By Bob Denney, PGA of America
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jim White of Lincoln, Neb., who had missed the cut in two previous Senior PGA Championship appearances, birdied his last three holes to grab low scoring honors among 37 fellow PGA Professionals with an even-par 71 Monday at Valhalla Golf Club.
The 65th Senior PGA Championship was the third in history to be played on a fifth day, the result of five consecutive days of bad weather and two nearby tornadoes on Sunday. There were 10 PGA club professionals making the 36-hole cut of 7-over-par 149.
White, a 54-year-old PGA Master Professional, made the most of his third appearance by finishing tied for 17th with a 72-hole total of 3-over-par 287. He earned $29,000.
Roy Vucinich of Moon Township, Pa., who was the low club professional finisher in 2001 and 2002, tied for 21st this year with a closing 75 and 289 total. Lonnie Nielsen of Orchard Park, N.Y., a full-time Champions Tour member since January after a remarkable 20-year club professional career, tied for 31st with Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound, Fla., at 292.
"I think it's fantastic," said White, the director operations at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club and owner of North Forty Golf Course, both in Lincoln. "It was a long week, but it was a lot of fun. It was a tough golf course, it kind of suited my game.
"It helped that the fairways were soft. I could hit it out there pretty good. And I just putted well, for the most part, and hit a lot of good iron shots. It was great. It was a tough week and I ruined a lot of clothes, but other than that it was great."
White turned in a 69 in the third round for his lowest 18 holes in eight rounds in the Championship. He began play Monday on the back nine.
"I had 11 holes to go coming in and I blew a 7-iron right over the green on 17, made bogey. And, then hit it in three feet on 18 and missed it for birdie," said White. "So I'm going, 'Oh, man.' Then I hit a wonderful 6-iron to two feet on No. 2, the hardest hole out here today, probably, and made birdie. And that got me going. hen I knocked it on 7 in 2 and 2-putted. And hit it three feet on 8. And hit it 15 -- 12, 15 feet on 9. So it made a great finish. I mean birdie, birdie, birdie, who would have dreamt that one up?
"Finishing like I did was pretty satisfying. It was probably the best ball striking week I've had consistently for four rounds. So it was one of those magical weeks for me. Having my son on the bag made it even more special. So we had a great time."
A PGA Life Member, Vucinich finished fourth in 2002, but could not improve upon two middle rounds of 70.
"I was a little bit disappointed with today's finish," said Vucinich. "I ended up with 75 and I was looking for something a little bit stronger than that to be able to maybe get back into the PGA next year through this event. But it was really good. It was good playing, I was very happy the way I played.
"Today it was survival. No question about it. I mean, it was brutal out there. The first holes we played, we started on 9 and it played long and hard. And you just can't believe it. It's very difficult."
|T17||Jim White, Lincoln, Neb.||75-72-69-71-287||$29,000|
|T21||Roy Vucinich, Moon Township, Pa.||74-70-70-75-289||$19,250|
|T31||Lonnie Nielsen, Orchard, N.Y.||74-70-72-76-292||$10,500|
|T31||Mike San Filippo, Hobe Sound, Fla.||76-70-73-73-292||$10,500|
|T47||Bob Ford, Oakmont, Pa.||74-73-76-73-296||$5,250|
|T51||Bob Ralston, Little Rock, Ark.||75-72-70-80-297||$4,412.50|
|T57||John Aubrey, Butler, Pa.||75-74-73-77-299||$4,050|
|T65||Jeff Thomsen, Boise, Idaho||71-75-74-82-302||$3,775|
|T68||Scott Bess, Columbia, Mo.||76-71-74-82-303||$3,775|
|Did Not Make 36-Hole Cut|
|T76||Darrell Kestner, Glen Cove, N.Y.||74-76-150|
|T76||Bobby Heins, Purchase, N.Y.||76-74-150|
|T86||Bob Bilbo, Olney, Md.||75-76-151|
|T86||Tom Strueber, Dallas, Texas||70-81-151|
|T91||Paul Parajeckas, Woburn, Mass.||81-71-152|
|T91||Pete Oakley, Lincoln, Del.||73-79-152|
|T91||Gary Baker, Naples, Fla.||79-73-152|
|T91||Jerry Wisz, Covina, Calif.||74-78-152|
|99||Mike Harrigan, Arlington Heights, Ill.||79-74-153|
|109||Bill Schumaker, Columbia City, Ind.||75-79-154|
|T117||Tom Herzan, Findlay, Ohio||78-77-155|
|T117||Gary Sowinski, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.||78-77-155|
|T117||Tom Joyce, Huntington, N.Y.||80-75-155|
|T125||Don Brigham, Rumson, N.J.||79-77-156|
|T125||Dick McClean, La Quinta, Calif.||77-79-156|
|T125||Jim Fellner, Myrtle Beach, S.C.||78-78-156|
|131||Roger Kennedy, Stuart, Fla.||78-79-157|
|T133||Bob Giusti, Halifax, Mass.||75-83-158|
|T133||Jon Fiedler, Camarillo, Calif.||80-78-158|
|T135||Buddy Harston, Lexington, Ky.||81-78-159|
|T135||Patrick O'Brien, Coral Gables, Fla.||79-80-159|
|T135||George Newbeck, Maryville, Tenn.||80-79-159|
|142||Jerry Tucker, Stuart, Fla.||78-86-164|
|144||Roy Christensen, Spanish Fork, Utah||83-83-166|
|John Brott, Sanford, Fla.||87-WD|
|Will Frantz, North Port, Fla.||WD|
|Ed Sabo, Tequesta, Fla.||WD|
Copyright 2004 by PGA.com. All rights reserved.