two-stroke lead. But the 60-year-old Vannelli would rally with birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to pull even, and when Sommers bogeyed the 487-yard, par-five finishing hole, Vannelli regained his lead and managed a two-putt par on the 18th to finish with a 77 and a two-round total of five-over 149.
“I felt relieved, for sure,” remarked Vannelli. “I thought I would have to birdie the last three holes to have a chance to win, and I sure tried to. But Joe kind of gave one back there and I was just happy to make a par.”
Vannelli, the 2005 MGA Player of the Year, is no stranger to the winners’ circle, and the MGA Senior Amateur marks his second significant victory in as many weeks. He also won the Senior Division of the Richardson Invitational at Seawane Country Club on Long Island last week.
“This ranks right up there, and it’s always a great feeling to win an MGA event.” Vannelli will take the confidence from this victory into the Ike Championship, which will be played at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, N.J. “That’s a great course, and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Vannelli. “I can’t hit it as long as those young guys anymore, but I still enjoy competing against them.”