Deron Zendt, the golf course superintendent at Banyan Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., held off a pack of challengers that included two past champions to win his first Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) National Championship on the Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., on Monday.
A 15-year member of GCSAA, Zendt became one of the rare first-round leaders to maintain that lead through the tournament's final round when he carded a 2-under-par score of 70, for a two-day total of 5-under-par 139. His opening round 69 was the best score of the tournament among the 85 players competing in the event's top flight. All told, 420 competitors participated in some aspect of the event, which took place at five Orlando-area golf facilities.
Zendt carried a four-stroke advantage into the final five holes of the tournament, but he had to survive a pair of bogeys in that stretch as well as a challenge from runner-up Michael Dennis, golf course superintendent at Royal Perth Golf Club in Australia, who finished at 3-under-par for the event (71-70-141). Key in Zendt's run to the title was a clutch 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th hole at the Magnolia Course, giving him a much-needed cushion going into the tournament's final holes.
David Brown, the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Flatirons Golf Course in Boulder, Colo., won the senior division of the National Championship at 1-under-par (72-71-143), which was good for fifth overall. It marked the third time he has won that honor since GCSAA began awarding it in 2010. Brown also won the overall championship in 2011. Another past champion in the hunt was Seth Strickland, GCSAA Class A superintendent from Miami Shores Country Club in Miami, Fla., who finished tied for third at 2-under-par (72-70-142).
The chapter team gross division title was won by the No. 1 team from the Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association. The chapter team net division crown went to the team from the California Golf Course Superintendents Association.
The GCSAA Golf Championships are presented in partnership with The Toro Co., the event's presenting partner for the past 20 years, and are held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show (Feb. 1-6), which are also taking place in Orlando. Complete tournament results are available by visiting http://gcsaa.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gcsaa14/event/gcsaa141/contest/66/leaderboard..
About GCSAA and the EIFG
GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Find GCSAA on Facebook, follow GCSAA on Twitter, and visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org. The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA, and has as its mission to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit www.eifg.org.