Golfer caps victory with magical shot

Hurt captures his second series title in senior division

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Glen Hurt put an exclamation mark on a memorable birthday weekend Sunday at Goshen Plantation Golf Club.

Glen Hurt (middle) shakes hands with his playing partners, Billy Rangos (left) and Tommy Carpenter, after Hurt captured the title in the senior division, nearly two years after his first victory.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Glen Hurt (middle) shakes hands with his playing partners, Billy Rangos (left) and Tommy Carpenter, after Hurt captured the title in the senior division, nearly two years after his first victory.

Hurt holed out a 152-yard shot from the left fairway bunker on the par-4 18th hole for eagle to cap off his senior division victory in the Goshen Golf Classic.

As it turned out, Hurt, who turned 54 on Friday, didn't need the eagle to win the Regions Bank Amateur Series event. But he wasn't aware of that at the time.

"I didn't know how well they were playing in the group ahead of me," said Hurt, who was in the final pairing.

Not well enough to stay with the North Augustan, who closed with 3-under-par 69 and won by six shots over Robert Samuels (73 on Sunday) and Tommy Carpenter (75).

It was Hurt's second senior division victory, coming nearly two years after he won at Bartram Trail.

"It was just my weekend," said Hurt, who said the second shot he holed out on the 18th hole epitomized that fact.

"Trust me, that shot was a lot of luck; no one was more surprised than I was," Hurt said.

The victory didn't come as a surprise to Hurt's wife, Sharon.

"She thought I was going to win this weekend for some reason, maybe because it was my birthday or something," Hurt said.

Hurt didn't have any celebration planned for Sunday night except to give his wife "a big kiss."

Hurt's birthday started on a sad note when he learned Friday morning that his friend, Phillip Bell, had died the day before.

"I thought about him two or three times when I was playing," said Hurt, who plans to attend Bell's funeral today.

Few seniors have been more consistent than Hurt since he turned 50 in 2006. In addition to his two wins, he has finished second seven times (losing twice in playoffs) and has been third seven times.

Those close calls helped him win Sunday, he said.

"Having a handful of seconds, thirds, fourths and fifths, and being in the mix, it prepares you for it," Hurt said. "You learn to be patient and take it one shot at a time."

While Hurt is just now getting familiar with winning, it's old hat for Harlem's Jay Blackburn, who rallied to win the regular division title for the second consecutive year.

It was the 11th career title for the 45-year-old Blackburn, who set the Regions series record for career wins last year in this event with 10.

Like Hurt, Blackburn also closed with 69 while overtaking first-round leader Garland Smith, who had a forgettable day.

Smith, who led Blackburn by five shots after his first-round 68, shot 79 and tied for third place with Ryan McCook (72).

Brad Arrington shot 72 and finished second, three behind Blackburn.

Last year in this tournament, Blackburn rallied from six shots back to win behind 66.

Few players know the course as well as Blackburn, who was a Goshen member from 1987 through 2000.

"To me, it's just like coming back home," said Blackburn, who had two chip-ins, including one of the par-4 16th hole for eagle. "I'm comfortable. I know where to hit the ball, and the breaks on the greens haven't changed that much."

Blackburn closed out his latest victory in style. He rolled in a 15-foot for birdie on the 18th hole that went around the hole before dropping in.


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