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.