Golfers always can improve, Bob Stringer believes, and that philosophy proved pivotal in his earning his third SCGA’s Super Senior title Wednesday at Florence Country Club.
First, Stringer sought advice from retired pro Norman Flynn, knowing the Florence course would feature deep Bermuda rough in preparation for the first stage of PGA Qualifying School.
“I had tried all kind of things,” Stringer said. “Norman is terrific with pitches and chips, and he showed me some things. I used his technique, and I got up and down (to save par) eight times.”
Second, after putting poorly in the first round, he worked on the practice green afterward and met a young pro who will compete in the Q school. They talked, and Springer tried his training device.
“You have a flaw in your stroke,” the young pro told Stringer. “You’re opening the putter face too much.”
The result? Stringer put the advice into play, shot a 1-under 70, the tournament’s best round, to win the title by a stroke.
Stringer, a Blythewood resident, talked about good fortune and luck and said, “Like most senior (55 and older) and super senior (65 and older) tournaments, it’s who makes the least mistakes.”
He often “makes the least mistakes.” He has won the super senior title in three of his four years of eligibility and finished third the other time. He has won state and Carolinas senior championships both individually and in four-ball competition.
At Florence, the super-seniors found a superior challenge, thanks to the deep rough and the undulation in the greens. “Those factors exaggerated mistakes, and the scores were naturally higher,” Stringer said.
He made the finish more exciting than he would have hoped. Starting the final round three shots behind, he played the first 16 holes in 2-under, which put him in front. But he didn’t know his margin.
“Happ (SCGA executive director Lathrop) came around and asked how this group is doing,” Stringer said. “I told him I had it 2-under for the round and asked him how I stood. He told me I had the lead but not by how much, then I bogeyed 17 by missing a 3-foot putt.”
He drove into the left rough on the par-5 finishing hole, gouged his second out and left his third in the green-side rough. He chipped and thought: “too hard and too high.” But the ball caught the slope and rolled to within 2 feet for a saving par.
He finished 75-70—145 and edged Bob Rickman of North Augusta and Danny Adkins of North Myrtle Beach by one stroke.
Stringer, 68, is a 1962 graduate of A.C. Flora, where he played football and baseball, and he did not begin to play golf seriously until his 40s.
“I got serious about the game later in life, and I always think I can get better,” he said. “I hit it just as far as I ever did, but I hit more bad ones now. I’m lucky; last year in winning (the super seniors at Spring Valley), I made a hole-in-one. That’s lucky, and the guys I play with think I am, too.”
Of course, practice and a couple of timely tips make a difference, too.
Todd Hendley (Greer) shot a three-round total of 14-under 202 to capture the SCGA’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Forest Lake Club. Todd White (Spartanburg) followed at 204 with Steve Liebler (Irmo), Chris Mitchell (Prosperity) and Robert Godfrey (Anderson) sharing third at 209. ... JD Lehman (Beaufort) and Bryson Nimmer (Bluffton) joined forces to captured the SCJGA’s Tradition Four-Ball tourney at Pebble Creek in Taylors. The Columbia duo of Ryan Marter and Jack Parrott won the boys’ 13-14 age group. In the girls’ competition, the team of Sydney Legacy (Lexington) and Taylor Ann Dodson (Aiken) won the title in a playoff over Kelsey Badmaev (Blythewood) and Eden Howard (Lamar).