Lake Geneva golfer top senior amateur
But uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
“I won a few tournaments early,” Pfeil said. “I have a bit of a lead, but you have to continue playing.”
Golfweek/Wilson Golf senior and super senior amateur rankings are based on points awarded for specific finishes in designated 2012 tournaments.
In February, the retired 61-year-old Pfeil carded a final-round 63 to win the Gateway Senior golf tournament in Fort Myers, Fla., and he followed it eight days later with a bogey-free 66 in the final round of the Golfweek National Championship to win from 10 shots down.
“You could enter probably 30 tournaments for points,” said Pfeil, who finished six shots off the lead in the Senior Masters at Indian Wells last month. “It’s all on a points system and it’s like a marathon.’’
Last June, Pfeil carded a 290 (73-70-77-70) in his first Ray Fischer Amateur at Riverside Golf Club. Middleton’s Miles McConnell, a former mini tour player, finished with a 269 (70-69-66-64) for the title.
Pfeil’s outstanding play beats the conventional wisdom that says a golfer in his 60s should be losing ground on his game.
“I have more time to work at,” said Pfeil, who qualified for the US Senior Amateur in 2010. “I’m taking a better approach. I’m not getting crazy or mechanical.’’
Pfeil, who played for Arizona State University for two seasons, moved to Lake Geneva after receiving a degree in business and worked as a pit trader at the Chicago Board of Trade before opening his own firm.
Before his meteoric rise in senior play this season, Pfeil’s best claim to fame was winning the Big Foot Country Club championship 15 times to tie his father’s club record in 2010. Pfeil stopped playing the event in honor of his father.
Pfeil’s success at Big Foot could weigh in his favor at the U.S. Senior Open qualifier at Big Foot on June 26. The U.S. Senior Open is set for July 12-15 at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich.
“What you expect and what people expect can be a big deterrent to how you play,” Pfeil said. “There is an adage that people who have to qualify on the course they play don’t qualify. I’ve seen it, and I just have to manage my mental approach.’’
Pfeil said he never had “strong coaching” but with guidance he maintains a sharp mental edge in tournament play.
“I’m not saying I don’t have lessons,” Pfeil said. “I’m getting older, but I’m still competitive.’’
Pfeil said he enjoys the benefits of good counsel from his fellow competitors.
“That’s the nice thing about the senior circuit,” Pfeil said. “People are interested in improving and being competitive, but they are not afraid to help you improve.’’
Pfeil’s advice for the average senior is to play within his or her ability.
“You have to know how much you can put into it,” Pfeil said. “You have to know that you are not going to be a scratch golfer and not get upset. If you have a good shot enjoy it and forget the bad ones.’’
The good news for Pfeil is he not making the bad shots, and he is really enjoying the good ones.
“I really can’t explain why I’m doing so well,” Pfeil said. “Other than I’m just having the time to play golf.’’