Senior City Golf Championship
At Orchard Ridge Country Club
FORT WAYNE —
It wasn’t just because he was about to wrap up his second victory at the Senior City Championship, though he probably appreciates winning more than most.
For Wood, 54, just being able to play is a gift he doesn’t take for granted.
“I’m playing with five plates and 26 screws (in my body) and I appreciate going out there and playing and walking and being with the guys. When you do good, it’s a bonus,” said Wood, who shot a final-round 3-under 68 on Tuesday to finish at 2-under for the two-day tournament.
“I was out there playing the other day and this guy says, ‘You just don’t get rattled out there.’ I responded, ‘Hey, this is a game. That’s just the way it is.’ Oh, yeah, I appreciate it. I appreciate life every day. This is part of it.”
About 14 years ago, Wood and his wife, Lisa, were hit head-on by a drunk driver with a blood alcohol level of .314.
Wood took the worst of the accident, suffering injuries to his hip, wrist, spleen and just about everything else. He was in intensive care for a week, in the hospital for a month and a in wheelchair for another month and a half. His condition was so worrisome he was given last rites.
Wood came into Tuesday tied for the lead at 1 over with Mike Riecke and 2012-champion John Wray, who also won in 2002 and 2010.
Wood wound up with an eight-stroke victory over Wray and three-time champion Sam Till Jr.
“I played really solid,” Wood said. “I started off with a birdie on No. 1 by rolling in a nice putt. Then I didn’t hit a good drive on the second hole but got up-and-down for bogey. … I finished the front 2-under and then played really, really solid.”
The particular challenge at Orchard Ridge – which is 6,235 yards – is mastering the fast, undulating greens.
“I hit the ball really good and I putted really good,” said Wood, a pharmaceutical salesman. “These greens don’t scare me. They scare a lot of people. But I play Pine Valley and I’m used to the undulations and I know, at the end of the day, if you are between clubs that you hit it short and let it bounce up so you have an uphill putt. That’s what I did all day. But I hit it solid.”
Wood also won this event in 2011 at Brookwood Golf Club.
“This was really, really good because shooting 68 is a lot of fun,” said Wood, who also won the Indiana PGA Senior Open in 2010, after three playoff holes against Ron Carter and Randy Nichols.
Riecke, who has never finished better than second, and is president of the Fort Wayne Senior Golf Association, which runs the tournament, had a final-round 77 and finished in fourth place at 7 over.