One of the most highly-touted fields in all of amateur senior golf lived up to its billing this week. The 2023 Golfweek Senior Division National Championship needed an extra hole to crown a winner.
Following a one-hole playoff, 66-year-old Gary Albrecht came out on top at Desert Willow Golf Club in Palm Desert, California. The 36-hole leader was able to stave off Kory Frost for his first national championship win with a 2-under 214 total.
Typically a super senior, Albrecht dropped an age bracket to play, as it’s right down the road from where he winters in Indian Wells.
“I was comfortable coming in,” Albrecht said. “I was hitting the ball well and the first round I thought I didn’t putt real well but I was right there. I putted real well in round two and made a move up the leaderboard and then today was really just a matter of holding it together.”
Albrecht needed a bit of duct tape early after recording three bogeys through his first five holes. Never hitting the panic button, Albrecht quietly worked his way back toward 1 over on the day as he hit the final stretch.
“My game wasn’t all working, but it all worked at different times,” Albrecht recalled.
One group ahead of Albrecht were his top two challengers.
Jon Lindstrom and Kory Frost both had shots to track down Albrecht. Lindstrom bowed out after making par on the par-5 18th for a final-round 69. Frost however, birdied the hole to get himself to 2 under for the tournament and 6 under in his final 10 holes.
After an Albrecht par on No. 18, the pair were deadlocked at 2 under and headed to the first tee for a sudden-death playoff.
Both men found themselves in the left rough off the tee. Albrecht played first and nearly got to the green in two. Frost countered with a shot that was also a near miss, just left of the green.
With about 40 feet left, Albrecht elected to use the Texas wedge to try and knock it close.
Fortunately for Albrecht, the flagstick saved him from running by as his ball kissed the flagstick and nestled up well inside a foot. Frost left his birdie putt short and was unable to knock down a five-foot slider to extend the playoff.
For Albrecht, the win is one of the biggest of his career.
How’s the semi-retired attorney going to celebrate the victory? Well he’s going to tee it right back up on Thursday at the Golfweek Senior Amateur.