Varn runs away with senior title

Champ doesn't let history repeat itself
Lm Otero/AP Photo
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SALUDA, S.C. --- Bob Varn will never forget the meltdown that cost him a senior division victory in the 2009 North Augusta Exchange Club/Persimmon Hill Classic.


A flashback to that day helped the Orangeburg, S.C., dentist win the same Regions Bank Amateur Series tournament Sunday at Persimmon Hill Golf Club.

Varn, who led by a shot after the first round this year, birdied four of the first five holes Sunday to open up a big lead, just as he had in 2009.

He then found the lake with his second shot on the par-5 eighth hole. He had done the same thing in 2009 when the seniors started on the back nine, meaning it was his 17th hole then.

"That's where I lost it," the 62-year-old Varn remembers.

He bogeyed the final four holes in 2009 and lost on the first-hole of sudden-death to Mike Jackson.

"I played with him that day and I could hardly believe it myself," Jackson said Sunday.

This time, Varn made double bogey on No. 8, but birdied No. 9. That's when he had the flashback to 2009.

"After that (birdie on No. 9) I said, 'You know what, I'm not going to play aggressive,' " Varn said. "I'm gong to try to win the golf tournament. The last time, I wasn't worried about winning the golf tournament; I was trying to shoot a good score and I screwed up."

This time, Varn won the tournament -- and shot a good score. His closing 1-under-par 71 brought him home in 1-under 143. In 2009, Varn shot a final-round 75.

He won by seven shots Sunday. The runners-up were Mark Ernyei (75 on Sunday), Glen Hurt (77), Jim Brisson (77) and Robert Samuels (76), who finished in second place for the 10th time since his last victory, in 2007.

It was the sixth senior division victory for Varn, who also won a regular division title.

The tournament was played a month earlier than normal (it will return to its Father's Day weekend date next year). But one thing didn't change: Augusta's Doug Weiss won the regular division title.

It was the seventh regular division title for the 42-year-old Weiss.

On a tough day for scoring (the wind was up and tee markers back), Weiss closed with 76, but he was the only player in the final pairing to break 80.

Weiss finished at 3-over 147 and beat first round co-leader Jacob Tilton (70-81--151) by four shots.



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