|Mike Rice of Houston, Texas, holds the Frederick L. Dold Trophy as the 2005 USGA Senior Amateur champion. He defeated defending champion Mark Bemowski, 1 up at The Farm. (Mannie Garcia/USGA)
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Rice Defeats Defending Champion Bemowski, 1 Up
Rocky Face, Ga. – Despite an injured shoulder, Mike Rice, 65, of Houston, Texas, became the oldest winner in 18 years and thwarted the title defense hopes of Mark Bemowski of Mukwonago, Wis., with a 1-up victory Thursday in the final of the 2005 USGA Senior Amateur Championship at the Farm Golf Club.
“It's a great feeling to win a tournament like this,” said Rice, a retired insurance executive who played the last nine holes in 2-under-par. “It's just phenomenal. All of a sudden you get the one opportunity, and you hurt yourself, but you end up being able to do it anyhow. It's just a great experience.”
Rice’s win made him the first Texan to win since Robert Rawlins of Dallas took the title in 1984 and oldest champion since John Richardson, who was 66 when he won in 1987.
Rice, who injured his left shoulder hitting off hardpan in the quarterfinal round Wednesday was treated by a local doctor that evening. “He was up a lot last night, watching himself on The Golf Channel,” said his wife, Becky.
An Interview with Champion Mike Rice
Meet The Quarterfinalists -- Bios and Photos
Fischer Rides Wild Wave To Win
Rocky Face, Ga. – Wild and crazy ushered in match play at the 2005 USGA Senior Amateur.
First of all, Stan Fischer, 65, of Richmond, Va., and Karl Stewart, 61, of Chino Hills, Calif., were playing together for the third day in row after playing together in stroke play and shooting the same score (148).
Then they played the first match of the day because the No.1 vs. No. 64 match wasn’t decided until the 4-for-3 playoff was over on Monday morning....
Storylines: Angles, Features, Notes on the Field
USGA Senior Amateur Championship
PAR AND YARDAGE – The Farm Golf Club will be set up at 6,737/6,763 and par is 36-36—72.
COURSE SET-UP –
Teeing ground - Height of grass -- 425 inches
Fairways – Height of grass -- .450 inches
Green approaches and closely mown areas – Height of grass -- .425 inches
Collars around greens – Height of grass -- .230 inches
Intermediate rough – USGA asked for addition of intermediate rough that will be cut to 1 ½ inches and 6-feet wide
Primary rough – 2 ½ inches
Putting greens – USGA Stimpmeter reading of 11 feet
VENUE – The Farm Golf Club was designed by Tom Fazio and opened in 1988. Located between Atlanta and Chattanooga in northwest Georgia, The Farm benefits from significant elevation changes, which provide a scenic and difficult test of golf.
HISTORY – The USGA Senior Amateur Championship was first played in 1955. The 2005 Senior Amateur Championship will be the 51st.
SCHEDULE – Stroke play rounds will be played Sept. 17-18 (Saturday-Sunday). Following two days of stroke play, the field of 157 golfers will be reduced to the lowest 64 scorers, who will advance to match play. The match play portion of the Championship runs from September 19-22 (Monday-Thursday). The first round is set for Sept. 19 (9:30 a.m. start); the second and third rounds for Sept. 20 (8:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. starts) and the quarterfinals and semifinals (8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. starts) for Sept. 21. The 18-hole, match-play final (9 a.m.) is scheduled for Sept. 22.
CAN I PLAY? – The USGA Senior Amateur Championship is open to amateurs who will have reached their 55th birthday on or before Sept. 17, 2005, and who have a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 7.4.
ENTRIES – The USGA accepted a record 2,498 entries for the 2005 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, the fifth consecutive year entries topped 2,200. The previous record of 2,420 entries was set in 2004. The deadline for entries was July 27.
TICKETS – Admission and parking are free for all six days of the championship.
DEFENDING CHAMPION – In the finals of the 2004 championship, Mark Bemowski of Mukwonago, Wis., reversed the outcome of the 2002 by defeating Greg Reynolds, 4 and 3, at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. In 2002, Reynolds had beaten Bemowski by the same margin.