Medalist Advances, Defending Champion Ousted At 2002 USGA Senior Amateur Championship
Jacksonville, Fla. – Medalist Billy Clagett, 56, of Austin, Texas, advanced while defending champion Kemp Richardson, 56, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., lost in the first round of match play at the 48th USGA Senior Amateur Championship Monday, being held at the par-72, 6,596-yard Timuquana Country Club.
Clagett’s opening-round match against Robert Fouke, 59, of Broken Arrow, Okla., was close throughout. Fouke, needing to win the par-4, 420-yard 18th hole to square the match and send it to extra holes, hit his tee shot into a creek. The players halved the hole with bogeys and Clagett had a 1-up victory.
“I had an off day today and I got very fortunate and won,” Clagett said. “I know tomorrow is a different deal and I better pay attention – you snooze, you lose.”
Clagett is trying to become the first medalist to go on to win the championship since 1987.
“Match play is so different,” Clagett said. “In medal play, you go out there and you’ve got to beat everybody to win. Beating everybody is a lot harder than beating one person. But by the same token, it’s easier to lose too. Match play is the ultimate challenge.”
Richardson was trying to become the first to win back-to-back USGA Senior Amateur Championships since William Campbell in 1979 and 1980.
Down four holes after 11 against Donald Cox, 61, of Lake Quivira, Kan., Richardson won the par-4, 375-yard 14th and par-5, 490-yard 15th holes to close the deficit to two holes. Both players went on to halve the par-3, 163-yard 16th and par-4, 398-yard 17th holes and Cox claimed a 2-and-1 victory.
Bob Lewis Jr., 58, of Pepper Pike, Ohio, the 2003 USA Walker Cup squad captain, faced off in first-round action against O. Gordon Brewer, 65, of Pine Valley, N.J., the 1994 and 1996 Senior Amateur winner and captain of the USA squad at the upcoming 2002 World Amateur Team Championship.
Brewer took an early lead and was up three holes after five, but Lewis fought back to square the match on the par-3 13th hole and came away with a 2-up win.
“Gordon is a heck of a player,” Lewis said. “We have had so many barn burners over the year. They’re always tough matches. He had me on the ropes today.”
Lewis, a three-time runner-up at USGA championships – the 1980 U.S. Amateur and the 1981 and 1984 U.S. Mid-Amateurs – knows winning his first USGA title won’t be easy.
“It’s going to take a Herculean effort for me to do it this week, but I’ll tell you one thing – it would be a real big highlight,” Lewis said. “I’ve always wanted to win a USGA event. I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished in my career, but there’s a void there for me by not having won one of these.”
Also advancing was 1998 and 2000 USGA Senior Amateur champion Bill Shean Jr., 59, of Hinsdale, Ill., who needed 23 holes to outlast Stephen Beckett, 56, of Palatka, Fla., and 1972 U.S. Amateur winner Vinny Giles, 59, of Richmond, Va., who easily advanced with a 6-and-4 victory over Bill Morrison of Lake Oswego, Ore.
Bill Ploeger, 62, of Columbus, Ga., the 1999 Senior Amateur champion, fell in first-round action, losing 2 and 1 to Bill Baloh, 58, of Herminie, Pa.
Greg Reynolds, 55, of Grand Blanc, Mich., who arrived at Timuquana late after playing in the U.S. Mid-Amateur and didn’t have time for a practice round, mounted the day’s biggest comeback.
Down four holes at the turn against Jay Howson, 64, of Malvern, Pa., Reynolds recorded a par on the 17th hole to square the match and another on the 18th hole to earn a 1-up victory.
“It was time to do a little gut check,” Reynolds said. “I’d been playing too good not to give him a little battle. I’ve played a lot of tournament golf lately and I thought that would be an advantage.”
The second and third rounds of match play will be held Tuesday. The championship concludes with Thursday afternoon’s 18-hole final match.
The USGA Senior Amateur, for amateur players 55 years and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Jacksonville, Fla. – Results of the first round of match play Monday at the 2002 USGA Senior Amateur, being played at the par-72, 6,596-yard Timuquana Country Club:
Billy Clagett, Austin, Texas (139) def. Robert Fouke, Broken Arrow, Okla. (154), 1 up
Robert Blomberg, Alameda, Calif. (152) def. Ned Steiner, Roseland, N.J. (152), 2 and 1
Mike Riley, San Diego, Calif. (148) def. John Baldwin, New York, N.Y. (153), 1 up
Greg Reynolds, Grand Blanc, Mich. (149) def. Jay Howson, Malvern, Pa. (153), 1 up
Sam Farlow, Birmingham, Ala. (146) def. Dan Anderson, Lenoir, N.C. (154), 4 and 3
Dave Sergeant, Ft Dodge, Iowa (150) def. Johnny Rodgers, Lubbock, Texas (152), 2 and 1
Bill Heldmar, Tulsa, Okla. (153) def. Alex Antonio, Bentleyville, Ohio (146), 2 up
Jack Klein, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (152) def. Tom Kundinger, Denver, Colo. (150), 4 and 3
Vinny Giles, Richmond, Va. (144) def. Bill Morrison, Lake Oswego, Ore. (154), 6 and 4
Randy Hudson, Nashville, Tenn. (152) def. Joel Hirsch, Chicago, Ill. (151), 1 up
Mike Rice, Houston, Texas (148) def. Rick Smith, Crystal Lake, Ill. (153), 2 and 1
John McKey Jr, Hobe Sound, Fla. (153) def. Fred Lukasik, Rock Island, Ill. (150), 3 and 1
Edward Smith, Mesa, Ariz. (145) def. John Marchetti, Tarrytown, N.Y. (154), 4 and 3
Gerald Siemons, Jefferson City, Mo. (152) def. Fred Rowland, Leawood, Kan. (151), 20 holes
Curt Madson, Mount Dora, Fla. (153) def. Todd Lusk, Baton Rouge, La. (147), 4 and 2
Stephen Myers, Phoenix, Ariz. (150) def. Roberto Duran, Rep of Panama (153), 2 and 1
Bill Shean Jr, Hinsdale, Ill. (143) def. Stephen Beckett, Palatka, Fla. (154), 23 holes
Alex Tarumianz, Lookout Mountain, Tenn. (152) def. Donald Meyer, Washington, D.C. (152), 3 and 2
Bruce Walters, Pikeville, Ky. (153) def. Ron Potter, Naperville, Ill. (148), 20 holes
Dick Van Leuvan, Roswell, Ga. (153) def. Mills Rendell, Chicago, Ill. (149), 2 and 1
Rick LaRose, Tucson, Ariz. (154) def. Mike Nixon, Nashville, Tenn. (146), 7 and 6
Donald Cox, Lake Quivira, Kan. (152) def. Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (151), 2 and 1
Mark Bemowski, Mukwonago, Wis. (153) def. Jeff Remington, Edmonds, Wash. (147), 20 holes
H Andy Wall, Tyler, Texas (150) def. Roger Brown, Arkansas City, Kan. (153), 2 and 1
Gary Koprivica, Missoula, Mont. (154) def. Jerry Greenbaum, Atlanta, Ga. (144), 3 and 2
Jere Ayers, Spring Island, S.C. (152) def. Tom Hadley, Hendersonville, N.C. (151), 19 holes
Jack Forbes, Morgantown, W.Va. (148) def. Robert Bradley, Hanover, Mass. (153), 20 holes
Harcourt Kemp, Louisville, Ky. (153) def. Brodie Baker, Bermuda Run, N.C. (149), 3 and 2
Robert Lewis Jr, Pepper Pike, Ohio (145) def. O Gordon Brewer, Pine Valley, N.J. (154), 2 up
Spencer Sappington, Alpharetta, Ga. (152) def. John Lindholm, Grand Blanc, Mich. (151), 2 and 1
Bill Baloh, Herminie, Pa. (153) def. Bill Ploeger, Columbus, Ga. (147), 2 and 1
Fred Peel, Chipley, Fla. (153) def. Larry Boswell, Jamestown, N.C. (150), 2 and 1