Hideout Golf Club's Gene Fieger tied for second in the Florida Senior Open on Sunday at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach.
Fieger shot a 3-under-par 69 to tie with Ed Sabo of Tequesta, four shots behind champion Pete Williams, an amateur from Juno Beach. Williams had a 54-hole total of 12-under 204 and became the first amateur to win the Senior Open in its 36-year history.
"Every win is meaningful," Williams' said, "but to be able to beat all these great pros is pretty special."
Williams bogeyed No. 16, but came back with an eagle on the par-5 17th.
John Lee of Imperial Country Club in Naples tied for eighth at 3-under 213 after shooting a 73 in the final round.
Dennis Meyer of Estero tied for 12th at even-par 216 after a 72, and Doug Reed was 22nd at 219.
Williams birdied the par-4 10th, the par-3 11th and the par-5 12th, Fieger only the 12th. “That was huge,” Fieger said. “We both had birdie putts at 10 and 11. He made his and I just missed mine.”
Then after Williams and Fieger matched pars on the next three holes, things began to get weird.
At the par-4 16th, first Williams, then Fieger, pulled his drive into a water hazard that runs the length of the fairway. After penalty drops, Fieger hit his next shot over the green. Williams was long but still on the putting surface. Williams got down in two for bogey, Fieger chipped and two-putted for double bogey
Then at the par-5 17th, Williams hit what he said later was the “best 3-iron I’ve ever hit,” reaching the green and sinking a 15 footer for eagle. Fieger, meanwhile, was enroute to a six as his third shot rolled through the green and into a greenside bunker.”
And finally at the par-4 18th, Williams was able to take a free drop from casual water in a fairway bunker but hit his next shot into the lake in front of the green and bogeyed. Fieger birdied after hitting his second shot to a foot. That enabled Fieger to pull even with Sabo again.
No amateur ever won the Florida Senior Open in the previous 35 years the tournament was played at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. Next year's championship for pros and amateurs 50 years and older will be played at Interlachen Country Club in Winter Park.
The Beach Club will host its inaugural senior tournament from Oct. 19-21.