By CRAIG DOLCH
Special to South Florida PGA
TEQUESTA (Aug. 21, 2019) – Few in the field knew Dave Dell’s name, but they now know he has game.
Dell, who moved this year from Massachusetts to Naples, introduced himself to the South Florida PGA Section Wednesday by winning the SFPGA Senior PGA Professional Championship Presented by Cadillac at Turtle Creek Club.
Dell shot a 4-under 68 to finish at 9-under 135 and win by two shots over Mike Gray of Indian Creek. Dell made just one bogey while missing one green in 36 holes.
“I know there are a lot of great players in the section and I wanted to see if I could hang with them,” said Dell, who was the PGA Head Professional at Springfield Country Club.
“I thought if I played my best, I might be able to scrape a top-10 finish. I didn’t expect to win.”
Dell started the final round with a two-shot lead, but Gray shot a 4-under 32 on the front nine to catch him. Dell regained the lead with birdies at the 13thand 15th holes.
“I tried not to think about it, but I knew my lead was gone,” Dell said. “I was able to make a couple of putts.”
Gray matched Dell’s 68 to finish at 7-under, a shot ahead of three-time champion Mike San Filippo. Gray made 10 birdies in the two rounds.
I finally made some putts,” Gray said. “I only missed one green if you don’t count the collar.
“I never met Dave until this week. He was steady, kept it in play and rolled his ball really well.”
The top eight finishers, as well as champion Dell, earned spots in the Senior PGA Professional Championship Presented by Cadillac on Oct. 3-6 in Austin, Texas. Also qualifying by finishing tied for fourth were John Lee (67-139) of Imperial Golf Club, Alan Morin (68-139) of The Falls Club of the Palm Beaches. John Nieporte (70-141) of Trump International and Mark Mielke (68-141) of High Ridge were sixth.
The final four spots were decided in a five-man playoff at 1-over 145. Advancing were Roger Kennedy Jr. (68) of The Country Club at Mirasol, Joe Kern (73) of Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club, J.C. Anderson (74) of The Club at The Strand and Craig Watson (71) of First Tee of the Palm Beaches. First alternate is Joe DeMino (72) of Gleneagles Country Club.
San Filippo, Mielke and former Senior British Open champion Pete Oakley (73-145 already were exempt into the Senior PGA Professional Championship.
The SFPGA Senior PGA Professional Championship Presented by Cadillac, staged by the South Florida PGA, is supported by Golf Channel, John Deere and Exactus.