2006 USGA Senior Amateur, Sept. 16-21
Victoria National Golf Club, Newburgh, Ind.
USGA Champions – Five USGA champions, including four past Senior Amateur winners, are in the field. They are: defending champion Mike Rice, 66, of Houston, Texas; 2004 champion Mark Bemowski, 60, of Mukwonago, Wis.; 2001 and 2003 champion Kemp Richardson, 60, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., 2002 champion Greg Reynolds, 59, of Grand Blanc, Mich., and 1972 U.S. Amateur champion Vinny Giles, 66, of Richmond, Va.
Bemowski has played in three Senior Amateur finals – he won in 2004 and was runner-up in 2002 and 2005.
Reynolds was runner-up to Bemowski in 2004 and co-low amateur at the 2005 Senior Open.
Richardson was also the low amateur at the 1999 and 2000 Senior Opens.
Father of USGA champion – Bill Homeyer, 57, of Edina, Minn., can claim connections to two USGA champions, one of whom is his daughter. Hilary Lunke (nee Homeyer) won the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open and is Bill’s daughter. Homeyer’s business partner for many years was 1993 U.S. Amateur champion John Harris, who now plays on the PGA Champions Tour.
USGA connections continued: Gay Davis, 60, of Portland, Ore., was the general chairman of the 1996 U.S. Amateur, 2003 U.S. Women’s Open as well as the 2000 U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior, which were held simultaneously. In fact, he chaired or co-chaired six USGA championships all played at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., where he is a co-founder. An insurance man, he has also run nine marathons.
More USGA connections: Randy Reifers, 59, of Columbus, Ohio, was the low amateur at the 2006 U.S. Senior Open. His son, Kyle, plays on the Nationwide Tour and was a member of the victorious 2005 USA Walker Cup squad. He was also a quarterfinalist in 2005.
USA Walker Cuppers and World Amateur Teams – Marty West, 58, of Rockville, Md. (1973 and 1979) and Vinny Giles, 60, of Richmond, Va. (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975 and captain in 1993) represented their country in the Walker Cup Match. The two played on the same team in 1973 but were not playing partners in foursomes (alternate shot). This is the ninth Senior Amateur for Giles. West played in the 1972 World Amateur Team Championship with Giles, who also played in 1968 and 1970. The USA won in 1972 by five strokes over Australia. (NOTE: Viviano Villareal, 58, of Mexico, played in the 1988 World Amateur for his home country.)
Youngest and Oldest – Joe Robinson, 55, of Rock Hill, S.C., is the youngest player in the field. He turned 55 on Sept. 11. He is an OB-Gyn physician and is in his words “the only player in the field to deliver more than 8,000 babies.” Paul Ladin, 74, of Westlake Village, Calif., is the field's oldest player. He is playing in his fifth Senior Amateur and is the owner of a Lincoln-Mercury auto franchise.
Most Times in Senior Amateur – Vinny Giles (mentioned above) and Joel Hirsch, 65, of Chicago, Ill., are playing in their ninth Senior Amateurs, respectively.
Wally Adams, Jr., 55, of Vidalia, Calif., is playing in his first Senior Amateur and just his second USGA championship. His first was 29 years ago at the 1977 U.S. Amateur.
Eddie Bass, 55, of University Park, Fla., is playing in his first Senior Amateur and qualified for the 2005 U.S. Senior Open. Although he missed the cut, he sank a 50-foot putt on the 17th hole in front of a large gallery on the second day of play. The owner of a golf retail store, Bass is married to a former member of the Soviet Union's national and Olympic swimming team. His wife’s name is Galena.
Mike Bell, 59, of Indianapolis, Ind., is playing in his third Senior Amateur. He double bogeyed the last hole of qualifying and lost in a playoff. He entered the field as an alternate. In 2003, he had double by-pass heart surgery and three months later qualified for the Senior Open at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. He was an Evans Scholar recipient (1965).
Ken Benson, 62, of Alpharetta, Ga., is an ophthalmologist and is playing in his third Senior Amateur. He uses his study and work with the eye in practicing his hobby of wildlife photography. He once sat with mountain gorillas in Rwanda for a week to photograph them. In fact, he has won an international photography competition and one of his photos from the work in Rwanda was exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
David Boesel, 58, of Orlando, Fla., has been a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Amateur (1993), a semifinalist at the Senior Amateur (2003) and has played in three Senior Opens. A former Florida state high school golf coach of the year (2001), he is a financial advisor.
Bill Boles, 58, of Wilson, N.C., has qualified for five different USGA championships, the first being the 1966 Junior Amateur, where he advanced to the quarterfinals, losing to Tom Kite. A practicing dentist, he has played in five U.S. Amateurs, three Mid-Amateurs, one Senior Open and two Senior Amateurs. He is an amateur musician and plays trumpet in two symphonies, an 18-piece swing band, a wind ensemble, a brass ensemble….and he does solos at weddings and in church settings.
David Bosley, 56, of Payson, Calif., a reinstated amateur holds the PGA Tour record for most years between qualifying at Tour School (30). He qualified for the PGA Tour in 1970 and for the then-Senior PGA Tour (now called Champions Tour) in 2000.
Gary Bowen, 64, of Omaha, Neb., is a partner in an architectural firm and is an elected fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
Chip Bridges, 60, of Encinitas, Calif., worked as Ben Hogan’s ‘right-hand man’ from 1970-1981. He was mentioned that way in two golf books.
Left-handed Joe Brogdon, 55, of Macon, Ga., is a neurologist and his caddie is his friend Kim Klancke, who is a cardiologist from Ormond Beach, Fla. He was the runner-up at the 2005 World Association of Left-Handed Golfers and won the U.S. Left-Handed Golfers title in 2002.
Tom Castor, 56, of Ashland, Ohio, is another dentist. He is playing in his first Senior Amateur and qualified by shooting 30-43 at Canterbury C.C. in Cleveland. Castor explained: “I shot my lifetime low 30 on the front side and then…collapsed.” His father was the Ohio state high school runner-up in 1937; Tom won the event in 1968 and his son, Bobby, won it in 2000.
Gerald Chatham, Sr., 62, of Hernando, Miss., is an attorney who serves as the president of the Mississippi Golf Association.
John Dennis, 57, of Greenville, S.C., is the CEO and owner of Consolidated Tires and was the 2004 South Carolina Businessman of the Year. He is playing in his first Senior Amateur after making it to alternate status at the Mid-Amateur, Junior Amateur (1966) and Senior Amateur.
Jim Dines, 58, of Los Lunas, N.M., is an attorney. Some would ‘argue’ that his courtroom ability had something to do with who his caddie is for the Senior Amateur – retired New Mexico judge Paul Onuska.
David Farabaugh, 58, of Castaic, Calif., is a licensed clinical social worker. This is his first Senior Amateur.
Bob Feilner, 57, of Salt Lake City, Utah, breeds and raises quarterhorses. However, he worked in the coal mining business for 25 years and says: “It’s a little ironic to be playing at the former running site.” Victoria National sits on a former surface coal mine.
Ron Garland, 59, of Bozeman, Mont., probably chose the right name for his work as an independent sales representative. In this event, where carts are allowed, he will carry his own bag and walk. The name of his company: Lone Wolf Marketing. He is the founder of the Golf Nuts Society and the author of ‘Golf Nuts – You’ve Got to Be Committed.”
Ralph Hamm, Jr., 62, of Dallas, Texas, is an insurance broker whose specialty is the explosives industry. Safe to say, he’s busy.
Gil Happel, 60, of Oak Ridge, N.C., is a retired commercial pilot. He has given back to the game, that is, he started (29 years ago) and is still the director of the Cardinal Amateur, played at Cardinal Golf and Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
Joe Hendricks, 70, Anchorage, Alaska, is nicknamed 'Grizz.' He is a master guide for Fair Chase Hunts. He graduated in 1962 from LSU and played college golf at the Air Force Academy, Colorado and LSU.
John Hogden, 61, of Black River, Wis., is a pharmacist, who has won professional honors in the field. He also enjoys tree farming and claims he has planted over 400,000 trees.
Reuben ‘Johnny’ Johnson, 62, of Hendersonville, N.C., spent 23 years in the Army flying helicopters and airplanes in Vietnam, Korea, Alaska and Europe. He still works as a corporate pilot.
Buck Jones, 55, of Collegeville, Pa., is a reinstated amateur and says he’s “done it all in golf – juniors, high school, college, amateur, pro (10 years), reinstated amateur, golf retail, club manager and golf technical.” He won the 1981 Assistant Professional Championship.
Bill Jurgens, 55, of Bay City, Mich., owns an automated business systems company. He was a high school teacher and football, basketball and golf coach for 15 years. To make college basketball fan jealous, he has been to every NCAA Final Four since 1980.
John Krogh, 59, of Sulphur, Okla., is playing in his first Senior Amateur. He is an insurance agent who claims he is “the traveling salesman who married the farmer’s daughter.” He had the top producing dairy herd in Oklahoma in 1989. The Senior Amateur is his first USGA championship appearance since playing in the 1962 and 1963 Junior Amateurs.
Bill Lawler, 59, of West Wyoming, Pa., wrote a book on golf called ‘Rank Amateur.’ He Amateur Junior Golf Association named the Northeastern section of its tour – The Lawler Tour – to honor Bill’s work with junior golf. He is president of the Antracite Golf Association in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Taylor Metcalfe, 56, of Glendale, Ohio, was a Division II All-American at Rollins College and the last shot of his college career at the NCAA championship in 1972 was an ace. Rollins won the 1970 NCAA Division II title with Metcalfe as a contributing team member.
Jerry Michals, 55, of Carlsbad, Calif., is one of the youngest in the field but at the 2006 U.S. Amateur at Hazeltine National GC in Minnesota, he was the oldest. He enjoys tending to the orange grove his father owns.
Dr. Gayle Sanchez, 58, of Baton Rouge, La., is a quarterfinalist from last year’s Senior Amateur. However, since 1981, Sanchez has qualified for seven different USGA championships – U.S. Open, Mid-Amateur, Amateur, Senior Open, Senior Amateur, Amateur Public Links and USGA State Team. He still calls qualifying for the 1981 U.S. Open his most memorable moment in golf.
William ‘Beaver’ Simpson, 57, of Bowling Green, Ky., is an orthodontist who is the Kentucky champion in the Seniors 400-meter dash. He also holds a black belt in karate. He has been on 12 mission trips to Third World countries in the last eight years.
In a classic oxymoron, Allan Small, 55, of Florham Park, N.J., is 6 feet, 8 inches tall. He just became eligible for the Senior Amateur on Sept. 10 and won the 1994 New Jersey State Amateur in 2004, seven months after double knee replacements.
Dan Stewart, 61, of Alpharetta, Ga., is a food company sales manager who has instilled the love of golf in his family. To wit, his grandsons are named Samuel and Ryder, which is a nice segue into next week’s international team match in Ireland.
David Strawn, 56, of Charlotte, N.C., is an attorney who is playing in his first Senior Amateur. He was the runner-up at the 1973 U.S. Amateur to Craig Stadler. Because of that finish, he played in the 1974 U.S. Open and the 1974 Masters. Those three golf appearances are his most memorable. He also competed in the 2000 U.S. Senior Open.
Hobey Vance, 57, of Southlake, Texas, is playing in his first USGA championship and is a retired airline pilot who now owns and operates Julie’s Gourmet Popcorn. Here’s his most memorable golf moment in his words: “At the 1970 British Open at St. Andrews, my father and I wrangled jobs with ABC. I was on the TV tower on the 17th and 18th green with Dave Marr when Jack Nicklaus took off his yellow sweater and drove the 18th green to beat Doug Sanders.”
Jody Vasquez, 59, of Aledo, Texas, caddied for Ben Hogan from 1964-1969 and wrote a book: ‘Afternoons with Mr. Hogan.’ His most memorable moment is when Hogan told him the secret to that classic swing.
Mike Walters, 58, of Tampa, Fla., was a Senior Amateur semifinalist in 2004. He played in the 1977 U.S. Open and the 2005 Senior Open. He is married to LPGA professional Lisa Walters.
Jim Weeks, 61, of Savannah, Ga., has qualified for the Senior Amateur in two consecutive years and is a practicing funeral director. He has an identical twin brother and both of them have won their club championship.
Rick Woulfe, 56, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is an attorney competing in his second Senior Amateur. A veteran of USGA competitions (17 times qualified), he won the 1993 Dixie Amateur, along the way defeating Tiger Woods (then 17), 4 and 3, in the semifinals. He also serves on the USGA Mid-Amateur Championship Committee.
Compiled by Pete Kowalski of the USGA media relations department.