PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gary Robison birdied three of the last six holes Thursday to overcome a three-shot deficit and win the 50-64 division of the PGA Quarter Century Championship at PGA Golf Club.
Robison trailed two-time PGA Professional Player of the Year Sonny Skinner by three with six holes left, but made the birdies and took advantage of Skinner’s bogey at the par-5 17th on the Ryder Course. It was the 64-year-old Robison’s second PGA Winter Championship title; the other coming at the 2011 Senior Stroke Play.
“Any time you win nationally, you have to be happy,” said Robison, the PGA Director of Golf at Brookside Country Club in Canton, Ohio. “I’m happy any time I win.”
Skinner seemed to take control when he birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes, but was hurt when his second shot at 17 landed in an awkward lie in a bunker.
“I made a poor swing, got a horrendous lie and didn’t navigate it coming out,” Skinner said. “Gary played very well. He shot a lower score, that’s all there is to it.”
Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound won the 65-and-older division, overcoming an out-of-bounds tee shot for a 69 and a four-shot win at 10-under 134. A day after bettering his age with a 65, San Filippo started with a three-shot lead, but that was gone by the fifth hole when he hooked his tee shot OB.
“I’ve played the Wanamaker Course for 25 years and I’ve never hit a tee shot out of bounds on that hole,” San Filippo said. “At that point, it was ‘Game on.’”
San Filippo regained the lead with a 20-foot birdie putt at the sixth hole and he added three more birdies to finish four ahead of Bobby Heins (70) of White Plains, N.Y. It was San Filippo's fifth Winter Championship victory.
“It’s always a little tougher with a lead,” San Filippo said. “I haven’t had one for a while. My game wasn’t there today, but I just hung in there. You don’t win as much as you get older.”
Dick Mast (68) of Forest, Va., was third at 141, a shot ahead of Port St. Lucie residents Jay Horton (70) and Bob Bilbo (71).
In the 50-64, Bill Breen (70-139) of Nashville finished in third, four shots back.
Tom Joyce of Huntington, N.Y., shot 73 to win the Half Century Championship at 4-over 148. Defending champion Nunzio Ciampi (75-150) was two back.
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfAdvisor.com and PrimeSport.