Mini-Tour Champ Chancey Wins Patriot
If there’s one thing Jim Chancey knows how to do it’s how to win a golf tournament.
Chancey, a 60-year-old from Winter Haven, Fla., may look more like a doting grandfather than a tournament champion, but looks can be as deceiving as a four-foot putt for par on one of National Golf Club’s undulating greens.
It took two scrambling pars on playoff holes for Chancey to nail it down, but he won his first Sunbelt Senior Tour Patriot Championship last Sunday in the 10th anniversary of the event.
“That’s it,” said Sunbelt Tour director Don Barnes. “Now Jim has won every championship that we play on the Tour. The Patriot was the only one he hadn’t won.”
“Really?” Chancey said. “I knew I hadn’t won here, but I wasn’t aware that I had won everything else.”
Don’t blame Chancey for not being able to recall every professional tournament he’s won.
“I’m not exactly sure how many,” he said. “If I had to guess, I’d say around 450.”
This one didn’t come easy, though. Chancey and Rick Schuller, a 49-year-old club professional from Chester, Va., finished the 54 holes of regulation in the 10th annual Patriot tied at 7-under-par 209. Schuller, who began the day three strokes back, shot 68 to force the playoff.
Chancey hit his tee shot on the first hole right, caught a tree limb and left him a long approach shot. That effort came up just short and was buried in rough to the right of the green.
Schuller hit a perfect tee shot and a solid second to within 20 feet of the cup. Chancey chipped to within five feet and Schuller left his birdie try inches to the right. Chancey buried the putt to stay alive.
On the par-3 second hole, Chancey hit his tee shot long and it trickled a few feet off the green, leaving him some 60 feet from the pin.
Schuller hit his shot pin-high, but just to the left, leaving him some 25 feet from the pin, but with a downhill putt.
Chancey ran his chip eight feet past the cup, and Schuller’s ended up just more than three feet past the hole. Chancey made, Schuller missed and Chancey claimed the $10,000 first-place check.
“I played very well,” the winner said. “I had it to nine under through 12, but hit the wrong club on 13 and then hit my only bad drive of the round on 14. I played so well for so long, then just let it go for a couple of holes.
“I was surprised when Rick missed the putt on the last playoff hole, but anytime you have a four-footer it can happen.”
Schuller, who is new on the Sunbelt Tour and plans on playing a couple more events as he attempts to sharpen his game for the upcoming Champions Tour Qualifying School, took the loss in stride, although there was a $4,000 difference in winning and coming in second.
“I thought I played it smart in the playoff,” he said. “I hit good putts on both holes, but …
“I really got it going on the back nine with birdies on 10, 11, 12 and 13, but I hung a 12-footer on the lip on 18 and it ended up costing me $4,000.
“I loved the golf course, though. It’s a beautiful layout.”
Fred Wadsworth of Columbia, S.C., a former PGA Tour player with two wins, and Javier Sanchez of Fayetteville, Ga., tied for third with 211.
Elton Trent of Reidsville shot 145 to win the 36-hole amateur competition with Gary Strickfaden of Southern Pines and Jeff Clay of Pinehurst tying for second with 146. Bob Klug of Pinehurst was fourth with 152.
The Patriot was founded in 2003 by Pinehurst amateur Spike Smith. It is headed by Chuck Deleot, a retired Naval Reserve captain who works year-round with a committee of volunteers, in organizing the fundraising Patriot Pro-Am and other events, including the annual Patriot Soldiers Appreciation Dinner at National where the year’s charitable donations are announced.
“We presented surfboard checks totaling $580,000 to our charities at Fort Bragg, benefitting the XVIII Airborne Corps, Survivor Outreach Services, Warrior Transition Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, and U.S. Army Special Operations, as well as the Navy SEAL Foundation,” Deleot said.
“We have now passed the $2 million mark in our donations over the last 10 years to help the families of soldiers killed, wounded, and injured in the global war on terrorism.
“Our honoree this year was Gen. Dave Rodriguez, Commanding General U.S. Army Forces Command. There were nine other active duty or retired generals at the dinner, including Maj. Gen. Don Strait USAF, who wore his dress uniform last worn when he retired in 1978. General Strait is 94.”
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