PORT ST. LUCIE – On a day when par was a good score, a par proved to be a winner for Omar Uresti.
Uresti parred the first playoff hole Thursday to beat Mike Diffley of Pelham, N.Y. and win the 50-64 division of the PGA Quarter Century Championship at PGA Golf Club. Uresti shot a 2-under 70 in windy conditions on the Wanamaker Course to make the playoff at 2-under 142.
“It was a grind out there,” said Uresti, an Austin, Texas resident who has played in more than 370 PGA Tour events. “The wind was blowing a good 20-mph all day. There were times you had to putt sideways because of the cross winds.
“I hit a great 5-wood in the playoff to the front fringe and was fortunate I could two-putt for the win. That first putt wasn’t going too fast, especially downwind.”
Diffley forced the playoff with three birdies on his last five holes, including a clutch putt at the difficult 18th hole. But he hit his third shot in a bunker at the par-5 first hole.
“I played awesome today,” Diffley said. “Making a birdie on the 18th at the Wanamaker is not very common for anybody. I thought I might have a chance.”
Diffley (70) was two groups ahead of Uresti and had to wait almost an hour for the playoff. He said he felt stiff, but took away the positives.
“I played great,” Diffley said. “It would have been nice to take down Omar … a 30-year head pro going against a 30-year Tour player. We’ll get ‘em next week.”
Three players finished a shot out of the playoff: Bob Sowards (71) of Dublin, Ohio, Jeff Whitfield (74) of Weldon Spring, Mo., and Sonny Skinner (74) of Sylvester, Ga.
Jay Horton of Port St. Lucie won the 65-and-older division, making a 10-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to beat defending champion Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound, Gary Robison of North Canton, Ohio, and Bobby Heins of White Plains, N.Y. They each finished at 7-under 137 on the Ryder Course.
Horton could have prevented the four-man playoff, but his 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole stopped an inch short. He also four-putted the fourth hole after reaching the par-5 in two shots, but hit an 8-iron on the second extra hole close and made the putt.
“I had wasted a lot of opportunities today, so I felt like I had nothing to lose,” said Horton, who bettered his age (71) by a shot. “You never know when it’s going to be your time to win. It’s terrific I can still be competitive at a sport I love.”
San Filippo shot his age (67) and could have won in regulation, but he missed a 7-foot birdie putt at No. 18. San Filippo had to take antibiotics after the first round and wasn’t sure if he could play Thursday.
“It was nice to have a shot,” San Filippo said.
Bob Dickson (70) of Ponte Vedra Beach and Dick Mast (70) of Forest, Va. tied for fifth place.
A player has to be a member of the PGA of America for 25 years to be eligible for the Quarter Century Championship.
In the Half Century Championship, Tom Joyce of Huntington, N.Y., shot a 75 to defend his title at 3-over 145. He finished a shot ahead of brother Bob Joyce (76) of Southampton, N.Y.
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and PrimeSport.