Mark Tucker shot back-to-back rounds of 72 to win the 2023 Central New York PGA Stroke Play Championship on June 5 at Soaring Eagles Golf Club in Horseheads.
The Stroke Play Championship is one of the CNY PGA’s major tournaments and worth double points in the Rolex Player of the Year standings as well as double points for the M. Lemp Jewelers Cup.
Despite carding a double-bogey on his first hole, Tucker (Cazenovia Country Club) finished as the medalist in the morning round with a 1-over-par 72 to hold a one-shot lead over Eric Manning (Elm Tree GC) and Ryan Evans (Dick’s Sporting Goods) after the first round.
“When you start with a double-bogey you think ‘This is not going to be a good day.’, ” Tucker said. “But it all worked out. Winning is a happening and it happened for me.”
Tucker stayed in first place in the afternoon round and distanced himself from the field with another solid round of 72 and finished the tournament at 2-over 144, winning by four strokes over Manning (73-75—148).
“I never looked at the scoreboard until later in the afternoon,” Tucker said. “But after 27 holes I was doing pretty good.”
On the day, Tucker recorded six birdies (five on par 5 holes), four bogeys and two double bogeys. It was Tucker’s first Stroke Play victory since 2012 when he also won at Soaring Eagles. Tucker earned $1,500 for first.
“I hit the flag stick three times in the afternoon,” Tucker said. “I had a lot of great opportunities on a lot of holes I just couldn’t make anything. I made some short birdie putts, a lot of tap-in pars.”
Manning, the reigning CNY PGA Section and Senior Player of the Year, received a $1,250 check for second.
Alan Savage (Turning Stone Resort Casino) placed third (76-73—149), worth $1,000. Evans (73-77—150) was fourth while 2021 champion Nick Serafino (75-76—151) rounded out the top five.