Event History

The prestigious Gasparilla Invitational Tournament's roots go all the way back to The Gasparilla Open which was originally a match play event for professional golfers.

One of the early winners in 1932 was Golf Hall of Fame member Paul Runyan. At that time, the golf tournament was closely tied to the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG) who annually sponsors a February Pirate Invasion and “Mardi Gras type” parade for the City of Tampa. As the winner, Runyan was awarded a bag of gold coins worth $962 by the YMKG Captain. In 1933 and 1934, the Tournament was won by Denny Shute in medal competition with Shute besting the likes of Hall of Famers Gene Sarazen and Horton Smith. Other contestants in that field were accomplished local players, Palma Ceia member Harry Root Jr. and Palma Ceia head professional, Henry Bolesta. Many other famous, playing professionals competed in those early years including Walter Hagen, Lloyd and Ray Mangrum, Henry Picard, Ralph Guldahl and Johnny Revolta, who captured his first professional win at Palma Ceia.

Up until 1935, The Gasparilla Open was the top money PGA tournament in the United States with an average purse of four thousand dollars. In 1935, the Tournament Committee changed the format and limited the payout of prize money to PGA professionals only. The committee also banned the popular para-mutual betting which was quite common at the time. That year, the organizers held open a spot for the always colorful and rarely punctual, Walter Hagen. They were not sure whether or not the legendary carouser was going to show up as he had not even visited the course to practice during the week prior to the tournament. It was not until the first day of the event and just two minutes before his tee time, that Mr. Hagen was spotted as he sauntered up to the first tee to play without a single practice swing or putt. He then proceeded to shoot a sterling 64 which put him atop the first day's leader board. Back then, the final two rounds were played consecutively on the third and final day of the Tournament. After making a seven on the short par five 18th hole in the 3rd round, he retired for a brief respite only two up on the field. He then posted a 38 on the front side of the final round which put him in a tie with Gene Kunes with just nine holes left to play. It took a clutch birdie, birdie finish at holes 17 and 18 for "The Haig" to win by one shot. This victory at the Gasparilla Open at Palma Ceia was the last individual professional tournament that Walter Hagen would ever win.

In 1956, the Gasparilla Invitational resumed as a strictly amateur event. The Tournament was won that year by Palma Ceia member Maynard Ramsey with an even par, two day score of 140. Over the following years and to this very day, many U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur champions as well as then current Walker Cup players have chosen to add this tournament to their playing schedules. Top amateurs from around the country have often come to Palma Ceia to test their skills against our local players and other regional champions. The 1960 winner was Downing Gray, a three time Walker Cup player. Mr. Gray also won seven consecutive tournaments while in college at Florida State and played in the Masters for six consecutive years winning the "silver cup" for low amateur two of those years. The 1976 Champion was former U.S. Amateur Champion Buddy Alexander, the former golf coach at the University of Florida. The 1981 winner was young Hal Sutton of Shreveport, Louisiana who hoisted the trophy after scoring a three over par 213 in the three day event. It was the last event in which Hal Sutton would play as an amateur before moving on to a successful PGA career that would culminate with his selection as a U.S. Ryder Cup Captain. When the Tournament became more connected to a Mid- Amateur event format, the rules stipulated that a participant had to be at least 25 years of age and no longer in college to compete. An exemption would be granted if one was a current U.S. Amateur Champion. Nathaniel Crosby, son of the legendary crooner and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby, used that exemption to play in the 1982 event which was won by Dick Siderowf with a three day total of one over par. Siderowf was a seasoned competitor and a perennial nationally ranked amateur with two British Amateur victories on his playing resume.

A series of U.S. Mid-Amateur Champions have participated and won the Gasparilla Invitational including top amateurs Tim Jackson, Spider Miller and Danny Green. It was not uncommon for USGA Champions to compete in the Gasparilla Invitational as a way to prepare them for the fast putting surfaces and pressure filled environment that they would encounter a few weeks later in April at The Masters in Augusta, Georgia. The slickly quick putting surfaces and narrow fairways have fiercely protected par year after year. In fact, par has been broken only six times by the winners of the 54 hole tournament. In 1967, local Mulberry legend and former U.S. amateur Champion, Bob Murphy, carved an amazing 5 under par 205 through the Palma Ceia pines to win going away. That tournament record was not equaled until 1988 when David Smith matched Murphy's total of five under par. In 2005, Peter Dachisen, currently a PGA Tour rules official, set a new record by shooting a breathtaking six under 204 in his lap of that year’s field. In that event, Mr. Dachisen also set the single round scoring record by shooting an eight under 62, and to date has won five Gasparilla titles. The only other five time winner is Jack Veghte of Clearwater, Florida. As the host course since the tournament's inception, it should be mentioned that Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club has also had some of its own members win the tournament. Paul Tarnow Jr. won three times in the 1950's, Charlie Brown won in 1963 and Doug Lacrosse, a three time player of the year in the Florida State Golf Association and former professional golfer, won the 1991 event. Palma Ceia is also very proud to have club member Fred Ridley, a former U.S Amateur, Walker Cup player and captain and USGA President to have participated in and served as Chairman of the tournament.

While it is considered to be a serious and elite amateur golf event, the Tournament has always offered an array of fun parties and social events. The final round is well attended as hundreds of Club Members and guests come out to watch the field of elite amateur golfers compete for the trophy and enjoy the hospitality stations on the course. The winner of this tournament carries not only the prestige of that singular victory but has his name linked to the history of this outstanding event for the rest of his career.

  • Past Champions
    • Event History

      2017 Nicholas Mullhaupt, Palm Desert, CA 209
      2016 Nicholas Mullhaupt, Palm Desert, CA 212 
      2015  Scott Harvey, Greensboro, NC  139 ** 
      2013 Doug Letson, Tampa, FL  207 
      2012 Doug Lacrosse, Tampa, FL  214 
      2011 Brian Armstrong, Tampa, FL
      2010 Peter Dachisen, Tampa, FL
      2009 Peter Dachisen, Tampa, FL 212 
      2008 Pat Olive, Holiday, FL
      2007 Michael Morison, Atlanta, GA 213 
      2006 Peter Dachisen, Tampa, FL
      2005 Peter Dachisen, Tampa, FL
      2004 Richard Kerper, Clearwater, FL
      2003 Mike Nealy, Boca Raton, FL  136** 
      2002 Peter Dachisen, Tampa, FL 135** 
      2001 Tim Jackson, Germantown, TN 207
      2000 Danny Green, Jackson, TN  213 
      1999 Spider Miller, Bloomington, IN  179*** 
      1997 Bobby Dick, Tallahassee, FL 215 
      1996 Bobby Dick, Tallahassee, FL
      1995 Wyatt Meyer, Tampa, FL  211 
      1994 Spider Miller, Bloomington, IN  212
      1993 Brad Burris, High Point, NC
      1992 Dave Boesel, Winter Park, FL  212
      1991 Doug Lacrosse, Tampa, FL
      1990 Peter Williams, Orlando, FL  142** 
      1989 Dave Boesel,  Winter Park, FL
      1988 David Smith, Orlando, FL  205 
      1987 David Smith, Orlando, FL
      1986 Peter Williams, Orlando, FL  209 
      1985 Gary Schroeder, Orlando, FL
      1984 Dave Boesel, Winter Park, FL  209 
      1983 Bob Kouwe, Tampa, FL  210 
      1982 Dick Siderowf, Westport, CT
      1981 Hal Sutton, Shreveport, LA
      1980 Jack Shubert, Altamonte Springs, FL  213 
      1979 Bob Cornett, Tampa, FL 213 
      1978 Jack Veghte, Clearwater, FL
      1977 Gary Schroeder, Orlando, Fl 
      1976 Buddy Alexander, St. Petersburg, Fl 
      1975 Jack Veghte, Clearwater, Fl 
      1974 Ed Tutwiler, Boca Raton, Fl
      1973 Jerry Tarnow, Tampa, Fl
      1972 Beau Baugh, Cocoa Beach, Fl
      1971 Bob Rankin, Clearwater, Fl
      1970 Bob Rankin, Clearwater, Fl 
      1969 David Barnes, Avondale Estates, Ga
      1968 Jack Veghte, Clearwater, Fl
      1967 Bob Murphy, Jr., Nichols, Fl
      1966 Jack Veghte, Clearwater, Fl
      1965 Jack Veghte, Clearwater, Fl 
      1964 Ed Kirkland, Orlando, Fl
      1963 Charlie Brown, Tampa, Fl
      1962 Don Addington, Dallas, Tx
      1961 Glen Peeples, St. Petersburg, Fl
      1960 Downing Gray, Pensacola, Fl
      1959 Paul Tarnow, Jr., Tampa, Fl
      1958 Paul Tarnow, Jr., Tampa, Fl 
      1957 Paul Tarnow, Jr., Tampa, Fl 
      1956 Maynard Ramsey, Tampa, Fl

      *One Round
      **Two Rounds
      ***45 Holes

      Summary of Past Tournaments


Summary of Past Tournaments

  • 2015
    • The 2015 Gasparilla Invitational Golf Tournament is in the record books. We are proud to have Scott Harvey as our overall winner and David Clements as our senior division winner.

      Although the total player and spectator experience was somewhat diminished by the rain shortened event the responses from spectators and players alike were uniformly enthusiastic.

      The 60th annual GIGT boasted the strongest field in the history of the event. The contestants, representing 30 states, were challenged by Palma Ceia’s 6350 yard quintessential parkland layout. Several players commented that Palma Ceia may be the longest “short course” in the country. One competitor quipped, after posting his five over 75, that "I feel like I just got beat up by the smallest kid in the class". All in all, the course provided a stern challenge as it has for the 60 years it has hosted the tournament. After last year’s disappointing cancellation of the tournament due to a fungus situation on several greens, the course was presented in outstanding condition to host this prestigious field.

      The annual Pirates Pig Roast dinner was enjoyed by 200 players and guests. Our attendees were treated to a "fireside chat" with special guests and tournament competitors, Steve Melnyk and Fred Ridley. Steve and Fred entertained the audience with interesting and amusing stories based on their personal experiences and were able to share their perspectives on current events in the world of golf. A standing ovation at the end of the evening demonstrated the sincere appreciation by all in attendance.

      Congratulations to our champions! Scott Harvey, the reigning U.S. Mid-Am champion went on to play in the Masters in April and was then selected as a member of the 2015 U.S. Walker Cup team.

      Full field results are available on this website by clicking on our Live Scoring tab.

      We salute all of our competitors and appreciate your participation in this historic event. Planning has begun for the 2016 GIGT. We will continue the challenge of making the Gasparilla Invitational one of the best Invitationals in the country. This we are able to pursue based on the tremendous support of the Board of Directors, staff and general membership of Palma Ceia. Our focus will continue to be on gathering the finest field and then providing an outstanding experience for players and spectators alike.

      We wish all of our players the best throughout this year’s competitive season.