Jon Lindstrom cruises to victory at Golfweek Senior Division National Championship

Jon Lindstrom never looks at the scoreboard on the golf course, preferring to play his game and let the chips fall where they may.

In the final round of the Golfweek Senior Division National Championship, he was 16 holes deep in the round – and five shots under par – before a playing competitor let him know he had a five-shot lead.

“Once I heard that, I played it pretty conservative on the last two holes,” said Lindstrom. “I really wasn’t paying attention other than I knew I was beating the guys in my group but I wasn’t sure if somebody ahead of me was going low.”

After parring in for a closing 67 on Desert Willow’s Mountain View Course in Palm Desert, California, Lindstrom claimed his first major senior amateur victory of the year. At 8 under, he was three better than runner-up John Brellenthin from Dallas, who fired a 68 in the next-to-last group on Wednesday.

Scores: Golfweek Senior Division National Championship

Kirk Maynord of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the second-round leader, birdied three of his final four holes on his way to a final-round 68 but it wasn’t enough to catch Lindstrom. Maynord finished solo third at 4 under, followed by Jerry Gunthorpe of Ovid, Michigan, in fourth at 2 under.

Lindstrom, 56, who still works full-time for the insurance brokerage firm Marsh & McLennan, overseeing the Denver and Salt Lake City offices, flew to Palm Desert from his Denver home a few days early, which helped him acclimate.

“I had been hitting it good the whole week just haven’t been making a lot of putts,” he said of his final round. “I hit it closer today than the previous two days and I was making putts, so it was a good combination.”

His first birdie came on the opening hole, when he hit it to 3 feet and converted. He was 4 under on the front nine and never made a birdie putt longer than 6 feet. Lindstrom’s ballstriking played a big role as he kept leaving himself with looks.

The 56-year-old thinks he hits the ball farther than average in this age group, though he’s not particularly long in the bigger picture. He had irons into every par 5 this week, even hitting a 9-iron on one hole.

“That doesn’t happen on mid-am courses,” he said, “for me, at least.”

Lindstrom is in only his second year competing on the senior circuit, but this lifestyle is familiar. He competed in mid-amateur events until turning 55 and welcomed the shorter yardage and competitors closer in age. In 2023, his debut year on the senior circuit, Lindstrom put together his schedule strategically.

“Last year I knew I had the full year, I wanted to get into as many events as possible to get as many points as possible,” he said.

After winning the Trans-Miss Senior and the Heron Creek Senior, plus making match play at the U.S. Senior Amateur and logging several other top-5 finishes in senior amateur events, Lindstrom’s ranking climbed. He’s currently No. 422 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and No. 6 among players 55 and older. He qualified for the 2023 U.S. Mid-Amateur based on his World Ranking and will be exempt into the 2024 U.S. Senior Amateur, too.

The Trans-Miss win gave Lindstrom not only a boost in points but a boost in confidence. This circuit is still loaded with talent, and, as Lindstrom noted, it’s always meaningful to win. He felt that again Wednesday at Desert Willow.

“Although I had two or three wins, I had a number of top 5s, which is always satisfying, which means I’m always competing,” he said of 2023. “It was just a matter of having a day like today where I could move up significantly.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek