First Round Notebook
The bottom quadrant of the lower half of the match play bracket included four USGA Champions and last year’s medalist and a two-time medalist making it perhaps the strongest of the four. That group is: Mark Bemowski (2004 Senior Amateur), Kemp Richardson (2001 and 2003 Senior Amateur), Greg Reynolds (2002 Senior Amateur) and Danny Yates (1992 U.S. Mid-Amateur), Ron Vannelli, the medalist in 2004 at Bel-Air C.C., and 1992 and 1994 medalist and 1992 runner-up Bob Hullender. All advanced to the second round except Hullender, who was beaten by Reynolds. But, Reynolds, who has played Bemowski in two Senior Amateur finals (2002 and 2004) said: “I’m not going to be my re-match. I wanted a rubber match.” Bemowski countered: “Well, you’ve got to play them sometime right. It’s funny how that works.”
A STATE OF MIND
Roy Vomastek of Marion, Mich., was the oldest of the match play qualifers at age 73. He had qualified for the Senior Amateur last year at age 72 by shooting 72 and shot 73 in his qualifier in 2005. His first-round match went 19 holes before Vomastek lost to the ‘youngster’ 65-year-old Jack Vardaman of Washington, D.C. Vardaman needed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the hole and square the match. He followed with a birdie on the 19th to close out Vomastek.
STRETCH ‘EM OUT
Seven matches in the first round went extra holes and put this year’s championship in the running for the most extra-hole matches during the week. That record is shared by the 1992 and 2001 championships with 11 extra-hole matches.
HOME BRED SUCCESS
Of the seven qualifiers from the August 22 Senior Amateur qualifying at The Farm, six advanced to match play: Spencer Sappington of Alpharetta, Ga., Ken Benson of Alpharetta, Ga., Jim Brown of Loudon, Tenn., Al Everett of Cumming, Ga., Bob Hullender, San Antonio, Texas, and A.B. Sisco of Pensacola, Fla. Sappington, Benson, Brown advanced to the second round.
MORE HOME GROWN
Three Georgians, of the five who qualified for match play, advanced to the second round: Ken Benson and Spencer Sappington of Alpharetta and Danny Yates of Atlanta. Benson’s victory (2 and 1) came over Jules Victor III of Savannah, Ga. Al Everett of Cumming was the fifth Georgian but he was defeated by Rick Ten Broeck of Chicago, Ill., 2 up.
CHAMPIONS LOVE MATCH PLAY
The past champions really get started when it comes to match play. Here’s a capsule of what the three past USGA Senior Amateur champions have accomplished in match play:
Kemp Richardson of Laguna Nigel, Calif., who won the 2001 and 2003 titles, upped his match play mark to 15-2 with a 4-and-3 victory over A.B. Sisco of Pensacola, Fla.; Greg Reynolds of Grand Blanc, Mich, the 2002 champion, now has a 12-2 match play record with his 4-and-3 win over Bob Hullender of San Antonio, Texas; Mark Bemowski of Mukwonago, Wis., the defending champion, owns a 16-3 match play mark thanks to his 3-and-2 win over Frank Saxon of Clearwater, Fla.
FIVE USGA CHAMPIONS ADVANCE
In addition to the victories of the three past Senior Amateur champions, 1991 U.S. Amateur champion Mitch Voges of Simi Valley, Calif., and 1992 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Danny Yates of Atlanta, Ga., also advanced to the second round.
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.