Kings of the Mountain

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LA QUINTA, Calif -- The man from Marathon, Florida outlasted the competition over four days in the California desert.

Joseph Burns carded a final round 87 on the La Quinta Resort Mountain Course to stave off Joe Strong in the Senior Snead flight in the Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Championships in La Quinta.

Burns, 55, qualified for the event by placing third in the Puerto Rico Championship at Trump International with a third place finish. He came cross-country to take on a field of 75 competitors.

The La Quinta Resort Mountain Course is a tale of two nines: a flat front side followed by a home stretch that bounds up and down along mountainside, creating uneven lies and shots to elevated greens.

Burns, playing in the 20-handicap Snead flight, played damage control down the stretch and managed a par on the 18th to take home the trophy.

His clutch 87 also gave him medalist honors in the final round. Joe Strong finished a close second with a four-round total of 366. The two ran away from the field, with third place, Richard Naef, eleven shots behind.

Millard mans up 

Also on the Mountain Course was the Sr. Jones flight (16.0-19.9 hcp). Matt Millard shook off a triple bogey on the 15th hole to bring home a one-shot victory over John Tycki, who shot 88. Millard carded a four-day total of 353. 

The two competitors from California traded blows on the top of the leaderboard all week. But it was Millard’s opening round 85 that proved to give him just enough space come the final round. 

The national crown is the second win of the year for Millard on the Golf Channel Am Tour. He won at San Diego-area Maderas Golf Club in the Poway Amateur Championship in August.