Even going the lowest wasn’t low enough.
Mooresville’s Steve Harwell carded the single lowest-round score managed by any other player in the full fairway field during the course of any other round but it still came up short in his quest for a repeat first-place finish in the annual Carolinas Golf Association’s Carolinas Senior Amateur Golf Championship.
Harwell, last year’s record-setting winner, sandwiched his standout showing of six-under-par 66 posted at the Ballantyne Country Club course in Charlotte shot during the affair’s second round that also actually allowed him to take a share of the tournament’s lead into the third and final 18-hole stroke play round.
The defending champion was unable to maintain the momentum to officially merit a two-way share of fifth-place in the final stroke standings to relinquish his Sr. Am champion’s status. Still, the effort allowed Harwell to serve as the medalist among the trio of Mooresville players in the field for the 59th annual edition of the late calendar-year major among CGA senior-level attractions.
Play was held in the form of three rounds. Only the top 60 players and ties earned the distinction of reaching the third round following a cut in place at the 36-hole mark.
Harwell entered the affair as one of the contenders courtesy of his reigning champion status and his number-one ranking in the CGA Senior Division standings.
He was able to back that billing in particular during the course of second-round play. After opening defense with a round of two-over-par 74 that placed him back in the field, he bounced back to notch the score of six-under-66 that bolted him into a two-way tie atop the leaderboard.
“I had a terrible time (in the first round) with my hands slipping,’’ said Harwell. “I could finally hold on the club and played some solid golf.”
The reigning CGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year failed to register any score over par on any hole and recorded the six birdies on the strength of missing only one green.
In the final round, Harwell matched his opening score of 74 to finish at 214 strokes for the three rounds. He finished in tie for fifth with another former champion to also merit automatic exemption into next year’s event.
Mooresville’s Mike Arnold also garnered a stay covering the extent of the Sr. Am. Arnold clocked in with rounds of 77-72, respectively, to check in under the 36-hole cut. He then closed with a round of 79 that resulted in a tie for 51st-place overall.
Mooresville’s Jimmy Popp fired rounds of 75-79 that failed to advance him into the final round.
Entry into the event was open to any male amateur golfer who had reached his 55th birthday by the first day of play, maintained a residence in North Carolina or South Carolina, was a member in good standing of a club which is a member of CGA and had an active USGA Handicap Index at a CGA member club that did not exceed 10.4.