WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – For the first time in 36 years, the Florida Senior Open will not be played at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.
Following last year’s championship, the South Florida PGA Section and the Florida State Golf Association announced plans to begin moving the tournament around the state.
Bear Lakes Country Club here was the first venue chosen after more than three decades at the historic gulf shores resort in Naples. The tournament is scheduled Friday through Sunday.
The SFPGA had conducted the tournament since the section was formed in 1980. Before that, beginning in 1977, it was staged by the old Florida PGA, which was divided into the South Florida and North Florida sections in 1980.
Defending champion Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound is among five past winners in the field of 156 players 50 years and older – 91 pros and 65 amateurs. He will be going for a career record fifth title. The others were in 2004 and 2007-08. Other past champions competing are John Calabria of Naples, 1999 and 2005; Ed Sabo, Tequesta, 2000-01; Jerry Tucker, Stuart, 2009; and Gene Fieger, Naples, 2010. The late Bob Erickson is the only other four-time winner, in 1978, 1981-82 and 1984.
After one round each Friday and Saturday on the Lakes and Links courses, the field will be cut to the low 60 and ties for the final round Sunday on the Lakes. Starting times the first two days will range from 7:30 to 9:18 a.m. from the first and 10th tees on both courses. It is estimated the purse will be about $35,000.
The Beach Club will host the inaugural Naples Beach Club Open for the SFPGA Oct. 19-21.
Click here to view pairings for the first round.