Co-Medalist Leoard Advances, Semifinalists Set

Newburgh, Ind. – Co-medalist Bill Leonard, 57, of Kennesaw, Ga., was one of four players to win two matches Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the 2006 USGA Senior Amateur at Victoria National Golf Club.

Leonard defeated 2004 Senior Amateur champion Mark Bemowski of Mukwonago, Wis., 3 and 2, in the third round and then David Rasley, 58, of Bethesda, Md., 1 up, in the quarterfinals.

Co-medalist Bill Leonard won two matches Wednesday to advance to the semifinals at Victoria National Golf Club. (Robert Walker/USGA)

The golf retail store manager from near Atlanta faces Tom McGraw, 55, of Montgomery, Texas, in the first of two semifinal matches Thursday morning.

In the other semifinal, Mike Bell, 59, of Indianapolis, Ind., who beat co-medalist Paul Simson in the third round, faces Sam Farlow, 59, of Birmingham, Ala. Both players were alternates into the field.

Leonard won the first seven holes of his match with Bemowski, a three-time finalist, and never trailed in his victory.  Leonard was the equivalent of 5-under-par in taking his 7-up lead.

"I did play very solid the first eight holes,” Leonard said of that match. “I hadn’t made any putts until (Wednesday). When you are playing someone with Mark’s record you just want to compete and stay in the game and that’s what I did.”

Leonard is vying to become the first medalist to win since 1987.

The other medalist, Simson is the 2006 British Senior Amateur champion and a veteran of nearly 40 USGA events.  Bell double-bogeyed his first hole against Simson, However, he rebounded quickly, winning the next five holes, including birdies on the 2nd and 4th for a 4-up lead through eight holes.

“I wasn’t afraid to compete against Paul,” said Bell, who won the 2006 Senior Porter Cup. “I was shocked that he made some bogeys because in my mind he wasn’t going to. The birdies after that horrendous start, gave me confidence.”

Bell received his place in the field when Jerry Jackson of Kokomo, Ind., withdrew.

"I’m an alternate and all of a sudden I’m in the final four,” Bell said. “And, it’s fairy tale time for me.”

Tom McGraw is playing in the semifinals in his first USGA Senior Amateur. (Robert Walker/USGA)

McGraw, who has played in more than 10 USGA championships but is still working full-time as a commercial banker, felt the pressure in his two matches. One of them was a win over Bob Mielcarz of Concord, N..H., a two-time quarterfinalist.

“It was eight hours of tension out there,” McGraw said. “I felt like someone was shooting at me. It wasn’t ‘ha-ha’ fun.”

Farlow, who was a quarterfinalist in 2003, scratched out 19-hole victory over David Strawn of Charlotte, N.C., in the morning before defeating Eric Myrmo of Eugene, Ore., 4 and 2, in the afternoon.

"I feel wonderful,” said Farlow, who beat a young Jeff Maggert en route to the quarterfinals of the 1985 U.S. Amateur. “But, I am a little tired. That is a lot of golf. I’m afraid I’m going to wake up and I’m going to be leaving the next day for the tournament.”

Semifinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. Quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2007 USGA Senior Amateur at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan.

Match play continues with the semifinal and championship rounds on Thursday, which begin at 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. CDT, respectively.

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

Story written by Pete Kowalski of USGA Media Relations. E-mail him with questions and comments at

Results for Wednesday’s third and quarterfinals rounds of match play at the 2006 USGA Senior Amateur, conducted by the United States Golf Association, at Victoria National Golf Club (6,760 and 6,766 yards, par 72):

Third Round

Upper Half

Bill Leonard, Kennesaw, Ga.  (143) def. Mark Bemowski, Mukwonago, Wis.  (150), 3 and 2

David Rasley, Bethesda, Md.  (148) def. Tracy Scott, Bismarck, N.D.  (155), 1 up

Robert Mielcarz, Concord, N.H.  (146) def. Kenneth Forster, Salem, Ore.  (155), 5 and 4

Tom McGraw, Montgomery, Texas  (156) def. Gary Vanier, Pleasant Hill, Calif.  (149), 3 and 1

Sam Farlow has made his deepest penetration into the match play field at USGA championship, after two previous quarterfinal visits. (Robert Walker/USGA)

Lower Half

Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C.  (143) def. Rick Woulfe, Ft.Lauderdale, Fla.  (149), 3 and 2

Mike Bell, Indianapolis, Ind.  (148) def. Paul Schlachter, Pittsburgh, Pa.  (148), 4 and 3

Sam Farlow, Birmingham, Ala.  (146) def. David Strawn, Charlotte, N.C.  (150), 19 holes

Erik Myrmo, Eugene, Ore.  (153) def. Jerry Greenbaum, Atlanta, Ga.  (151). 6 and 4

Quarterfinal Round

Upper Half

Leonard def. Rasley, 1 up

McGraw def. Mielcarz, 4 and 3

Lower Half

Bell def. Simson, 4 and 3

Farlow def. Myrmo, 4 and 2

Pairings for Thursday’s semifinal round of match play at the 2006 USGA Senior Amateur, conducted by the United States Golf Association, at Victoria National Golf Club (6,760 and 6,766 yards, par 72): all times CDT.

7:30 a.m. -- Bill Leonard, Kennesaw, Ga.  (143) vs. Tom McGraw, Montgomery, Texas  (156)

7:45 a.m. -- Mike Bell, Indianapolis, Ind.  (148) vs.  Sam Farlow, Birmingham, Ala.  (146)



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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