Originally created 08/28/00

Gause wins Senior tourney



GRANITEVILLE, S.C. -- It didn't matter that much to Aiken's Michael Benham that he lost the Midland Valley Senior Invitational golf tournament to Bobby Gause on Sunday.

Though the 53-year-old Benham came tantalizing close to winning the final Regions Cup event of the season for seniors, he got what he came for.

Namely, Regions Cup senior player-of-the-year honors for the third straight year.

Gause, 62, shot an even-par 72 at Midland Valley Country Club to edge Benham, one of his playing partners, by one shot. Gause, of Columbia, entered the final round tied with Benham and two others for the lead after opening 69s.

It was Augusta's Ed Payne, not Gause, who was on Benham's mind on Sunday. After 10 tournaments, it had come down to those two for senior player-of-the-year honors.

Entering the tournament, Payne led Benham by two points in the race for the award, which is determined by points earned through top 10 finishes in Regions Cup events.

With his second-place finish, Benham earned 30 points while Payne, who shot 73-74 -- 147 to finish tied for ninth, picked up two points. The final tally had Benham finishing with 275 points to Payne's 249.

"I came here to win the seniors (player of year award); that's what we played all year to do," Benhan said. "You always want to win, but there is enough excitement being the player of the year."

Benham led Gause by a shot through 13 holes, but dropped a shot to par on No. 14 after three-putting. The men remained tied until the 16th hole, when Benham made bogey to Gause's par. They both parred the final two holes.

At the time Benham made the bogey on No. 16 after a poor bunker shot, Payne had already finished with his 74.

"I said `that's not the end of the world' when I made the bogey," Benham said. "I said, `I'm playing awful good. If I don't win this tournament, I'm still going to win the senior player of year and it was a good year.' I didn't want to be depressed. I'm not disappointed I didn't win the tournament. I finished fourth last year and second this year. Maybe next year I'll be first."

Benham made a big move in the final two tournaments to overtake Payne, who won four senior divisions titles this season to two for Benham.

Payne led Benham by 25 points with those two events to play, but Payne finished seventh and tied for ninth in those events, picking up 8 points. Benham tied for second place in both, earning 60 points.

Both men played in all 11 Regions Cup events this season. Payne's biggest lead over Benham was 50 points after four tournaments.

"I know Ed's disappointed," Benham said. "Between us, we won six of the 11 senior division titles. That's pretty good. We were really going at it."

In addition to winning twice this season, Benham had four second-place finishes, two third-place finishes, one fifth and two ninth-place finishes.

"I played awfully good all year," Benham said.

In 1999, Benham had three wins, two second-place finishes and two-fourths in seven starts as he won the player of the year title by 111 points over Payne, who won once that year.

"Last year, I ran away with the thing and hid," Benham said. "Ed retired this year and he's devoted more time to golf. He came up a notch."

This was Gause's first Regions Cup event of the year, but the 50 points he earned for winning earned him a spot on the four-man South Carolina senior team that will take on Georgia in the Regions Cup Matches Sept. 23-24 at Thomson's Belle Meade Country Club. Aiken's Danny Marchant, who tied for fifth place, also moved on to the team.

Gause struck for three birdies (Nos. 9, 10 and 13) to with two bogeys (Nos. 7 and 12).

"I just happened to get up-and-down (for pars) a lot," said Gause, a former South Carolina Mid-Amateur champion and ex-pro.

Indeed, he saved par out of bunkers on Nos. 15 and 17, knocking his shots to 2' feet and 3' feet of the pins, respectively.

"He had some great saves; that's what it's all about," Benham said.

Midland Senior Invitational

Graniteville, S.C.

Midland Valley CC.

6,203 yards, par 72

Final results

Top 10, ties

Bobby Gause 69-72 -- 141

Michael Benham 69-73 -- 142

Curtis Wagner 69-75 -- 144

Greg Scurlock 72-73 -- 145

Jimmy Hamilton 73-73 -- 146

Amos Jones 74-72 -- 146

Danny Marchant 69-77 -- 146

Steve Hamilton 73-73 -- 146

Ed Payne 73-74 -- 147

Richard Tatum 76-71 -- 147

Joe Felton 77-70 -- 147

50-55 age group

142 -- Michael Benham (69-73). 145 -- Greg Scurlock (72-73). 146 -- Jimmy Hamilton (73-73), Steve Hamilton (73-73). 148 -- Donnie Wilkins (75-73). 149 -- Charles Hartline (72-77), Phil Shaw (73-76). 150 -- Mike Townsend (78-72). 151 -- Dick Franklin (74-77), Chuck Withers (74-77). 152 -- Paul King (72-80). 153 -- Bob Abernathy (77-76), Gary Cole (79-74), Chuck Kuhn (79-74). 154 -- Tom Wright (79-75). 155 -- Richard Felder (80-75). 156 -- Stephen Cranford (80-76), Jay Harper (75-81). 157 -- Bill Arnold (81-76), Bob Rickman (75-82). 163 -- Jimmy Rigsby (85-78). 169 -- David Basher (88-81). 174 -- Brent Craft (91-83). 175 -- Harry Waters (89-86).

56-60 age group

143 -- Spencer Sappington (74-69). 147 -- Ed Payne (73-74), Richard Tatum (76-71). 150 -- Buck Leigh (77-73), Ron Lowery (73-77), Warren Watkins (75-75). 151 -- Frank Herlong (79-75). 152 -- Phil McDilda (76-76). 153 -- Dick Hennier (78-75), Steve Nelson (76-77). 154 -- Jack Blackburn (75-79), Jerry Howington (78-76). 156 -- Joe Cunningham (77-79). 159 -- Berry Crain (77-82). 160 -- Butch Mattison (83-77), Glenn Stewart (82-78), Jim Trotman (83-77).

60-65 age group

141 -- Bobby Gause (69-72). 144 -- Curtis Wagner (69-75). 146 -- Danny Marchant (69-77). 147 -- Joe Felton (77-70). 148 -- Danny Williams (70-78). 149 -- Stan Thorn (73-76). 151 -- Charlie Busbee (76-75). 153 -- Jim Swanson (73-80). 154 -- Joe Carson (77-77). 157 -- Jack Pfeiffer (82-75), John Thomas (77-80). 158 -- Charlie Bradshaw (78-80). 162 -- Bill Flinn (86-76). 163 -- Larry Boddie (81-82). 168 -- Andy Bargeron (82-86).

66-over

146 -- Amos Jones (74-72). 151 -- Boyd Johnson (78-73). 152 -- Joe Estes (79-73). 153 -- Billy Houck (78-75). 156 -- Walter Lamb (77-79). 157 -- Bill Hardy (80-77). 160 -- Ken Lovingood (82-78). 161 -- Phil Hubacher (81-80). 164 -- J.W. Barker (82-82).

Regions Cup

Final senior standings

Through 11 of 11 tournaments

(Top 4 make team)

Georgia

Ed Payne 249

Chuck Withers 130

Jack Blackburn 86

Danny Williams 83

Others

71 -- Warren Watkins. 50 -- Donnie Wilkins, Phil Chalker. 45 -- Greg Scurlock. 40 -- Stan Thorn.

South Carolina

(Top 4 make team)

Michael Benham 275

Charles Hartline 97

Bobby Gause 50

Jerry Maxfield 40

Danny Marchant 40

Others

35 -- Jerry Flanders. 32 -- James McFerrin. 31 -- Frank Herlong.

Note: Seniors' point breakdown for tournaments: 1st place: 50 points, 2nd place: 30. 3rd: 20. 4th: 15. 5th: 10. 6th: 8. 7th: 6. 8th: 4. 9th: 2. 10th: 1.



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