August 24, 2023
Scorse Battles Harris to Final Hole to Capture His Third RDGA Senior Championship Title at Canandaigua CC
CANANDAIGUA, NY - Beginning the final round of the 2023 RDGA Wilson Fitch Senior Championship on Wednesday afternoon at Canandaigua Country Club, defending champion Jim Scorse of Stafford found himself two shots out of the lead, facing three tough competitors with just 18 holes to play.
Turns out, Scorse had his opponents just where he wanted them.
In typical Jim Scorse fashion, the five-time RDGA District Champion and RDGA Hall of Famer only got better as the final round wore on, while his opponents, one by one, all dropped out of contention as the Senior Championship drew to a close.
By the end of the day, Scorse captured the 2023 RDGA Wilson Fitch Senior Championship title by two shots over 2017 RDGA Senior Champion Stu Harris, claiming his second consecutive victory in the Championship - and third District Senior title in four years.
This year’s first-time host course for the RDGA Senior Championship - the beautiful Canandaigua Country Club - proved to be something of a wild card, as many of the competitors had never played the private 9-hole facility until recently. This was underscored by the fact that there were many higher scores in Tuesday’s first round (coupled by rainy and gusty conditions) and that the course par of 71 was only bested twice during the entire Championship.
Due to the fact that Canandaigua is a 9-hole layout (with two sets of tees to reflect “front” and “back” nines), the field was split into morning and afternoon waves both days. With the leaders teeing off last in the afternoon wave of the second round and Scorse in the next-to-last pairing, the 2023 District Senior title would not be decided until late in the day, as the sun set over the course on the eastern shores of Canandaigua Lake.
First round leader Stu Harris of Oak Hill was the first to tee off in the final pairing, along with Michael Harris of Morgan’s Crossing and Paul Roland of the Country Club of Rochester - both of whom began the day one shot behind the leader.
Michael Harris and Roland both struggled throughout the final round, never getting on track and never battling for the lead.
Other players, such as 1999 RDGA District Champion Carter Lucas and Doug Hallman of Mill Creek, made early runs to the top of the leaderboard, only to see their chances derailed by late bogies.
Meanwhile, Scorse was in the process of putting together the type of final round that he has become known for - the type of round that helped him capture multiple titles of all kinds over the past two decades.
Scorse began the final round with a bogey - but soon righted the ship, scrambling for four consecutive pars. Two more bogies and one birdie later, and he still found himself amongst a pack of contenders following Harris. But - that’s when the old Scorse magic began to happen.
In his second nine of the final round, Scorse turned on the birdie machine, recording three over the last six holes - including the 18th, which had been playing tough throughout the Championship. Coming in with a 1-under-par 70 in Round 2 - only the second round under par of the Championship - Scorse finished the 36-hole Championship with scores of 72-71 for an even-par 142.
That left Harris - who recorded the only other round under par of the Championship (a first round 70) - as the only player left to challenge Scorse. Unfortunately for Harris, he was going in the opposite direction.
After completing his first nine in even par, Harris bogied Nos. 10 and 11. Despite a birdie on the 13th hole, he added two more bogies - including one on the par-4 18th for the second consecutive day - and finished with scores of 70-74 for a 2-over-par 144 total for the Championship.
For Scorse, this was his third RDGA Wilson Fitch Senior title since reaching the eligible age to enter, 55, four years ago.
He adds this year’s championship to the five RDGA District Championships, 9 RDGA Match Play titles, 8 RDGA Mid Am titles and 15 RDGA Player of the Year awards - in his stellar RDGA Hall of Fame career.
While the first three age Divisions (Seniors, ages 55-59, Super Seniors, ages 60 to 64 and Masters, ages 65-69) were competing together from the Blue Tees, the Legends Division (ages 70 and up) was playing from the White Tees and competing for the first of the four Division titles.
In the Legends Division, defending champion Bob Zeman of Sodus Bay Heights was looking to become the first three-time winner in the Division. However, it was a first-time player in the age group - Steve Wade of Canandaigua - who used home knowledge of the host course to his advantage, finishing two shots ahead of Zeman with scores of 76-77 for a 153 total to win the 2023 RDGA Legends Senior Title.
In the other three Division races, Oak Hill’s Stu Harris won the Super Senior Division title with scores of 70-74 for a 144 total; Like Wade in the Legends, Canandaigua’s Jim Johnson won the Masters Division title with the assistance of home-course knowledge; and Scorse captured the Senior Division crown.
Canandaigua Country Club wants to sincerely thank the local sponsors who supported the Club in hosting the RDGA Senior Championships on August 8-9:
- Canandaigua National Bank
- Garber Randal Dealerships
- EGS-Advanced Energy Solutions
- Payfile IQ - Todd Calman
- Abbotts Frozen Custard
Because of your involvement we were able to enhance the experience of the players and provide the kind of championship environment desired by all the competitors.
We are encouraging all to support your businesses as you continue to make a successful mark on our community.
The Rochester District Golf Association wishes to thank Canandaigua Country Club General Manager Jim Fields, PGA Head Professional Judd Noto, Superintendent Mark Montebella, and their staffs, as well as the club membership and planning committee, including John Johnson, Jim Burns and Fred Lapple, for helping to make this event a success. CLICK HERE to learn more about this beautifully-maintained private facility on the shores of Canandaigua Lake.
The Rochester District Golf Association is led by Executive Director Tim Vangellow and is a proud Allied Golf Association of the USGA, serving Rochester area golfers since 1929. CLICK HERE to visit the RDGA.org website.
ONLY ONE RDGA CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT REMAINS
…on the 2023 Tournament schedule - the RDGA Mid Amateur Championship, for RDGA men ages 25 and above!
Scheduled for FRIDAY and SATURDAY, August 25 and 26, this year’s RDGA Mid Am will be hosted by Mill Creek Golf Club.
Don’t miss the final RDGA Championship of the year - sign up today! Registration for this event closes on Friday, August 18, at 11:59 pm.