Reinstated Amateur LaCrosse
Wins Second Gasparilla Title
TAMPA, FLORIDA | For Doug LaCrosse, winning
the Gasparilla Invitational for the second time
was “even better” than the first. LaCrosse hung
on to win a title he first won in 1991, shooting
4-over-par 214 to win by two
shots over Jack Hall, Randy
Lewis and Paul Royak at
Palma Ceia Golf & Country
Club in Tampa, Fla.
LaCrosse, a member at
Palma Ceia since 1975 and
playing in front of family and
friends, made three birdies
on the front side, and then hung on as he grinded
out the back nine. He had to get up-and-down on
the 472-yard, par- 5 18th after his third shot came
up short of the green. His chip shot finished just
inches from the hole, and he tapped in to post a
4-over-par total and claim the clubhouse lead.
Hall took a one-shot lead into the final round
after a blustery 36 holes. However, he shot
40 on the front side in the final round, and the
tournament became a two-man duel between
LaCrosse and Lewis, the reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion.
Playing in the next-to-last group and in front
of Lewis and Hall, LaCrosse made the turn at 1
over. Lewis briefly held the lead after LaCrosse
bogeyed the par- 4 15th, but he would make
three consecutive bogeys coming home.
Lewis had a chance to force a playoff on the
final hole. Short of the green after his third shot,
he made an aggressive play but ran the ball over
the green. He would settle for a bogey.
LaCrosse, who has 16 Palma Ceia club cham-
pionships on his résumé, was a standout Florida
amateur who won the 2000 Coleman Invitational
at Seminole Golf Club. He turned pro a year later
at 49 and was reinstated last September.
The Gasparilla was his first individual event
as a reinstated amateur, and he made the most
of it. His win was a Gasparilla rarity; he also
claimed the senior flight title.
Lewis, prepping for The Masters after
his surprising Mid-Amateur win last fall and
making his first Gasparilla appearance, said
his driver let him down. “I was missing it both
ways,” he said. “But I was encouraged by my
putting.” He plans to get in a few more rounds
at Augusta National before the event.
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