Despite a severe weather delay halfway through Round One, spirits were high at 8 a.m. on day two as our PGA Professionals and amateurs alike resumed play. Round Two began at 11 a.m. with players starting until 12:21. Notable on the front nine were Professionals Don Berry, Dale Jones, and Craig Brischke and amateurs Steve Whittaker and Dave Steingart.
On the back nine, five-time-prior Senior Open champion Don Berry pulled ahead to play neck and neck with Steve Whittaker from Hole 12 and on. Berry maintained a confident cool; Whittaker stayed humble and gracious, often urging his fellow players’ shots to reach the hole and congratulating their successes.
Steve Whittaker drained a 35-foot putt to tie Don Berry at 5 under par and force a playoff for the Championship. Both players finished with a two-day total of 137. Steve finished the day 3 under and Berry made a comeback coming in at 5 under despite Day One’s even end.
The playoff for the Championship turned into a switchback between holes One and Nine as the two men went par for par five holes in a row. On the sixth playoff hole, Whittaker’s second stroke landed short-right in the fringe with a hill between him and the hole.
Berry’s ball landed in the exact same place it had for the past two attempts on Nine, left-center of the green.
Whittaker made a valiant chip, cresting the hill and coming to rest no more than 6 feet from the hole, but his putt missed and Berry, making par, took the title.
Six holes is no quick playoff and took about an hour and 15 minutes to complete.
“I think it was a lot because of the holes,” said Berry. “One was a tough birdie hole… Nine played a little easier downwind… Kind of really easy holes to make par but really tough holes to make birdie.”
Third place went to Brischke at 1 over, Dale Jones in fourth at 3 over, and fifth place was a 3-way tie. Berry’s victory adds up to six Senior Open titles. Whittaker didn’t go home empty-handed, though. He took home low Amateur honors, along with winning the 65+ age division.
“I haven’t played more than 18 holes in a single day this year because I’ve had some back issues and I’ve just done 34 holes so I’m exhausted,” said Whittaker. “I’ve been out here since 8 o’clock this morning.”
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