USGA Senior Amateur History

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2003

Kemp Richardson, 57, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., became the 13th player to win the USGA Senior Amateur Championship twice, with a victory in 19 holes over Frank Abbott, 60, of Napa, Calif, at The Virginian Golf Club in Bristol, Va.

"It's kind of bittersweet because I really didn't play well," said Richardson, who also won in 2001. "I was fortunate enough to win. The game looked tired. It worked, but it didn't work."

Richardson, who was 2 down with three holes to play, did find his game enough to win holes 16 and 18 to square the championship match and send it to extra holes for the first time since 1989.

On the 16th, Abbott, a consulting company president, three-putted from nearly 40 feet and lost the hole with a bogey. Richardson, the longer hitter, then reached the 530-yard, par -5 18th in two shots and two-putted for a birdie to win the hole.

"I hit both those shots as good as I'm going to hit them," said Richardson, whose father, John, won the championship in 1987. "1 knew I'd better get a birdie. I couldn't leave it to him to make a six."

Richardson, a two-time low amateur at U.S. Senior Open and the 2001 British Senior Amateur champion, until the final, had not played past the 16th hole in winning his first five matches.

On the 19th hole, which was The Virginian's par-3, 195-yard 15th, Richardson hit to within 30 feet of the hole. Abbott's tee shot settled in the greenside rough.

Abbott, who finished was a quarterfinalist at the Canadian Seniors Match Play and was fourth at the 2003 California Senior Amateur, was in a difficult lie and pitched 45 feet past the hole. Richardson, meanwhile putted close enough for Abbott to concede his short par putt and the hole

In a match in which both players missed short putts, Richardson, a stockbroker, said: "If I could have putted any good, I could have taken over. When I needed to two-putt, I couldn't two-putt. I really putted the worst (Thursday) that I putted the whole time. I couldn't get it in the hole."

Abbott, who was playing in his second Senior Amateur, admitted that his miss on the 16th was critical. "In hindsight, if I make the putt on 16, the three footer, it's over," he said. "I would have been 2-up with two to play. He wasn't going to win 17 because I played 17 well all week."

In the semifinals, Richardson defeated Roy Smethurst, 61, of England, 3 and 2, and Abbott beat David Boesel, 55, of Winter Park, Fla., 2 and 1.