SALUDA, S.C. — Younger golfers come into the senior division of the Regions Bank Amateur Series every year ready to challenge Kenny Larry’s dominance.
And the 56-year-old Larry keeps turning them back.
On Sunday, Larry showed again why he’s still the Man, winning the North Augusta Exchange Club/Persimmon Hill Classic with ease.
The Augustan won by five shots and extended his record for career victories to 20 in the senior division, which is for golfers over 50.
The next-best victory total in the history of the senior division of the series, which started in 1995, is 13.
Larry capped his milestone victory with a birdie on the 18th hole, bringing him home in even-par 72.
Larry, who was tied for the first-round lead with Mike Jackson after 71, finished at 1-under 143, winning at Persimmon Hill for the third time.
Chuck Withers, who shot a pair of 74s, finished second.
Larry had gotten off to an uncharacteristically slow start this season.
He shot 82-87 in the season-opener at Mount Vintage, had to withdraw from the next event at Houndslake the morning of the tournament because of a stomach ailment and then tied for fifth two weeks ago at Belle Meade.
“It’s good to be back in the winner’s circle,” he said.
Because of his slow start, through four tournaments, Larry was 11th in the race to make the six-player Georgia senior team for the season-endings Regions Matches.
Players make the team based on points earned for top 20 finishes in nine events.
“Mike Jackson was giving me heck, saying I might be the first person to be player of the year and not make the team the next year,” Larry said.
Larry, who picked up 75 points for his win Sunday, is now third on the Georgia team.
In the regular division, Georgia Southern golfer Blake Olson closed with 68 to win by seven shots.
Olson shot 2-under 142 and ended Jeff Pope’s two-tournament winning streak. Pope shot 75-74 to finish second.
Olson, who will be a senior in the fall at Georgia Southern, where he is attending summer school, is from Pensacola, Fla.
The 20-year-old, who has class today, didn’t have time for a visit home for Father’s Day.
Family friend John Wade, of Augusta, suggested he visit his family for Father’s Day and play at Persimmon Hill to “shake the rust” off his game in anticipation for a U.S. Amateur qualifier.
“I knew he’d win, absolutely,” said the 43-year-old Wade, who Olson calls “Uncle John.”