USGA Senior Amateur News

Storylines From The 2004 USGA Senior Amateur

 

The average age of the players in the 2004 USGA Senior amateur field is 58.5.

 

There are 80 contestants in the field who are playing in their first USGA Senior Amateur, and 43 of those are playing in their first-ever USGA championship.

 

The oldest player in this year's Senior Amateur is Dr. Roy Vomastek, 72, of Marion, Mich. Vomastek, who shot his age in his sectional qualifier, is seven months older than Jim McMurtrey of Fair Oaks, Calif., who is playing in his 12th Senior Amateur.

 

This year's youngest-in-the-field honors go to Mike Hale of Pine Bluff, Ark., who turned 55 on Sept. 20th.

 

Two players in the field could give themselves a nice birthday present should they advance to the championship final on Oct. 14th. Edward Craig of Orlando, Fla., will turn 62 that day while Ted Smith of Wilkinson, Ind., will turn 59.

 

There are four USGA Senior Amateur champions in the field, led by defending champion Kemp Richardson, 58, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., who also won the 2001 championship. Other past champions are: Bill Ploeger, 64, of Columbus, Ga. (1999); Greg Reynolds, 57, of Grand Blanc, Mich. (2002); and Bill Shean Jr., 61, of Hinsdale, Ill. (1998, 2000).

 

There is one other USGA champion in the field - 1972 U.S. Amateur winner Vinny Giles, 61, of Richmond, Va. He played on four Walker Cup teams (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975) and was captain of the USA's 1993 squad. He also played on three World Amateur Teams (1968, 1970, 1972) and captained the 1992 squad. He was low amateur at the 1973 U.S. Open and has earned low-amateur honors at the Senior Open three times.

 

Giles is one of two players in this week's field who also played in the 1976 U.S. Amateur at Bel-Air Country Club. The other is Carey Schulten, 69, of Dallas, Texas, who made it into this week's field as an alternate.

 

Bob Lewis Jr., 60, of Pepper Pike, Ohio, has also played on several international teams for the USA. Lewis, the 1980 U.S. Amateur runner-up and two-time Mid-Amateur runner-up (1981, 1984), is a four-time Walker Cupper (1981, 1983, 1985, 1987) who served as captain of the 2003 USA Walker Cup squad, which he will do again for the 2005 Match. Lewis was also a member of the USA team at the 1982 and 1986 World Team Championships.

 

There is another Walker Cupper in the field - Marty West, 56, of Rockville, Md., who played on the 1973 and 1979 USA teams. West also represented the USA at the 1972 World Amateur Team Championship.

 

In addition to those who have represented the USA in international competition, there are two contestants in the 2004 USGA Senior Amateur who have played for other countries. Luis Gonzalez, 62, played for Puerto Rico at the 1992 World Amateur Team event. Later this month, he will serve as captain of the Puerto Rico team in the 2004 World Amateur Team Championship.

 

Roberto Duran, 58, represented Panama at the 2002 World Amateur Team Championships along with his sons, Ernesto and Roberto Jr.

 

This is the fourth USGA championship in 2004 for Frank Abbott, 61, of Napa, Calif. Abbott, the 2003 USGA Senior Amateur runner-up, has also played in the Senior Open, the Amateur, and the Mid-Amateur.

 

Doug Baker, 55, of Incline Village, N.Y., was a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force for six years - from 1970 to 1976.

 

Tom Bergeron, 55, of Gill, Mass., has been a railroad conductor for 35 years.

 

Gene Bingman, 58, of Wadsworth, Ohio, helped develop a system to keep the crew of the MIAI battle tank safe. He also worked on the redesign of the space shuttle.

 

Steve Bogan, 56, of Placentia, Calif., who played on the PGA Tour in the early 1970s, is playing in his first Senior Amateur but his fourth USGA championship, joining the 1965 U.S. Junior Amateur, the 1973 U.S. Open and the 1985 U.S. Mid-Amateur. His late father Pete won the 1952 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

 

Jerry Cundari, 64, of Portland, Ore., is playing in his 10 th USGA event. Thirty-four years ago, he played in the 1960 U.S. Amateur while on crutches.

 

Jim Dines, 56, of Los Lunas, N.M., is a lawyer who has represented the news media for 25 years. Dines was co-counsel in successfully defending the state's largest newspaper in the longest civil jury trial of a libel case.

 

In his 20th attempt to qualify for a USGA championship, Arnold Edwards, 58, of Charlotte, N.C., finally did so - this year's Senior Amateur - but it wasn't easy. He bogeyed the last hole in his sectional qualifier at Sapona Country Club in Lexington, N.C., and wound up in a 7-for-1 playoff, where he birdied the first hole to qualify.

 

Bob Fisher, 63, of Boynton Beach, Fla., is a retired Delta pilot. He was a United States Air Force fighter pilot who received a Silver Star while serving in Vietnam.

 

Edward Fletcher, 63, of Mashpee, Mass., is a retired postmaster with the U.S. Postal Service. He gave up golf when he was 28 years old and didn't pick it back up for 15 years. He has won 10 Massachusetts state titles since turning 53, including the 1995 Massachusetts State Amateur at age 53, making him the oldest to ever win the title.

 

Jamie Gough, 60, of Fairfax, Va., is a retired Air Force pilot. He was shot down in Laos in 1968.

 

Tom Hadley, 68, of Hendersonville, N.C., is playing in his eighth Senior Amateur and 16th USGA event. He made his first appearance 53 years ago, at the 1951 U.S. Junior Amateur.

 

Gary Hardin, 56, of Fort Worth, Texas, proudly states that his wife, Mina, has a lower handicap than he does. She was the 2001 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur runner-up.

 

David Houghton, 60, of Orleans, Mass., was in the U.S. Navy for 25 years. During that time, he played golf in 25 countries and territories.

 

Joseph Keller, 55, of Osterville, Mass., owns a public golf course on Cape Cod.

 

Jerry Kidney, 56, of Littleton, Colo., is a member of the Denver Fire Department.

 

Curt Madson, 63, of Mount Dora, Fla., was offered a $15,000 signing bonus by the Cleveland Indians in 1959.

 

Joe Malay, 56, of Weiser, Idaho, has served as his community's Santa Claus for 32 years. In 1986, he was named the Golf Nut of the Year, for chartering a plane to go 50 miles to get to a golf tournament.

 

Ernie Newton, 56, of High Point, N.C., waited 56 years to play in a USGA championship, and now he's playing in two within two weeks. He just competed at the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. He caddied for his daughter, Marcy, when she won the 2000 U.S. Women's Amateur.

 

Cannon Randall, 57, of Mesa, Ariz., has tried to qualify for numerous USGA events over the years, including U.S. Opens, Mid-Amateurs and Senior Opens, without success until this year's Senior Amateur, when he overcame four penalty strokes in his sectional qualifier to advance to the championship.

 

Greg Reynolds of Grand Blanc, Mich., the 2002 USGA Senior Amateur winner, has been to Bel-Air Country Club before. Twenty years ago he played with a group that included actors James Garner and Mac Davis. On the first tee, Reynolds hit a 400-yard drive with Ken Venturi, Ben Crenshaw and Jerry Pate, among others, watching.

 

Bruce Richards, 61, of Bellevue, Wash., is a member of the USGA Executive Committee. He was a quarterfinalist at the 2003 Senior Amateur. In addition, there are two past USGA Executive Committee members in the field - Merton Goode, 56, of San Francisco, Calif., and Jack Vardaman, 64, of Washington, D.C.

While Michael Rose, 57, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., is teeing it up in his first USGA Senior Amateur, his sister, Bonnie George, is playing in the USGA Senior Women's Amateur, being held this week at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif.

 

Brian Sachs, 62, of Newberry, Fla., occasionally caddies for professional golfer Jeff Hart, including a 2000 Buy.com Tour victory.

 

Joe Schmidt, 58, of McHenry, Ill., is principal at St. Patrick High School, an all-male school of 1,000 students.

 

Dr. James Smith, 55, of Orchard Peak, climbed to just below base camp at Mount Everest with his daughter, Heather, as her graduation present from Duke University.

 

Norman Swenson, 57, of Linville, N.C., was playing at Augusta National Golf Club with his daughter Perry (who plays collegiately at the University of Texas) when she made a hole in one.

 

Stephen Yavorsky, 55, of Capistrano Beach, Calif., is a former nationally ranked marathon runner and triathlete. He has competed in the Boston Marathon and the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon, where he finished 19th.