Capping off one of the most dominant years in recent senior amateur golf history, Rusty Strawn closed out 2022 by captaining his team to an incredible come-from-behind victory over Team Hurlbert at the Golfweek Senior Challenge Cup.
Carding a team front-nine score of 7 over, Strawn’s team did enough to chip away at Team Hurlbert and get within one shot. It wasn’t until the pressure turned up on the back nine where Strawn’s team felt the most comfortable.
As one of the top three scorers on his team, Strawn combined with John Wright and James Starnes for a wild 10-under par back nine. The incredible loop, in addition to six of the 10 counting scores being at or under par, opened up a nine-shot lead for the Strawn Men.
Captains Craig Hurlbert (L) and Rusty Strawn at the 2022 Golfweek Senior Challenge Cup
While Team Strawn flourished down the stretch, 2021 Golfweek Player of the Year Craig Hurlbert and crew couldn’t hold on to their vanishing lead.
Combining for 12 over on the front nine, Hurlbert’s team saw their lead quickly shrink. Grasping for straws, Team Hurlbert was 5 over through 15. Needing a miracle push, eight of the 10 counting scores birdied the par-4 16th, giving Hurlbert’s crew a glimmer of hope with two holes to play.
Unable to muster any more magic, Team Hurlbert carded a 9-over 739. The finish resulted in a comeback win for Rusty Strawn’s crew. Closing out strong, Team Strawn’s final-round 704 was the lowest team score of the week.
Aside from the team championship, four individual titles were awarded.
Ken Kinkopf was able to fend off a slew of challengers to hold on to the Senior division title. Kinkopf’s bogey-free, final-round 67 was the lowest round of the week in the senior division. The win makes it back-to-back Golfweek senior event victories, as Kinkopf took home the Tournament of Champions title in early December.
Rusty Strawn and Mike Combs couldn’t overcome speed bumps from early in the week, tying for second place at 2 over.
54 holes wasn’t enough to settle the Super Senior division. Steve Humphrey and Tim Vigotsky traded blows throughout the second and third rounds, but it was Humphrey who was able to ride the momentum from a final round 1 under 70 to take the championship on the first playoff hole.
Peter Van Ingen closed out a wire-to-wire victory in the Legend division with a final-round 72. The win closes out a strong finish to Van Ingen’s 2022 season, as he finished second in the Golfweek Tournament of Champions and followed that up with a third-place finish in the Society of Seniors last weekend.
2022 Yancey Ford Award winner Joe Pavoni also went wire-to-wire in his Super Legend win. Pavoni used rounds of 76, 80 and 74 to close out a four-shot victory in the 75+ age division.
With Team Strawn hoisting the Challenge Cup, the 2022 Golfweek senior amateur season comes to a close. The 2023 season begins January 16-18 at the Golfweek Senior Division National Championship in Palm Desert, California. Registration is still open here.