By CRAIG DOLCH
Special to South Florida PGA
WEST PALM BEACH (Aug. 7, 2020) – Former British Open runner-up Thomas Levet birdied three of the last five holes Friday to win the South Florida PGA Senior Open at Banyan Golf Club.
Levet birdied the 17th hole with a 20-foot putt to shoot 4-under 68 and edge Alan Morin by a shot. Levet started and ended the day with a one-stroke lead, finishing at 11-under 133.
“It was a fabulous match,” said Levet, a France native who lives in Palm Beach Gardens. “Alan is a great player. We were going back and forth all day.”
Levet lost the 2002 British Open in a four-way playoff that became sudden death between Levet and Els. The 5-foot-9 Levet memorably tried to pick up Els afterward.
Asked how often he is reminded of that moment, Levet said, “Every day. Every time they see my name on the bag, they said, ‘Aren’t you guy at the British Open with Ernie?’ Every time I see it on TV, I lose again.”
Normally, Levet would be at this week’s PGA Championship working for French TV. But the coronavirus pandemic changed plans, and he took advantage to earn another trophy.
“It feels great to win,” said Levet, who had six victories on the European Tour, “When you’ve played on the biggest stage, people expect you to win. But it wasn’t easy.”
Morin shot a bogey-free 66. The Royal Palm Beach resident made a birdie to match Levet’s birdie on No. 17 and they each parred 18.
Mark Mielke of Atlantis (67-137) was third, followed by Lee Rinker (72-141) of Jupiter and Roger Kennedy Jr. (70-142) of Lake Worth.
The South Florida PGA Senior Open, run by the South Florida PGA, is supported by Winner’s Award Group.
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