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Goosen Wins Inaugural Bridgestone Senior Players Championship

By Khabir Bhatia, WKSU

Retief Goosen birdied the final two holes to win the inaugural Bridgestone Senior Players Championship at Firestone Country Club in Akron for his first PGA Tour Champions title.

The 50-year-old Hall of Famer from South Africa broke a tie for the lead with a 15-foot putt on the par-4 17th hole and made a 10-footer on the par-4 18th for a 2-under 68.  He beat Jay Haas and Tim Petrovic by two strokes. 

The Bridgestone Senior Players Championship replaced the more popular and more prestigious World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational, after the sponsor, Bridgestone, declined last year to renew its contract with Firestone and moved the event to Memphis.

Tom Burns from Munroe Falls was at Firestone Country Club over the weekend for the event, and has volunteered several times in the past.  He said the crowds seemed smaller compared to Invitational, a PGA Tour event that came through the club for two decades.

“We’re able to get up close, but it’s not nearly the event as when the real pros are here.  And it’s a fundraiser for Akron: they raise an awful lot of money for the hospitals.  And they won’t raise as much money, obviously, with a lesser crowd," he said.

Northern Ohio Golf Charities donated about $1 million from the prior event in 2017.  But in 2002 – when Firestone last hosted a seniors event – their take was about half that.

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