LAKE PLACID - Starting Friday's final round six shots off the lead, Mitch Adcock didn't think he had a chance at winning the three-day Adirondack Senior Open golf tournament on the par-71 Whiteface Club layout.
Instead of aiming for a victory, the 57-year-old Champions Tour veteran decided to take some chances with hopes of finishing among the top seven players who got in on the $13,500 prize purse.
Adcock's plan worked a lot better than he hoped, as the Apopka, Fla. resident birdied four of the last five holes to triumph by a stroke.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Mitch Adcock of Apopka, Fla. rolls in a short putt for par on the ninth hole at the Whiteface Club during the first round of the Adirondack Senior Open golf tournament on Wednesday, Aug. 29. Adcock went on to win the event.
Adcock was just a shot off the pace after firing a 3-under par 69 in Wednesday's first round, but after turning in a 72 the next day, he figured he was out of the running. A final round of 66, which was the lowest on Friday and tied for the best score in the tournament, got Adcock the win. He had a three-day, 6-under par 207 total, one stroke better than the two players who tied for second place in the tournament, which is the northernmost stop on the Sunbelt Senior Tour circuit.
Last year's Adirondack Senior Open defending champion Javier Sanchez of Mexico and West Virgina's John Ross, who set the Whiteface Club course record of 63 in 2011, both finished runner-up with 208 totals.
"I'm extremely happy, I'm just a little surprised," Adcock said. "I was very aggressive today. I actually thought 5-under would get that last money. I thought the winning score would be lower, especially with all the low rounds yesterday (Thursday)."
Adcock began the final round in the fourth-to-last threesome in the field of 17 pros, and with no leaderboard keeping track of the scores, he had no idea how the golfers who followed were playing. Adcock said he liked being in that situation.
"You just take of your game and not worry about the other golfers," he said. "I had no idea I was that close to the lead. If I did, I might have played differently."
Adcock carded six birdies, an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole, and three bogeys during his final round 66. He had 15 birdies and two eagles over the course of the 54-hole event and earned $5,000 for the victory.
Sanchez and Ross each collected $2,500 for finishing in second place. Sanchez played in Friday's last threesome alongside Florida's Gary Rusnak and Georgia's Tim Conley, who held a two-shot lead heading into the final round.
Conley struggled down the stretch and finished with a 74, which ultimately dropped him into three-way tie for fourth place with Rusnak and Jim Chancey, of Winter Haven, Fla. Those three earned $1,100 apiece and John Elliot rounded out the money winners, placing seventh and earning $700.
Sanchez, who won last year's tournament on the final hole, could have unknowingly wound up tied for the lead. He drained a long birdie putt on the par-3, 14th hole but missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-4, 16th and settled with a par. A birdie there would have also had Sanchez finishing the tournament with birdies on four of the last five holes.
"When I missed that putt, I knew I missed my chance," said Sanchez, who began Friday two strokes behind Conley in second place. "I didn't make any putts except for that long one on 14. I didn't even get off to a good start. I double bogeyed the second hole but started playing better.
"Sometimes golf is great, and sometimes it slaps you in the face," Sanchez added. "Even though I didn't play very well, I was still at peace. I just love it here."
Like Sanchez and many of the other golfers playing in the tournament, Adcock fell in love with Lake Placid on his first visit to the region.
"I didn't make it here last year because of that hurricane (Irene). I was stuck in Orlando," Adcock said. "This is one of my favorite places in the world. I want to bring my family up here next time."
There was also a Super Seniors division for professionals age 55 and older that featured nine golfers. Danny Edwards, a five-time winner on the PGA tour, easily took the victory with a three-day, 1-under par 212 total. Edwards, an Oklahoma native who now lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. turned in rounds of 69, 71 and 72 en route to his sixth win in 12 appearances on the Sunbelt Senior Tour this season. Gary Odom finished second with a 7-over par 220 total and Jay Dolan was third at 14-over.
The next stop on this year's 20-event Sunbelt Senior Tour will be in Cooperstown at the Leatherstocking Golf Club for the Otesaga Hotel Senior Open Sept. 4-7.