Golf: Norman sweeps field to win senior's title

-A A +A
By Mike Cote

While Bruce Norman wasn't sure if he'd ever played in the senior men's flight of the Atomic City Invitational before, he's now got a plaque to prove he competed in 2010.

Norman clinched his first victory in the senior men's side of the ACI Saturday, knocking off Brian Colby in the third round 4 and 3 to earn the title.

The win gave Norman the sweep of his three opponents in the senior men's division, which included a pair of past senior's champions, Eddie Sanchez and Jim Hoffer.

In Saturday's finale, Norman dropped a 6-foot downhill par putt on the 15th hole to seal the victory.

Making a big putt to secure the victory was a fitting end to Norman's title run, as he credited a lot of his recent success to changing his putting style. Instead of keeping his arms close to his body, Norman switched tactics and started putting with his arms hanging down from his body, giving his putter more pendulum-like action.

While Norman said he had to fight the temptation to put his opponents away as quickly as possible, he said the most important thing for him during his tournament run was to stay within his game.

"I've played this thing for so many years and every time you get up, the tendency is to go, 'gosh, if I win one more, I'll put him in a bad position,'" he said.

Colby, who could've made the senior men's flight a mess with a victory Saturday — himself, Norman and Sanchez would've all ended up 2-1 in three contests — was within a hole of Norman heading onto the ninth hole, but caught a bad break on the ninth green, hitting a long putt from the top tier of the green past the hole and down to the bottom tier, almost further away from the hole than where the putt started.

Norman, meanwhile, put his chip from 10 yards out to within 7 feet of the cup and sank his par chance to go up 2 at the turn.

Norman would take advantage, hitting two pretty shots to set himself up with a birdie chance on 10 — Colby got into trouble off the tee and never recovered, conceding the hole after a bogey attempt rolled wide.

Sanchez, who won the tournament in 2007 and 2008, finished Saturday as the senior's runner-up with his 3 and 1 win over Hoffer, the 2005 champ. Sanchez and Norman had to go to an extra hole in their match Thursday before Norman took the victory.

"I was real happy," Norman said of his victory. "They're great guys. I've enjoyed everybody's company. Brian is a fine player, he just made a couple of mistakes, and Eddie's tough as nails."