The 2024 Senior Amateur Tour Championship will be held October 23-24 with a flighted skins game on October 22.
Over 434 senior players from 27 Local Tours competed in the 2023 Senior National Championship!
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – This year’s tournament marked the 25th anniversary of the Senior Amateur Tour. In all, 434 players competed in the two-day event and each one of our 27 Local Tours was represented.
In the Championship Flight, Chad Frank won his first Senior National Championship, but he is no stranger to being a National Champion since he earned the title in 2007 as the Golfweek Amateur Tour Champion. Frank opened the 2023 tournament at Golden Bear with a three-under-par round of 69 and a two-shot lead over Bill Shufelt and Don O’Malley. The players all went to Oyster Reef for the second day to determine our 2023 Senior National Champion. Going into the back nine Trent Gregory, Bill Shufelt, Tony Burbridge and Ernie Watson all put pressure on Chad Frank. Frank stood on the 17th tee box with a comfortable lead until he double bogied the hole and Shufelt only trailed by one shot. Shufelt hit first and piped it right down the eighteenth fairway while Frank hit his ball right and landed almost out of bounds under a bunch of trees. Frank punched out and landed about 70 yards from the green while Shufelt hit it on the green about 25 feet away for birdie. Frank then hit the shot of the day going from 70 yards away to about 5 feet. Shufelt rolled his putt and just missed on the low side before he tapped in for par. Despite the pressure, Frank found the cup and completed the amazing up and down for the victory. Congratulations to all that battled on the back nine before we crowned Chad Frank with his first Senior National Championship.
Chad Frank, Orlando, FL (69-75—144)
Trent Gregory, Central, NC (75-70—145)
Bill Shufelt, Orlando, FL (71-74—145)
Tony Burbridge, Columbus, OH (75-71—146)
Eddie Watson, Michigan (73-73—146)
In the A Flight, the field was close, and three players battled it out throughout the second day (Mike Dowless, Ronnie Fowler and Ronnie Averett) at the Robert Trent Jones course in Palmetto Dunes. At one point, Dowless, Fowler and Averett were either tied or held the lead outright. In the end, on the final hole of the round, Dowless finally won and earned bragging rights. Fowler fired a 75 losing by one stroke while Averett posted a 76 and lost by just two shots. Dowless now has the pleasure of being the 2023 A Flight Senior National Champion.
Mike Dowless, Eastern, NC (75-73—148)
Ronnie Fowler, Nashville, TN (74-75—149)
Ronnie Averett, Mississippi (74-76—150)
Scott Ide, Charlotte, NC (76-76—152)
Kevin Martin, Charleston, SC (79-74—153)
Steve Evans, Jacksonville, FL (77-76—153)
Dana Shoulders, Columbus, OH (77-76—153)
In the B Flight, Amalaraj Irudayaraj played consistently both days and finished two-strokes ahead of the field with a two-day total of 160. Gil Ro finished second at 162 and Chris Rogers placed third with a 163. Once again, congratulations to Amalaraj Irudayaraj on his first ever win to become our 2023 B Flight Senior National Champion.
Amalaraj Irudayaraj, Indianapolis, IN (80-80—160)
Gil Ro, Central, NC (82-80—162)
Chris Rogers, Augusta, GA (82-81—163)
Jamie Branham, Central, NC (79-85—164)
Michael Anderson, Cincinnati/Dayton, OH (84-81—165)
The C Flight saw the only sudden-death playoff of the week as John Bowman and Dennis Guerriero remained tied after 36 holes. In a one hole sudden-death playoff, Bowman was victorious. and took home his first-ever Senior National Championship with a two-day score of 171. Guerriero cashed in second and Mike Grant finished third with a two-day total of 176.
John Bowman, Charlotte, NC (82-89—171) * Sudden-Death win!
Dennis Guerriero, Michigan (85-86---171)
Mike Grant, Charlotte, NC (89-87—176)
John Kline, Columbus, OH (92-85--177)
Terry Lawson, (90-87—177)
In D Flight, Roberto Benavides came from behind to beat both Stan Lee (by three shots) and Les Tice (by four shots) to become the Senior National Champion with a two-day score of 181. Benavides had quite a week as he also finished in third place in the Golfweek National Championship. Lee fired a two-day total of 184 and Tice finished at 185 with Benavides taking home the hardware and the title of 2023 D Flight Senior National Champion.
Roberto Benavides, Columbus, OH (96-85—181)
Stan Lee, Cincinnati/Dayton, OH (92-92—184)
Les Tice, Orlando, FL (93-92—185)
Benton Smith, Central Carolina (93-93—186)
Mel Portalatin, New Jersey (93-94—187)
Central Carolina got their name back on the Team Cup Trophy with a two-day total of 1669. Finishing in second, and only two shots back, was last year’s cup winner Jacksonville, FL at 1671. Charlotte, NC took third place with 1676 shots followed by Columbus, OH with 1680 and Augusta, GA at 1694.
Turning to the Edwin Watts 2 Man Team Challenge, be sure to congratulate the following teams for winning their flight with the two-day totals listed below:
Champ Flight: Chad Frank (Orlando, FL) and Bill Shufelt (Orlando, FL) 289
A Flight: Ronnie Averatt (Mississippi) and Tim Rusk (Louisiana) 306
B Flight: Dave Parker (Indianapolis, IN) and Amalaraj Irudayaraj (Indianapolis, IN) 331
C Flight: Dennis Guerriero (Michigan) and Scott Holland (Augusta, GA) 349
D Flight: Benton Smith (Central Carolina) and Richard Pfister (Central Carolina) 377
Thanks to Palmetto Dunes and the Arthur Hills course for being host again for this year’s National Championship. The Senior Amateur Tour grew 2500 members on 27 Local Tours in 2023 and we are excited to add two more for 2024!
This season marked the eighteenth year Hilton Head Island hosted our National Championships. Our 1245 competitors (434 Senior Amateur Tour/791 Golfweek Amateur Tour) collectively played on nine courses: Country Club of Hilton Head, Oyster Reef GC, Bear Creek, Golden Bear, Robert Cupp at Palmetto Hall, Hampton Hall, Atlantic Dunes at Sea Pines and Robert Trent Jones and Arthur Hills at Palmetto Dunes.