Mark Hensby defeats fifth alternate Charlie Wi in a playoff to win 2023 Invited Celebrity Classic

The field of 78 at the 2023 Invited Celebrity Classic on the PGA Tour Champions was missing a few of the circuit’s big names.

Steve Stricker opted out, choosing instead to play with Zach Johnson at the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Bernhard Langer, holding steady with 45 Champions tour wins, tied for most all-time, also took the week off.

David Toms, who’s won twice on the Champions tour in 2023, Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez also all decided to stay home.

There was a three-way tie for the lead at 11 under between Charlie Wi, Alex Cejka and Mark Hensby with three holes to go. There was still a three-way tie with one hole left.

Wi seemed the most unlikely candidate to be in contention late. He three-putted the 13th hole, then hit into the water on 15 where he ended up with a double bogey. But he closed in style with birdies on the the 17th and 18th holes to shoot a 68 and take a one-shot lead at 12 under. Hensby would later birdie the 18th to force a playoff.

Wi, 51, has never won a PGA Tour sanctioned event. Hensby won once, at the 2004 John Deere Classic.

On the fourth playoff hole, Wi’s second shot found the water and that would be his undoing as he would go on to double bogey the hole. Hensby then made par for his first PGA Tour Champions victory.

What the field may have lacked in top tour attractions did feature a deep roster of invited celebrities, with 40 former pro athletes playing Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas, alongside the pros.

The list of celebs included Annika Sorenstam, who 20 years ago at Las Colinas teed it up in the PGA Tour’s Bank of America Colonial.

Tony Romo proved to be the best celeb this week, outlasting defending champ Mardy Fish for the 2023 title. Sorenstam was solo third, Mark Mulder fourth and Justin Williams was fifth.