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LEONARD LUKEN SHOOTS 81 TO DEFEAT ARNOLD PALMER, GARY PLAYER AND 57 AMATEURS AND WIN THE INAUGURAL THE VILLAGES SHOOT YOUR AGE CHAMPIONSHIP
THE VILLAGES, Fla. – The 530th time was the most charming for 87-year-old Leonard Luken, an enchanting round of golf that must stand above any other in which he has shot his age. Luken carded an 81 – six strokes under his age -- to win The Villages Shoot Your Age Championship at the par-72, 6,251-yard Arnold Palmer Legends Country Club Saturday, besting a mostly amateur field of 60 players and headlined by PGA Tour legends Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
“This is a great deal. It’s one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me,” said Luken, a Hilton Head, SC resident who actually played with Palmer’s father, Deacon, at Latrobe CC and Laurel Valley CC in Pennsylvania an estimated 35-40 years ago. “It was better than winning the fast-pitch softball World Series. I hit the ball pretty good. I missed three or four putts but I didn’t putt too badly. I hit a lot of greens that I don’t normally do.”
“I think it’s wonderful,” added Palmer. “The enthusiasm from (everyone) is wonderful. The (crowd) just came out like troopers. I’m looking forward to next year.”
After the round, Luken was serenaded in a Villages golf cart parade, where fans showered the winner with empty Flomax prescription drug cannisters (in lieu of ticker tape) while Arnold Palmer performed a flyover in his Lear jet.