Lorenzo Gillenwater (Championship), Gordon Schiring (Senior) and Jeffrey English (Silver) won gross championships at the 2019 SNGA Tour-Royal Links event held Feb. 27 at Royal Links Golf Club. The event also saw Donald Blanton (Net), Gary Drinkhorn (Senior) and John Kelley (Silver) pick up net titles. — By Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
Lorenzo Gillenwater won for the second time in 2019, winning a scorecard playoff over Greg Horodesky. Both shot two-over-par 74s on a blustery day.
“I played pretty solid and kept the ball in play,” Gillenwater said. “My iron game was good. It felt like every time I had an iron in my hands I was going to put the ball on the green.”
But then came the problem for Gillenwater. “I didn’t putt well at all,” he added of his four-birdie, six-bogey round. “I missed at least six birdie putts. I feel like I should have been at least 2-under but the putts just didn’t drop.”
Lorenzo Gillenwater, 74
Greg Horodesky, 74
Ed Fryatt, 77
Don Blanton continues to make an impact in the Net Division, winning for the second time in 2019.
“I was 12-for-12 on fairways and played one ball the whole round,” Blanton said of the key to his success. “I didn’t get in a bunker until the 18th hole and I was staying in fairways and not overswinging.”
He added his goal was simple: Play smart. “I was very conservative,” he said. “I wanted to shoot net par and it held up. On long par 4s into the wind my goal was just to get on in three.”
He’s now won a pair of one-day tournaments and was second in a two-day event. “It’s a great way to start out the year,” he said.
Don Blanton, 72
Misko Antisin, 76
Craig Goleno, 78
Gordon Schiring won for the third time in SNGA action, the second time in 2019.
He carded three birdies (along with three bogeys and a double) in posting a two-stroke victory.
“The putter definitely saved my bacon today,” Schiring said. “I made a couple of nice putts from off the green.”
He said the wind was a huge factor. “We were all trying to keep the ball lower,” he said. “A couple of those par 4s actually played like par 5s. It made it very difficult. Making a few of those clutch par putts really helped. If I had missed those, things could have gotten out of control very easily.”
Gordon Schiring, 74
Steven Fink, 76
Todd Roberts, 79
Gary Drinkhorn finally got in the winner’s circle on the SNGA Tour.
“For me it was absolutely a great day,” Drinkhorn said of his victory. “It makes me want to play in the next one.”
Drinkhorn said two things helped him to his first win. “I hit my wedge very well and that kept me in the game,” he said. “And my swing thought was to just keep my back to the target. It worked out well. It makes me want to play even better.”
Gary Drinkhorn, 68
Bill Madsen, 75
Pat Thompson, 80
Jeffrey English posted his first SNGA Tour victory since 2017, a two-shot win over Patrick Woerner.
“It feels good to win again…it’s been awhile,” English said. “I didn’t get into a lot of trouble, but my putter definitely wasn’t working on the front. I had a number of bad putts including a four-putt and that’s never good.”
He’s making a comeback from a back injury last summer. “I hurt my back last summer and it took awhile to get back,” he said. “It cleared up a month or two ago and I’m getting things back together.”
Jeffrey English, 77
Patrick Woerner, 79
Frank Abbott, 80
John Kelley is also back in the SNGA’s winner’s circle, coming away with a scorecard playoff victory. Kelley has been close over the past two years with more than a dozen top-3 finishes but has now posted another win.
“It’s been a little bit of a struggle,” Kelley said. “It was tough out there. It was windy and there were some tough pin placements so I had a couple of three putts.”
Kelley said the win was definitely a long time coming. “It’s a good feeling to finally win one again,” he said. “I’ve been playing better the last couple of months and it showed. And now, I’m qualified for the Tournament of Champions.”
He said battling the conditions was the key. “I stayed out of huge trouble,” he said. You can easily lose golf balls out here and get in a lot of trouble. I just kept it ahead of me.”
John Kelley, 75
Ken Perry, 75
Tim Khamis, 78