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Jim Starnes takes Super Senior lead at Golfweek Senior Amateur

Jim Starnes takes Super Senior lead at Golfweek Senior Amateur

Jim Starnes had shot his age twice before Saturday, but never in a tournament. So when Starnes, who is 66 ½, went bogey-free for a 7-under 65 on Desert Willow’s Firecliff Course in Palm Desert, California, for the second round of the 2024 Golfweek Senior Amateur, he not only took a year off, he shot to the top of the leaderboard.

“It all came together today,” Starnes said.

Starnes was laser-like with his irons on Saturday and hit 16 greens in regulation. He made a birdie putt of 35 feet on No. 16, but the other four birdies were off of putts inside 10 feet. On the par-5 18th, his ninth hole of the day, he faced 215 yards to the green on his second shot and decided to lay up with 7-iron. With 66 yards left to the green, he two-hopped a 60-degree lob wedge into the hole.

“Drove it extremely well and so it was fundamentally pretty low stress,” he said. “If I wasn’t making a birdie, I was making fairly easy pars so it was fun and I hope I can do it again.”

Scores: Golfweek Senior Amateur

After an even-par round of 72 in Friday’s opening round, Starnes now leads the super senior division by three shots over Pete Higgins of Mercer, Washington. Higgins, who had a co-lead at the start of the day, posted a 3-under 69 on Saturday.

Starnes, who hails from Ft. Myers, Florida, is ranked second in the Super Senior division of Golfweek’s National Senior Amateur Rankings. He finished 2023 third on the points list for his division, and in 2016 he was named the Senior Player of the Year as the top points-getter.

To claim a POY title is a labor of love that forces men like Starnes to tee it up frequently and to play well. For Starnes, that means 22 to 25 national senior starts, plus a half dozen four-ball events and a few Florida State Golf Association events.

Already this year, Starnes has won the Florida Azalea Senior. He was top 5 at the Heron Creek Senior and the Moot Thomas Invitational. Starnes, who has been retired three years from Pitney Bowes postage meter company, still enjoys the ride and camaraderie even as he chases a spot in the rankings.

In his career, Starnes has qualified for three USGA events: the 2016 and 2021 U.S. Senior Amateurs, plus the 1974 U.S. Junior Am. He plans to keep trying for the Senior Am.

“I’ll keep swinging until the courses get too long or I get too short,” he said.

Starnes plays out of Fiddlesticks Country Club in Ft. Meyers, Florida. He has sought help from many different teachers around the country over…


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