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Hendley rallies from four back to win Carolinas Senior
Todd Hendley (CGA photo)
Todd Hendley (CGA photo)

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (Nov. 2, 2018) – It was an uphill climb, but veteran amateur golfer Todd Hendley rallied from four strokes back on Friday to capture his first CGA victory at the 57th Carolinas Senior Amateur Championship hosted at the Golf Club at Briar Creek.

Hendley, of Columbus, N.C., has done what many might consider an impossible task: He battled against the all-time winningest CGA golfer, Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C., in the final round of a CGA Championship and he came out on top.

"I hit it really good and putted good all week," Hendley said. "It feels really good because it's a big tournament and a big win. There were a lot of great players in that tournament and it feels pretty cool."

Hendley only made one big mistake all week, when he made a quadruple bogey on his eighth hole, the par-3 17th hole, in Round 1.

"I was hitting it really good going into that hole, I just made two dumb mistakes," Hendley said. "After I made the quad, I just started bearing down."

Hendley rallied back quickly, holing out for eagle on the par-4 first hole. He'd finish that first round by shooting a 31 on his second nine.

Simson came out of the gate strong this week, firing an 8-under 64 on Wednesday to take an early four-shot lead after Round 1. Hendley's first round of 1-under 71 put him seven strokes back of the lead in eighth place.

Thursday's and Friday's rounds were tougher for everyone due to increased winds and a tougher course setup.

Scoring averages for golfers that made the cut were 76.48 in Round 1. The course played a half stroke harder on Day 2 for those golfers at an average score of 76.98. Scoring averages in Round 3 climbed to 77.81.

Where Hendley was able to separate himself from the field was through consistent ball striking all week long. He was the only golfer in the field to shoot under par in all three rounds of the championship.

A second round 2-under 70 propelled Hendley into second place and within striking distance of the leader going into the final round.

Also in the final group on Friday was the two-time defending Carolinas Senior Amateur Champion Preston Edmondson of Morrisville, N.C., and four-time CGA Champion, Walter Todd of Laurens, S.C.

Hendley started the final round four strokes back of the lead but a front-nine score of 34 compared to Simsons's 37 cut the lead down to one. A birdie on the par-5 10th hole gave Hendley his first lead of the tournament, after Simson bogeyed the hole.

Simson recaptured the lead quickly after making three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the 11th, 12th and 14th holes, but gave up four shots and the lead after a double bogey on the 15th hole and bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes. Even after the disastrous stretch, Simson found himself only one shot back of Hendley heading into the par-5 18th hole.

A birdie on the 18th hole sealed the deal for Hendley, giving him his first CGA Championship title and the feeling of concurring an amateur golf legend.

"It's a big honor to win the CGA Senior," Hendley said. "It helps your confidence when you win a big tournament like that. I'm looking forward to having a chance to win some more tournaments next year."

Hendley is also the winner of the 2017 North and South Senior Men's Championship, the 2017 Chanticleer National Senior Invitational and several SCGA events.

ABOUT THE Carolinas Senior Amateur

The Carolinas Senior Amateur Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event open to any male amateur golfer who reached his 55th birthday by today, is a legal resident of North Carolina or South Carolina, is a member in good standing of a club which is a member of the Carolinas Golf Association and has an active USGA Handicap Index® at a CGA member club that does not exceed 10.4.

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