Interesting Player Notes From The 2002 USGA Senior Amateur
Brodie Baker, 63, of Bermuda Run, N.C., is right-handed in everything he does save one – play golf. That’s because he chopped wood and cotton with a hoe left-handed.
John Baldwin, 57, of New York, N.Y., is the reigning British Senior Amateur champion. He’s been beating opponents in New York for 25 years now – he was the 1967 New York State Am champ, the 1991 New York State Mid-Am champ, and the 2001 New York State Senior Amateur winner. He also served as the President of the Metropolitan Golf Association in 1993 and 1994, and was the MGA Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991.
Bob Blomberg, 57, of Alameda, Calif., is playing in his first Senior Amateur but he’s no newcomer to USGA events – he was the runner-up in the 1971 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and made it to the semifinals in the 1995.
Bud Bradley, 65, of Santa Monica, Calif., is celebrating his 50th year of competing in USGA championships. He played in the 1952 U.S. Junior Amateur and now, in 2002, is competing in his sixth Senior Amateur. In 1954, he won the U.S. Junior Amateur at Los Angeles C.C.’s North Course. In addition to the Junior Amateur and the Senior Amateur, he has played in the U.S. Amateur Public Links, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open. The only championship he did not play in was the U.S. Mid-Amateur. He’s also been victorious outside the United States – winning the British Senior Amateur in 1997 and the Canadian Senior Amateur in 2000.
O. Gordon Brewer, 65, of Pine Valley, N.J., is a two-time Senior Amateur champion, winning the 1994 and 1996 championships. A year ago, he made it to the semifinals of the championship. A former member of the USGA Executive Committee, he is serving as captain of this year’s USA squad that will be competing at the World Amateur Team Championships in Malaysia in October.
Roger Brown, 58, of Arkansas City, Ark., is the current president of the American Orchid Society, a group that boasts 30,000 members.
At age 55, Bob Clark of Murrieta, Ga., will be one of the youngest in this Senior Amateur field. But at the U.S. Amateur in August, he was the oldest in the championship. He was exempt into both championships after finishing as the low amateur in the 2002 U.S. Senior Open.
In 2000, Donald Cox, 61, of Lake Quivira, Kan., recorded a rare double honor – capturing Kansas Player of the Year and Senior Player of the Year honors in the same year, only the second time in Kansas history that the same player won both titles in the same year.
Earl Craig, 62, of Plano, Texas, won his club championship in sudden death on the first playoff hole. It’s a good thing it didn’t go longer or he would have had to forfeit – he’s an ordained minister and he had to preach that evening.
On August 30th, Robert Fouke, 59, of Broken Arrow, Okla., married his wife Jann at the clubhouse at St. Andrews, Scotland (Old Course).
For Vinny Giles, 59, of Richmond, Va., the adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try again,” proved true. After three runner-up finishes at the U.S. Amateur in 1967, 1968 and 1969, he finally won the championship in 1972 at Charlotte C.C. He played on the Walker Cup squad four times (1969, 1971, 1973, and 1975) and captained the 1993 team. He was also a member of three USA teams at the World Amateur Team championships that won three consecutive titles, and captained the 1992 World Amateur Team.
Thomas Hayes, 58, of Pensacola, Fla., is the older brother of PGA Tour player J.P. Hayes. He caddied for J.P. the first time he made it through PGA Tour Q-school, and for his first PGA Tour event. Tom is playing in his first-ever USGA event.
Joel Hirsch, 61, of Chicago, Ill., is playing in his 35th USGA event. He’s been a semifinalist twice at the USGA Senior Amateur, but has two British Senior Amateur championships to his name – in 1996 and 2000.
Jay Howson, 64, of Malvern, Pa., played basketball for Princeton University and was a member of two teams that won Ivy league titles (1959 & 1960). He still plays basketball today.
David King, 61, of Sterling, Va., has run a national senior amateur tournament called the David King Senior Legions Invitational for four years.
Robert Kroeger, DDS, 55, of Cincinnati, Ohio, has played over 250 golf courses in the United Kingdom and as a result has written four books about golf in Great Britain.
Bob Lewis Jr., 58, of Pepper Pike, Ohio, is a three-time runner-up in USGA championships – the 1980 U.S. Amateur (to Hal Sutton); and the 1981 and 1984 U.S. Mid-Amateurs. He played on four victorious Walker Cup teams for the United States, including 1985, when his victory clinched the Cup for the USA.
John Marchetti, 55, of Tarrytown, N.Y., spends a lot of time at Elmwood Country Club, but not playing golf. He has been the tennis pro at the club for 30 years. He forgot his putter when he went to sectional qualifying for the Senior Amateur and rented one from the pro shop.
Thomas Mattox, 66, of Kingwood, Texas, hasn’t spent many years playing competitive golf – he started after he turned 50. He’s been successful since, qualifying for match play at the Senior Am in five of the previous seven times he qualified. However, 2002 will be his last appearance – he intends to retire from competitive golf to devote more time to volunteer work, including giving back to the game of golf.
Rob Nagy, 59, and Gene Ryzewicz, 56, both of Westport, Conn., and members of Connecticut Golf Club, both earned medalist honors in qualifying for this championship – Nagy at Monroe (N.Y.), and Ryzewicz at Midway (Utah) while on a business trip.
Fred Peel, 55, of Chipley, Fla., survived an 8-for-5 playoff in sectional qualifying but he’s used to tough challenges – he’s serving his sixth four-year term as elected Sheriff of Washington County (Fla.).
Bill Ploeger, 62, of Columbus, Ga., is a familiar face in USGA Senior Amateur finals – he won the 1999 championship and was runner-up a year ago. He’s a member of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
Rick Radder, 58, of Edina, Minn., is an airline pilot for Northwest Airlines. Between flights, he’s managed to find time to win four club championships at Hazeltine National (Minn.) G.C.
Bruce Richards, 59, of Bellevue, Wash., is a first-year member of the USGA Executive Committee. He made it into the championship when he won a playoff in sectional qualifying with a par on the first hole.
Kemp Richardson, 56, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., pulled off a feat that only one other man – Bill Shean Jr. – has ever accomplished – winning the USGA Senior Amateur and British Senior Amateur in the same year. His father, John, also won the USGA Senior Amateur, and they are the only father-son tandem in history to both capture USGA championships.
Mike Riley, 57, of San Diego, Calif., has enjoyed success on the links and is playing in his sixth USGA event this week. His son, PGA Tour player Chris Riley, has had a pretty good year as well – finishing third in this year’s PGA Championship and a week later winning his first PGA Tour event, the Reno Tahoe Open.
Mikel Rollyson, 56, of Boca Grande, Fla., was a relative newcomer to golf – not taking his first lesson until age 40 – but was a successful athlete at the University of Florida, playing both basketball and baseball in the 1960’s.
Fred Rowland, 63, of Leawood, Kan., is the reigning Canadian Senior Amateur Match Play champion. He was a USGA Senior Amateur semifinalist in 1996.
Michael Sanger, 59, of Hydes, Md., has qualified for three of the last four USGA Senior Amateurs, as has his wife, Tinker. Last year, both Michael and Tinger advanced to match play in their respective championships and lost in the first round by a 4-and-3 margin.
Ken Schweitzer, 59, of Colorado Springs, Colo., is playing in his first USGA event here, but he spent several years organizing athletic activities for others – as Athletic Director for the Air Force Academy from 1990-96. He was an officer in the Air Force for 30 years.
Most people might take a little break after playing in a national championship, but not David Sergeant, 57, of Ft. Dodge, Iowa – he’ll be running in a marathon on October 6th with his wife Sue.
Bill Shean Jr., of Hinsdale, Ill., was the first man ever to hold the USGA Senior Amateur and British Senior Amateur titles at the same time. He is a two-time winner of the USGA Senior Am, and is back after missing last year’s championship due to back surgery. In 1999, he won the British Senior Amateur when he chipped in on the final hole to tie for first, and went on to win on the fourth sudden death hole.
At age 63, Clark Yates of Pineville, La., is playing in his first USGA championship. He was a high school teacher, coach and principal for 35 years, and played football, basketball, baseball and track over the years. He started playing golf at age 36.