Leonard Takes 'Clubhouse' Lead For Medalist Honors

Newburgh, Ind. -- Bill Leonard, 57, of Alpharetta, Ga., shot a 2-under-par 70 Sunday for a 36-hole total of 143 to take the ‘clubhouse’ lead for medalist honors at the 2006 USGA Senior Amateur at Victoria National Golf Club.

“The last couple of days, it’s been about the same thing, which is to take advantage of the short holes, the wedges in there,” Leonard said. “Most of my birdies have eight feet and in.”

A manager for a golf retail store, Leonard made five birdies and three bogeys over the challenging Tom Fazio layout in southern Indiana. It was just the fourth under-par score during stroke play.

Playing in his fifth USGA championship but first Senior Amateur, Leonard was unsuccessful in his attempt to qualify at Senior Tour School in 2000.  and had to remain a professional for one year and as a result is reinstated amateur. He never played professionally but has qualified for two Senior Opens.

Three past champions staked a safe claim on places in the match play field. The 2004 champion, Mark Bemowski, 60, of Mukwonago, Wis., shot 76 for 150; 2002 winner Greg Reynolds, 59, of Grand Blanc, Mich., shot 79 for 152; and defending champion Mike Rice, 66, of Houston, Texas, shot 74 for 153.

Two-time champion Kemp Richardson of Laguna Niguel, Calif., had an afternoon starting time.

At the end of the morning wave of play, the projected cut score was 157, 13-over-par.

The playoff for the final berths in match play will begin on Monday at 8:30 a.m. CDT on hole #10.

The low 64 scorers advance to match play, which begins Monday. All six rounds of match play are scheduled for 18 holes each, culminating with the final on Thursday.

For stroke play only, six tees were moved up a total of 167 yards because of heavy pre-championship rainfall.

The USGA Senior Amateur, for players 55 and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA.

NOTES: Eddie Bass, 55, of University Park, Fla., made the biggest turnaround in the morning group of scores, shooting a 1-under-par 71, 12 strokes better than his first-round 83…through the morning wave of scores, only four under-par scores had been recorded in two days…Mike Jonsen, 58, of Sammamish, Wash., scored a hole-in-one at the 195-yard, par-3 11th hole with a 3-iron…it was the 14th ace in the history of the championship and his first in competition…he has three holes-in-one in his career…”I tell my friends I have one every 27 years but now I have to re-do the average,”…Jonsen estimated the wind at MPH at the time of the shot...Jonsen’s father, Carl, now 90, was a member of the Seattle team that won the 1936 Amateur Public Links Team Championship at Bethpage State Park’s Blue course in Farmingdale, N.Y.



Championship Facts

USGA Senior Amateur Championship

PAR AND YARDAGE Victoria National Golf Club will be set up at 6,760/6,766 yards and par 36-3672.

Teeing ground Height of grass .30 inches
Fairways Height of grass .55 inches
Green approaches and closely mown areas Height of grass – .425 inches
Collars around greens Height of grass – .375 inches
Intermediate rough 1 inches and 6-feet wide
Primary rough 2-3 inches
Putting greens USGA Stimpmeter reading of 10.5 feet

The USGA championship setup results in a USGA Course Rating of 73.1 and a USGA Slope Rating® of 139.

VENUE Victoria National Golf Club, east of Evansville, Ind., was designed by Tom Fazio and opened in 1998. The course was the project of the late Terry Friedman, a well-known Indiana entrepreneur.

Victoria National, which has the feel of a links course due to large mounds and contoured fairways, was built around an existing surface coal mine. As a result, water-filled lakes serve as hazards on 15 of the 18 holes.

HISTORY The USGA Senior Amateur Championship was first played in 1955. The 2006 Senior Amateur Championship will be the 52nd.

SCHEDULE Stroke play rounds will be played Sept. 16-17 (Saturday-Sunday). Following two days of stroke play, the field of 156 golfers will be reduced to the lowest 64 scorers, who will advance to match play. The match play portion of the championship runs from Sept. 18-21 (Monday-Thursday). The first round is set for Sept. 18 (9:30 a.m. CDT start); the second and third rounds for Sept. 19 (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. 20. The 18-hole, match-play final (9 a.m.) is scheduled for Sept. 21.

TICKETS Admission and parking are free for all six days of the championship.


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