By CRAIG DOLCH
Special to South Florida PGA
NAPLES – Another year, another victory for Royal Palm Beach resident Alan Morin.
Morin, Assistant Professional at The Club at Ibis, fired a 4-under 68 Tuesday to cruise to a six-shot victory in the South Florida PGA Senior Open at Imperial Golf Club.
Morin took a two-shot lead in the final round after a flawless 63 Monday, thanks to a personal-best six consecutive birdies. After being briefly tied Tuesday, Morin pulled away with a back-nine 32 on the East Course for the victory over Steven Vecellio (72), Director of Instruction at Frenchman’s Reserve Country Club. Morin finished at 13-under 131.
“Yesterday was a great day. Everything was firing,” Morin said Tuesday. “It was one of those days where I made everything. I had never made six consecutive birdies before."
“Coming out today, it was on my mind how it’s usually hard to back up a low score. You see it all the time. I put myself in a couple of bad spots early, which lead to three-putt bogeys on two par-3s. But I hit a choked-down 6-iron to 3 inches at No. 9 and that kind of woke me up.”
The 51-year-old Morin birdied the next two holes and, just like that, it was over.
Last year, Morin won the South Florida PGA Player of the Year honors for the 10th time and joined Jerry Tucker as the only player to also win that award and the Senior Player of the Year.
“I use the (Player of the Year) award as self-motivation,” Morin said. “There’s a lot of good guys in the section and a lot of them are younger and hit the ball a lot farther than me. I take pride in being able to hold my own and grind it out.”
Michael Valicenti (71), Assistant Professional at Mayacoo Lakes, tied for third place at 4-under 140 with Mark Mielke (73), PGA Instructor at High Ridge.
Gene Fieger (71-142), Director of Golf at Club Pelican Bay and the winner of this event in 2016 and 2018, tied for fifth place with Chris Kaufman (67), PGA Instructor at BallenIsles Country Club.
The Senior Open is run by the South Florida PGA with Jani King as a supporting partner.