Hanzel defeats two-time champion Gene Elliott on first playoff hole
Pemberton, B.C. – Doug Hanzel’s birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff sealed the win and the 2023 Canadian Men’s Senior Championship, presented by BDO on Friday at Big Sky Golf Club in Pemberton, B.C. With the win, Hanzel, of Savannah, Ga. also takes home the Super Senior Championship, becoming the first player to win both titles in the same year since the Super Senior division was added in 1995.
“I’m 66 but still competitive in senior golf. I don’t feel like a super senior, I’m still hitting it far. This was my third time playing the Canadian Senior and what a beautiful place. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come to this part of the world unless a tournament was hosted here, so I’m grateful,” said Hanzel following the playoff win.
The final round provided plenty of drama with numerous lead changes throughout the day, particularly on the back nine. Hanzel grabbed a piece of the lead following a birdie on the seventh hole to pull even with third round leader Ken Griffith at 4-under. Both men birdied the ninth hole and then bogeyed the 10th to remain tied for the lead.
Hanzel took the solo lead by two shots with a birdie on 11, coupled with a bogey by Griffith. Hanzel dropped a stroke on 12, before losing the lead following a double bogey on 13. Griffith would then go on to double bogey 16 putting himself along with Hanzel and Dave Bunker all tied at 2-under with two holes remaining.
During that time two-time champion Gene Elliott had posted a 5-under 67 to position himself as the clubhouse leader in search of his third national senior championship. Elliott holed out from the fairway on 18 for eagle, putting himself at 3-under for the tournament.
Hanzel enjoyed success on 18 as well as he closed his round with a birdie to finish with an even par 72 and move to 3-under to force a playoff.
“I only made two bad swings on the back nine. I hit it in the hazard on 12 and saved a nice bogey. Lost ball on 13, sucked it up and moved forward. I hit decent shots coming in, but the key was the 20-foot birdie on 18. I had a difficult up and down, and I didn’t want to leave it short. I knocked it a bit past the hole but was happy to make probably my second longest putt of the week there,” he said.
Hanzel and Elliott would go back to 18 for the first hole of the playoff, where Hanzel birdied to seal the victory.
“The hole sets up for me, there’s room to move it left to right. I had 184 to the pin on my second shot and knew it was a nice easy seven iron to put enough spin on it to keep it on the green. I had a straightforward 20-foot putt and was happy to knock it up to six inches for the birdie,” said Hanzel.
Hanzel also won the Super Senior Championship (golfers 65-and-over) by six shots over Lance Lundy of Pemberton, B.C. and 2018 champion, Brady Exber of Las Vegas. By winning the Canadian Men’s Senior Championship, Hanzel has earned an exemption into the 2024 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship.
On Wednesday, Team Alberta won the Senior Inter-Provincial Team Championship shooting a combined score of 2-under to win their third consecutive team title. Team Alberta finished seven shots clear of Team New Brunswick, who finished in second at 5-over, with Team Manitoba in third place at 10-over. Team Alberta consisted of Ken Griffith and Brian Laubman and James Varnam both from Edmonton.
For the final standings of the 2023 Canadian Men’s Senior Championship, please click here.
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