Long Island Classic (Tournament on Champions Tour)

The Long Island Classic (also called the Commerce Bank Championship) was a golf tournament on the Champions Tour, the PGA Tour-owned senior circuit for golfers ages 50-and-over. It was played for two decades in the summer, typically coming in June or July on the senior tour schedule. The tournament was always played on Long Island in New York. It was the site of Gary Player's final win on the Champions Tour.

First played: 1988

Last played: 2008

Winners of the Long Island Classic/Commerce Bank Championship

1988 — Don Bies, 202
1989 — Butch Baird, 207 (def. Frank Beard, Orville Moody and Don Bies in playoff)
1990 — George Archer, 208
1991 — George Archer, 204
1992 — George Archer, 205
1993 — Raymond Floyd, 208
1994 — Lee Trevino, 200
1995 — Lee Trevino, 202
1996 — John Bland, 202
1997 — Dana Quigley, 204 (def. Jay Sigel in playoff)
1998 — Gary Player, 204
1999 — Bruce Fleisher, 206
2000 — Bruce Fleisher, 198
2001 — Bobby Wadkins, 202
2002 — Hubert Green, 199 (def. Hale Irwin in playoff)
2003 — Jim Thorpe, 195
2004 — Jim Thorpe, 201
2005 — Ron Streck, 197
2006 — John Harris, 202 (def. Tom Jenkins in playoff)
2007 — Lonnie Nielsen, 199
2008 — Loren Roberts, 201

Tournament Highlights and Notes

This tournament began in 1987 with the playing of the Northville Invitational, a senior tournament unsanctioned by the Champions Tour. The tournament joined the senior tour the following year, however. Who won that unsanctioned 1987 event? Gary Player. He also won the Long Island Classic in 1998, his 22nd and final win on the Champions Tour. Player was over 62 years old, making him, at the time, the second-oldest winner in Champions Tour history. The victory also came 12 years and 9 months after Player's first Champions Tour win (at the 1985 Quadel Seniors Classic), then a record-long gap between a golfer's first and last senior tour victories.

Dana Quigley won the 1997 tournament after playing his way into the field through Monday qualifying. It was the first of his 11 career senior wins.

This tournament produced multiple repeat champions, starting with George Archer who won three consecutive years, 1990, 1991 and 1992. Back-to-back champs were Lee Trevino (1994-95), Bruce Fleisher (1999-2000) and Jim Thorpe (2003-04). During his 2003 victory, Thorpe carded a 60 in the second round. That tied the then-Champions Tour record for 18 holes. It was the fourth 60 ever recorded on the senior circuit. Thorpe's 195 total that year was the tournament scoring record.

In 2001, Bobby Wadkins — who made 715 career starts on the PGA Tour without ever winning — won the Long Island Classic in what was his very first start on the Champions Tour. He was the 10th player in Champions Tour history to win his senior debut, following immediately after his brother Lanny Wadkins, who won his senior debut a year earlier at the 2000 Ace Group Classic.

Loren Roberts, the tournament's final winner, was also the third golfer to take it in wire-to-wire fashion. Fleisher (1999) and Ron Streck (2005) also won wire-to-wire.

Naming history: Northville Invitational was the name of the unofficial tournament in 1987. After joining the Champions Tour, the tournament was named Northville Long Island Classic from 1988-1998; Lightpath Long Island Classic in 1999-2002; Long Island Classic in 2003; Commerce Bank Long Island Classic in 2004; and Commerce Bank Championship, 2005-08.

Golf courses: From 1988-2002, the tournament took place at Meadow Brook Club in Jericho, New York. From 2003 through its conclusion, it was played on the Red Course at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York.

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