Interesting Storylines From The 2007 USGA Senior Amateur Championship
The average age of the field for this year’s championship is 59.05.
The youngest player in the field is Stanford Lee of Rose Bud, Ark., who will turn 55 on Sept. 1.
Lee is one of six players who will celebrate a birthday during the 2007 USGA Senior Amateur. The others are: Don Bliss of Chesterfield, Mo., will turn 56 on Sept. 5th; Tom Grady of Marshall, Va., will turn 59 on Sept. 2nd; Don Taylor of Augusta, Ga., who turns 60 on Sept. 1; Jimmy Thomas of Johns Creek, Ga., will turn 56 on Sept. 3; and Gary Woodell of Douglasville, Ga., who turns 60 on Sept. 3.
The elder statesman of the field is 70-year-old O. Gordon Brewer of Pine Valley, N.J. Brewer, who won the 1994 and 1996 USGA Senior Amateurs, was a member of the USGA Executive Committee from 1996 to 2001 and currently serves as president of Pine Valley Golf Club. He has played in 17 U.S. Amateurs, including eight after turning 50.
Brewer is one of six past Senior Amateur champions in the field. He is joined by defending champion Mike Bell, 60, of Indianapolis, Ind.; 2004 winner Mark Bemowski, 61, of Mukwonago, Wis.; 2002 champion Greg Reynolds, 60, of Grand Blanc, Mich.; 2005 winner Mike Rice, 67, of Houston, Texas; and 2001 and 2003 champion Kemp Richardson, 61, of Laguna Niguel, Calif.
In addition to the Senior Am champs in the field, there are three other USGA champions at Flint Hills National. Vinny Giles, 64, of Richmond, Va., won the 1982 U.S. Amateur; Kansas native Bill McDonald, 63, who now lives in Troy, Mich., won the 1964 U.S. Amateur Public Links; and Mitch Voges, 57, of Simi Valley, Calif., who won the 1991 U.S. Amateur.
Giles and Voges are two of the four players in the field who have played in a Walker Cup Match. Giles represented the USA at the 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1975 Walker Cups, and Voges played on the USA team in 1991. Ireland’s Arthur Pierse, 56, played for the Great Britain and Ireland in the 1983 Match. Marty West, 59, of Rockville, Md., played on the 1973 and 1979 USA Walker Cup teams.
Giles, Pierse and West have also played in the World Amateur Team Championship. Giles played for the USA in 1968, 1970 and 1972. In 1972, West joined Giles on the USA team. Pierse played for the GB&I team in 1982.
There are three players in the field with a USGA title in the family, starting with Kemp Richardson, whose father John won the 1987 Senior Amateur. Omar Bogan (father of Steve Bogan, 59, of Placentia, Calif.) won the 1952 Amateur Public Links, and Hilary (Homeyer) Lunke, daughter of Bill Homeyer, 58, of Edina, Minn., won the 2003 Women’s Open.
Homeyer is quite familiar with the layout at Flint Hills National. In 2001, he caddied for Hilary during the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the club, where she advanced to the quarterfinals.
There are 83 players in the field who are competing in their first USGA Senior Amateur. Of those, 43 are playing in their first USGA championship.
For some players, this is their first appearance in a USGA championship in more than 20 years: Michael Ancel, 57, of Newport News, Va. (1977 U.S. Amateur); Don Brooks, 62, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (1968 Amateur Public Links); Mike Campbell, 55, of Louisville, Ky. (1978 Amateur Public Links); Gary Frankenfield, 59, of Fort Worth, Texas (1970 Amateur); Robert Maddox, 55, of Meridian, Miss. (1984 Mid-Amateur); Bill McDonald, (1973 Amateur Public Links); Richard Nordlund, 62, of Santa Barbara, Calif. (1986 Mid-Amateur);
One of the most popular professions among this week’s competitors is dentist – there are seven in the field. They are: William Boles, 59, of Wilson, N .C.; David Cannon, 57, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Don Cheney, 59, of Encino, Calif.; David Fry, 57, of Montgomery, Ala.; Michael Hoefs, 56, of Lincoln, Neb.; Mark Miller, 56, of Antioch, Calif.; and Gary Woodell of Douglasville, Ga. And Steven Dietrich, 55, of Sioux Falls, Idaho, is an endodontist.
Denny Alexander, 61, of Fort Worth, Texas, is playing in his third Senior Amateur. No matter what happens this week, he’ll definitely be at next year’s championship. He is the chairman of the host club committee for the 2008 Senior Amateur, which will be held at his home course of Shady Oaks Country Club in Fort Worth.
Michael Ancel, who was born in Wichita, had a life-altering experience in 1984, when doctors discovered a tumor on the right side of the stem of his brain. He lost balance and hearing on his right side.
Randy Apgar, 55, of Kansas City, Mo., was a member of the victorious Kansas Senior Four Ball team that won the 2006 championship at Flint Hills National. Apgar, who has served on the board of the Kansas City Golf Association for 20 years, is currently the organization’s treasurer.
Joe Bartlett, 61, of Lincoln, Vt., is playing in his first USGA championship. He is a ski and snowboard instructor in at the Sugarbush Resort in Vermont, and is a distant relative of Josiah Bartlett, signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire.
John Benson, 56, of St. Augustine, Fla., was named the 1996 Pennsylvania Man of the Year, which honors the man who did the most to help the less fortunate. For Benson, who was born in Punxsutawney, his lucky charm is a groundhog.
Don Bliss of Chesterfield, Mo., is already in the USGA record books. At the 1987 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas, Bliss aced the 10th (his first) and eighth holes (his 17th) to become the first person to record two holes-in-one in the same USGA championship round, a record that stands to this day.
There are two firefighters in the field at Flint Hills National. William Boyd, 55, of Greeley, Colo., is a firefighter for the Union Colony Fire Rescue. One of his fellow firefighters, Mike Sullivan, will be his caddie this week. And Billy Clements, 56, of St. Augustine, Fla., is a captain with the Jacksonville Fire Rescue.
Roger Brown, 63, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was born in Wichita and is a member at Flint Hills National. His son Trent, also a Flint Hills National member, will serve as his caddie this week. Brown is also the former president of the American Orchid Society.
In 1992, Mike Campbell, 55, of Louisville, Ky., was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and his doctors told him he wouldn’t be able to play competitive golf again. The next year, he won the Kentucky State Amateur.
Campbell isn't the only competitor in the field with Gullain-Barre. David Lind, 58, of Burr Ridge, Ill., contracted the disease in 2006 and was a quadriplegic for six months.
Alistair Catto, 55, of South Hadley, Mass., would have his wife Bonnie on his bag this week but she’s busy with her own – she qualified for the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at Sunriver (Ore.) Resort, which is being played this week as well.
Bruce Charles, 56, of Natick, Mass., is the golf coach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ron Cherney, 59, of Encino, Calif., is a published author. He wrote a golf book called, “My Greatest Shot” that is a collection of letters from golf’s greatest players. It was published last year.
Jerry Cundari, 67, of Portland, Ore., was paired with Jack Nicklaus in the 1957 U.S. Junior Amateur. Nicklaus introduced him to Bob Jones that day.
Jack Forbes, 68k, of Morgantown, W.Va., is an underground coal mine foreman.
At age 62, Larry Grant of Westminster, Colo., is playing in his first USGA championship. He won the 1995 U.S. Left-handed Golf Championship.
Jerry Greenbaum, 66, of Altanta, Ga., made a 40-putt on his 36th hole at the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional to make the cut.
Vic Hannon, 62, of Camden, S.C., is a retired U.S. Air Force pilot. Hannon formed a foundation in honor of his deceased son Scott to raise money to help less fortunate children.
Don Marsh, 63, of Alpharetta, Ga., won the 2007 Canadian Senior Match Play Championship. His wife Belinda caddied for him during that victory and will do so again this week.
Rob Maxwell, 56, of Windsor, Ill., is playing in his first USGA championship. From 1973-1977, he was a pitcher in the California Angels organization.
Jim Seymour, 56, of Bakersfield, Calif., is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma last November. He underwent chemotherapy from December to April, and is now here, playing in his first USGA championship.
James Smith, 58, of Orchard Park, N.Y., is an orthopedic surgeon. In 1997, he climbed to the base camp at Mount Everest with his daughter Heather.
Jimmy Thomas, 55, of Johns Creek, Ga., is a former American record holder for rocking chair marathon.
At age 69, Ray Vanyo of Banning, Calif., is playing in his first USGA Senior Amateur. It’s his first USGA event since the 1994 Senior Open, where he finished 50th.
Steve Yavorsky, 57, of Capistrano Beach, Calif., has run 24 marathons, with a best time of 2:33. He is also a nationally ranked triathlete.