Fischer Rides Wild Wave to Win
by Pete Kowalski
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).
Next, 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.
Then, Fischer was playing with a borrowed driver that had he a tendency to hook.
And, Fischer then fell 6-down to Stewart after nine holes but then won four consecutive holes and later three consecutive holes to complete a remarkable comeback for a victory in 19 holes.
"I was bleeding and he was bleeding late,” Fischer said. “I tried to keep playing hard and didn’t quit.”
After birdieing 10, Fischer won the next three holds to reduce his deficit to 2-down standing on the 14th tee. Fischer then 3-putted the 14th to go 3-down. Stewart, unfortunately, then bogeyed 15 and 16 and Fischer birdied the 17th and the match stood at all square on the 18th tee.
"Early, I was hitting things left with that driver,” Fischer said. “I finally worked it out where I could hit cut shots with it. But, I was hitting it left and left and left.”
Fischer and Stewart both missed birdie opportunities on the 18th and halved the hole with par and headed to the first tee for extra holes.
"The key was on 13 when I hit the ball right of the hazard but I still won the hole,” Fischer said. “Then I said, ‘Hey, wilder things have happened.”
Fischer, who made a hole in one in the quarterfinals of the 1999 Senior Amateur to square his match only to lose in 22 holes, then steadied in a par putt on the 19th hole after another Stewart bogey to close out the match and the extraordinary comeback.
"It was wild,” Fischer said. “I’ve never been 6-down any time, anywhere. At one point I was thinking: ‘What’s the worst you can get beat? I’m thinking 8 and 7. That was wild.”
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.