Four champions crowned at the 2022 Golfweek Player of the Year Classic

Tampa, Florida, has been given the moniker ‘Champa Bay’ in recent years thanks to the Lightning winning back-to-back Stanley Cups, the Buccaneers winning Super Bowl LV on their home turf and the Rays winning divisional and American League pennants.

The Golfweek Player of the Year Classic came to a close on Tuesday with four senior golfers earning their claim to ‘Champa Bay’ at Tampa Palms Country Club.

Lurking all week long, Miles McConnell stuck around the top of the leaderboard long enough to claim the top spot in the senior division (ages 55-64). McConnell was a co-leader following the first round and trailed 36-hole leader Billy Mitchell by three shots heading into the day.

McConnell got out of the gates quickly, carding birdies on three of his first five holes.

“I knew today particularly, I had to play well,” McConnell told Golfweek. “It was a challenge the whole way around keep your composure and try to hit greens.”

McConnell felt that he had the tournament in hand by No. 16. After a front nine 4-under 32 and sitting two under through No. 16, McConnell was quickly reminded that golf is a humbling game. Back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 led to a bit of sweat, but McConnell was able to piece together a couple more good swings to close out the tournament with a par on No. 18 for a final round 70 to take the Classic by two strokes.

Virginia’s Matt Sughrue took home second place at even par for the event with Bob Royak taking the final podium spot at 1-over par. Solo leader Billy Mitchell could not close out the tournament, posting a final round 78 to finish in fourth. 2021 Yancy Ford Award winner Gene Elliott finished fifth after an uncharacteristic week, posting 78/74/71. 2021 Golfweek Player of the Year Rusty Strawn nabbed a three-way share of eighth place at 11-over par.

Trailing by three strokes before the final round teed off, Duke Delcher held his own in the Super Senior division (ages 65-69). The Bluffton, South Carolina, native sandwiched a bogey on No. 4 with 14 pars.

Delcher watched the scoreboard on the back-nine after a six-shot swing between himself and overnight leader Mark Benefield. After a bogey on No. 16 and a birdie on No. 17, Delcher knew he had a five-stroke lead heading into the infamous par-4 18th.

“I made a triple on the hole yesterday,” Delcher said. “Today I drove it well but hit it into the left-hand bunker. I wasn’t going to fuss with the water… I made six but it was a good day even though I didn’t have a birdie.”

Despite the double bogey on the last, Delcher was able to post a tournament total of 14-over 230. Finishing second was Tim Vigotsky, two shots back of Delcher while Mark Benefield took third.

Finishing third in the 2021 Golfweek Player of the Year Legends standings (ages 70-74) Pete Allen took his first step towards improving on his 2022 ranking. Allen went wire-to-wire, coasting to the victory with his tournament-best,

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By: Brayden Conover
Title: Four champions crowned at the 2022 Golfweek Player of the Year Classic
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Published Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2022 00:06:25 +0000

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