USGA Senior Amateur News

Vardaman Eliminates Defending Champ

At 2004 USGA Senior Amateur

 

Los Angeles, Calif. - Jack Vardaman, 64, of Washington, D.C., ended defending champion Kemp Richardson's quest to repeat during Wednesday's third round at the 2004 USGA Senior Amateur, being conducted at the par-70, 6,491-yard Bel-Air Country Club.

 

Vardaman took the lead immediately against Richardson, winning the par-5 first hole when Richardson bogeyed. Vardaman built the lead to 4 up at the par-3 10th hole after another Richardson bogey, and closed out the match for a 4-and-3 victory when the two traded pars on the 15th hole.

 

Despite holding the lead throughout the entire match, Vardaman said he never felt completely in control.

 

2002 Senior Amateur champion Greg Reynolds putts during his third-round victory Wednesday. (Sam Greenwood/USGA)

"After I made a birdie at 12, I was 4 up with six to play and I figured all I had to do was to par out," Vardaman said. "But Kemp is such a good player, you just never know. Everybody has won matches when they were way down, and they have lost matches when they were way up. It's a mistake to feel like you're too much in control."

 

With the usual match-play concessions, Vardaman was the equivalent of two under par, with four birdies, while Richardson was two over par.

 

"I was very lucky to play well, and Kemp didn't play his best," said Vardaman. "But it is very satisfying."

 

Richardson, 58, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., who also won the 2001 USGA Senior Amateur, was trying to become just the second person in the championship's 50-year history to win a third Senior Amateur. Lewis Oehmig, with wins in 1972, 1976, and 1985, remains the only golfer to win three.

 

Vardaman will face another past champion in the quarterfinals - 2002 Senior Amateur winner Greg Reynolds, 57, of Grand Blanc, Mich.

 

"Tomorrow is going to be another tough match," said Vardaman, a past member of the USGA Executive Committee. "It's just like today - you just got to play your best and hope that's good enough. That's all you can do. You can't control the way your opponent plays. I'm sure I'm the underdog, but I feel like if I go and play the way I did today, I have an excellent chance."

 

Reynolds won the first five holes against Steven Hakes of San Francisco and never trailed en route to a 7-and-6 victory. In his first three matches, Reynolds has yet to play past the 15th hole.

 

"I'm just trying to what my normal ability is, and hope that's good enough," said Reynolds. "You never can tell - there's got to be a little bit of luck in the match play. If your opponent doesn't play so well, then you don't have to play quite so well to win, but sometimes you get somebody that gets on a roll and making a bunch of birdies and then you've got to really play hard."

 

The runner-up from the 2002 championship, Mark Bemowski, 58, of Mukwonago, Wis., also advanced, with a 4-and-2 victory over Tony Lehman of Santa Barbara, Calif. Bemowski will face two-time USA Walker Cupper Marty West in Wednesday's quarterfinals. West, 56, of Rockville, Md., moved on with a 2-and-1 victory over Edward Fletcher of Mashpee, Mass.

 

Other third-round winners were Ted Lyford, 60, of Redlands, Calif., Alan Foster, 61, of Manilus, N.Y., Greg Shaw, 55, of Little Rock, Ark., and Michael Walters, 56, of Tampa, Fla.

 

Earlier in the day, stroke-play medalist Ronald Vannelli, 58, of Edison, N.J., was ousted by West in the second round, 3 and 1. Vannelli was trying to become the first stroke-play medalist to win the title since Richardson's late father, John, did so in 1987. Vannelli took a brief lead when West bogeyed the second hole, but West won the fourth and fifth holes with pars and never trailed again en route to a 3-and-1 victory.

 

"You can't play bad and keep winning in this world," said Vannelli, who had four bogeys and one birdie in the match. "You have to play solid."

 

The championship continues with the quarterfinal and semifinal matches Wednesday. The 18-hole championship final will be held Thursday.

The USGA Senior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

 

Story written by Beth Murrison of USGA media relations.   You can reach her at bmurrison@usga.org.

 

Los Angeles, Calif. - Results from the Tuesday's second and third rounds of match play at the 2004 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, being conducted at the par-70, 6,491-yard Bel-Air Country Club.

 

Round of 32

Upper Bracket

Martin West, Rockville, Md. (152) def. Ronald Vannelli, Edison, N.J. (144), 3 and 1

Edward Fletcher, Mashpee, Mass. (150) def. Roger Gunderson, Aurora, Colo. (154), 3 and 2

Tony Lehman, Santa Barbara, Calif. (153) def. David Boesel, Winter Park, Fla. (149), 4 and 3

Mark Bemowski, Mukwonago, Wis. (149) def. Spencer Sappington, Alpharetta, Ga. (151), 3 and 1

Stephen Yavorsky, Capistrano Beach, Calif. (152) def. Timothy Miller, Kokomo, Ind. (155), 3 and 2

Ted Lyford, Redlands, Calif. (154) def. Chip Stewart, Dallas, Texas (149), 1 up

Alan Foster, Manlius, N.Y. (153) def. Roy Smethurst, England (155), 3 and 2

Kent Christopher, Farmington, Utah (149) def. Gregory Scurlock, Augusta, Ga. (154), 3 and 2

 

Lower Bracket

Ernie Newton, High Point, N.C. (145) def. Jim Ruschioni, Leominster, Mass. (152), 3 and 2

Greg Shaw, Little Rock, Ark. (155) def. Rick Weihe, Bellingham, Wash. (151), 3 and 2

Alex Tarumianz, Lookout Mountain, Tenn. (155) def. Joseph Keller, Osterville, Mass. (153), 19 holes

Michael Walters, Tampa, Fla. (149) def. David Brookreson, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. (151), 3 and 2

Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (146) def. Van Salmans, Chicago, Ill. (152), 1 up

Jack Vardaman, Washington, D.C. (154) def. Joseph Cristillo, Crystal River, Fla. (155), 3 and 2

Steven Hakes, San Diego, Calif. (147) def. Steven Hoffman, Savannah, Ga. (151), 19 holes

Greg Reynolds, Grand Blanc, Mich. (151) def. Ronnie Tumlin, Saint Augustine, Fla. (149), 4 and 3

 

Round of 16

Upper Bracket

West def. Fletcher, 2 and 1

Bemowski def. Lehman, 4 and 2

Lyford def. Yavorsky, 1 up

Foster def. Christopher, 4 and 2

 

Lower Bracket

Shaw def. Newton, 5 and 3

Walters def. Tarumianz, 5 and 4

Vardaman def. Richardson, 4 and 3

Reynolds def. Hakes, 7 and 6

 

Los Angeles, Calif. - Pairings for Wednesday's quarterfinal round of match play at the 2004 USGA Senior Amateur Championship at the par-70, 6,491-yard Bel-Air Country Club.

 

Round of 8

Upper Bracket

8:00 a.m.    Martin West, Rockville, Md. (152) vs. Mark Bemowski, Mukwonago, Wis. (149)

8:10 a.m.    Ted Lyford, Redlands, Calif. (154) vs. Alan Foster, Manlius, N.Y. (153)

 

Lower Bracket

8:20 a.m.    Greg Shaw, Little Rock, Ark. (155) vs. Michael Walters, Tampa, Fla. (149)

8:30 a.m.    Jack Vardaman, Washington, D.C. (154) vs. Greg Reynolds, Grand Blanc, Mich. (151)