Past Champion Reynolds, 4 Others Share Mid-Day Lead
Rocky Face, Ga. – Greg Reynolds of Grand Blanc, Mich., the 2002 champion, was among a group of five players who posted 2-under-par scores of 70 to top the leader board halfway through the first day of stroke play at the 2005 USGA Senior Amateur Championship at The Farm Golf Club.
Reynolds, 58, who was tied for low amateur at the 2005 Senior Open and advanced to match play at last week’s U.S. Mid-Amateur, registered five birdies and three bogeys. He 3-putted three times.
Alan Foster of Manlius, N.Y., the 2005 British Senior Amateur champion, Ernie Newton of High Point, N.C., Marty West of Rockville, Md., and Jules Victor III of Savannah, Ga., all tied with Reynolds at the 6,737-yard, par-72 layout in northwest Georgia.
“It makes it a lot easier,” said Reynolds of playing well on the first day of qualifying for match play. “I did just the opposite in the Mid-Am. You are struggling trying to come back from being over par. It’s important to get that first one in while the conditions are such that you can score.”
Foster, 62, a semifinalist in 2004, and Victor were perhaps the most consistent of the leaders, making two birdies with no bogeys.
“You just try to make the cut and see what happens,” Foster said. “The only good thing about the 70 is that I can probably shoot 80 tomorrow. I played very well. I hit my irons great. I don’t think I can hit them better.”
West, 57, a two-time USA Walker Cup team member and a 2004 quarterfinalist, eagled the par-5 15th to gain some momentum but was reluctant to become greedy.
“That got the momentum going and the I parred through until the birdie on 9,” said West. “I don’t think there’s anybody who cares about being medalist. I was fortunate to play the medalist last year (Ron Vannelli) and I got lucky and got by him. If you are the medalist, you’ve got a mark on your chest.”
Newton, 57, who caddied for his daughter Marcy when she won the 2000 Women’s Amateur, logged four birdies and two bogeys.
Defending champion Mark Bemowski of Mukwonago, Wis., was in a group of four one stroke behind at 71. However, the two-time finalist was satisfied with this position.
“The first round is so important,” Bemowski said. “You just cruise right through, get some practice and go again. I feel good.”
Nine players posted sub-par scores from the morning wave. Among the players in the afternoon wave were two-time Senior Amateur champion Kemp Richardson of Laguna Nigel, Calif., 1972 U.S. Amateur champion Vinny Giles of Richmond, Va., 1991 U.S. Amateur champion Mitch Voges of Simi Valley, Calif., and 1992 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Danny Yates of Atlanta, Ga.
USA Walker Cup captain Bob Lewis injured his wrist on the first hole but played nine holes in 8-over-par before withdrawing.
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 –
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.