LAKE PLACID - Like many golfers, Javier Sanchez knows what it takes to play successful golf at the Whiteface Club, a course that features tight tree-lined fairways and tricky, undulating greens.
But knowing what to do and actually executing that plan are two very different things. Over the past three days, Sanchez showed efficiency in putting his plan in motion to win the Sunbelt Senior Tour's Adirondacks Senior Open.
The 54-year-old resident of Fayetteville, Ga. nailed down the victory Friday, finishing with a third-round, four-under par 67 to win by a five-stroke margin. Sanchez, a native of Mexico, also won the event two years ago when the Sunbelt Senior Tour made its first visit to the Whiteface Club. This time around, he fired a first-round 65 on Wednesday to lead by two shots and increased his edge to four strokes with a 69 on Thursday.
Javier Sanchez watches his long birdie putt head toward the cup on the ninth hole at the Whiteface Club during Friday’s final round of the Adirondacks Senior Open. Sanchez, who lives in Georgia, won the three-day tournament with a 12-under par 201 total.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Sanchez got off to a shaky start Friday with bogeys on the second and third holes, but then rattled off five birdies over the next six holes to pull away. He played the final nine holes at one under par with a pair of birdies and a bogey.
"At 6,400 yards, the course is not long, but you have to hit the ball straight," Sanchez said. "If you don't, you will get into trouble.
"I felt good all day," Sanchez continued. "Actually, all week I felt fantastic. I hit the ball pretty well, it was just a matter of making putts. I knew with a four-shot lead, I'd be hard to beat."
In finishing with a 12-under par 201 total, Sanchez did drain a fair share of putts, including a batch of birdie attempts Friday on the front nine. Sanchez said he dropped in a pair of 10-footers on fourth and fifth holes, and then made the turn after sinking long putts to record back-to-back birdies the eighth and ninth holes.
The victory was the second straight on the tour for Sanchez, who was last year's top money winner among Sunbelt senior players. He last played a tour event in May, winning the Blairsville Senior Open in Georgia, also with a 12-under par total.
Sanchez pocketed $2,500 for his victory this week. Jim Chancey, who hails from Kissimmee, Fla. finished runner-up with a seven-under par 206 total. Chancey, the Sunbelt Senior Tour's all-time leader in money earned, turned in rounds of 70, 69 and 67 on the way to placing second.
Danny Edwards, a former PGA player who has five wins at that level to his credit, placed third with a three-under par 210 total. The Scottsdale, Az. resident turned in rounds of 76, 66 and 68.
Florida's Tim Balmer and Arizona's Barry Conser finished tied for fourth place with 211 totals.
More than 20 professionals competed in the tournament, including the host pro Peter Martin of the Whiteface Club.
Many of the pros will be staying in Lake Placid over the weekend to enjoy the area, and will head to Cooperstown to compete at the Leatherstocking Golf Club Sept. 3-6. The next stop on the Sunbelt Senior Tour will be the New Jersey Senior Masters, which will be held at the Eagle Ridge Country Club in Lakewood Sept. 10-13.