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Cloninger wins second straight CGA senior title at Camden CC

Posted: September 13, 2013 1:07 p.m.
Updated: September 16, 2013 5:00 a.m.
Photo courtesy of the CGA/

RICK CLONINGER POSES with the CGA senior championship trophy after having won the tournament, played at the Camden Country Club, for the second straight year.

Fort Mill native Rick Cloninger successfully defended his 2012 Carolinas Senior Championship in comeback fashion last Thursday at the Camden Country Club. 
Cloninger, an equipment consultant in the construction business, started the day five shots behind multi-time Carolinas Golf Association champion Paul Simson in a tie for third place. Simson, a Raleigh, N.C., native, struggled on the final day, shot an 81, and finished in a tie for fifth. 
Cloninger opened the three-day event with a 74 before finishing with rounds of 69 and 71 for a 4-over par 214. Pat Thompson of Asheville, N.C., was second with a 73-70-73—216 followed by first round leader Preston Edmondson of Montville, N.C. (67-74-76—217). Simson (69-69-81—219) and David Strawn of Charlotte (74-74-71—219) tied for fifth.
Cloninger bogeyed his first hole on the day and made pars on the next six holes until a birdie on number eight and a par on nine to turn at even par on the day. With the leaders struggling behind him, Cloninger headed to number 10 and suddenly held a one-stroke lead. 
“When I made the turn,” he said, “I figured I would be two or three shots behind, so I was surprised to be in the lead.
“I knew the course was playing tough, but they are some good players behind me”. 
Cloninger extended his lead to three strokes with a birdie on the par-5 13th. “The 10th hole is tough to get to, 11 is tough to get to, 12 is 12 and 13 is the only birdie hole you can go after on the back side”.
Cloninger’s lead shrunk to two with bogeys on 16 and 17, but a par on the final hole sealed the victory. 
“I am glad to be able to take this trophy back home for another year,” said Cloninger who added the championship to his title in this event a year ago while also having won the CGA Carolinas Mid-Amateur in 2003.
The top-30 finishers are exempt for the 2014 Carolinas Senior Amateur Championship that will take place at Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
Cloninger now heads to Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C., along with Simson and a handful of other Carolinians to play in the USGA Senior Amateur Championship Sept. 21-26.

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