USGA Senior Amateur History

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Charles and Diana wed in royal splendor

First woman named to Supreme Court

1981

Dr. Edgar R. Updegraff, 59, of Tucson, Arizona, won the Senior Amateur Championship at the Seattle (Wash.) Golf Club. It was the first USGA title of his long and distinguished amateur career. Updegraff had won many of the game's top amateur events including the Western and Pacific Coast Amateurs.

He also was named to three U.S. Walker Cup teams and was non-playing captain of the 1975 team. In five previous Senior Amateur Championships, he had not gone past the semi-final round.

At Seattle, he dominated his early round opponents and met Dale Morey, a two-time Senior Amateur Champion, in the final. Updegraff defeated Morey in a memorable match, 2 and 1. Updegraff, one of five brothers who all became doctors of medicine, dominated the Championship from the outset. He started by winning medalist honors with a 36-hole score of l48, four over par.

He then won matches over Joseph Oppenheimer of Sun River, Oregon, 6 and 5; 1953 Amateur Public Links Champion Ted Richards of Los Angeles, 2 and 1; 1980 Senior Amateur semifinalist Ed Hopkins of Whitney, Texas, 6 and 4; and Roger McManus of Hartville, Ohio, 4 and 3.

Morey, a two-time Walker Cupper, was bidding to become the first three-time winner of the Senior Amateur. He had won in 1974 and 1977. Morey defeated Gregory Dikilato of Kaneohe, Hawaii, 3 and 1; 1981 Senior Open low amateur Glenn H. Johnson of Detroit, Michigan, 3 and 1, John Zoller, the Executive Director of the Northern California Golf Association in Pebble Beach, 2 and 1; and Richard E. Riley of Phoenix, Arizona, 1 up.

The Updegraff-Morey final produced quality golf. Updegraff made six birdies and Morey had three birdies of his own. The match was even through 15 holes. At the par 3 16th, Updegraff hit a long iron to within four feet of the hole, made the birdie putt and went 1 up for the first time in the match. The match ended on the 17th when Morey three-putted for a bogey.

The 1981 Championship ended the two-year reign of William C. Campbell of Huntington, West Virginia who had won the Senior Amateur in 1979 and 1980. He lost in the second round to Zoller on the 19th hole. The USGA received 952 entries, short of the record 1,023 in 1979. By mere coincidence, Updegraff will have a rare opportunity for a national champion to defend his home course when the Senior Amateur is played at the Tucson Country Club in 1982.