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Joe Ungvary

Joe Ungvary, 55, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, won three of the first four holes and went on to a record-setting 7 and 6 victory over Jerry Nelson, 55, of Warsaw, Ind., in the final match of the USGA Senior Amateur Championship at Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Va.

Ungvary, an employee of the Summit County Treasurer's Office, finished 4 under par and never allowed Nelson to win a single hole. He closed out the match with a birdie 3 from seven feet on the 13th hole, giving him the largest margin of victory in the final match of a Senior Amateur championship.

"I just had it inside me that I knew I could do it," said Ungvary, who sports a license plate that reads 'Even Par.' "Something like this only happens once. I put everything into it I had."

"I was stunned," said Nelson, referring to Ungvary's two birdies through the first three holes. "I don't remember anyone coming at me that hard before. Now I know how Custer must have felt."

To reach the final, Ungvary used four birdies and never trailed in scoring a 3 and 2 victory over Robert Housen, 55, of Brielle, N.J., in one of the morning semi-final matches. He was 3 up through 13 holes before each player parred the final three holes.

In his semi-final match, Nelson won holes 12 and 13 with pars and then hung on for a 1 up victory over Jim McMurtrey, 61, of Danville, Calif.

Overall, there were four former champions in the field, with 1992 champion Clarence Moore, of Winnsboro, S.C., and 1990 champion Jackie Cummings, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., advancing to match play.

John Harbottle, of Seattle, Wash., set a record for the two days of stroke play qualifying at 136, 4 under par and six strokes better than the former record. Harbottle was runner-up at the Senior Amateur in 1986.


Championship Facts

USGA Senior Amateur

WHO CAN PLAY The USGA Senior Amateur Championship is open to amateurs who will have reached their 55th birthday on or before Sept. 20, 2008, and who have a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 7.4.

ENTRIES Entries for the 2008 championship closed Aug. 6. The USGA accepted 2,393 entries for the 2008 USGA Senior Amateur Championship. It marked the eighth consecutive year entries topped 2,200. The record of 2,498 entries was set in 2005.

SECTIONAL QUALIFYING Sectional qualifying (18 holes) was conducted Aug. 15 - Sept. 2 at 50 sites across the country. For complete results, click here.

CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY This will be the 54th USGA Senior Amateur Championship. It was first played in 1955.

SCHEDULE Practice rounds will be held Sept. 18 (Thursday) and Sept. 19 (Friday). The starting field of 156 players will play two rounds of stroke play, with the low 64 scorers advancing to match play. The schedule is as follows:

  • Sept. 20 (Saturday) First round of stroke play
  • Sept. 21 (Sunday) Second round of stroke play
  • Sept. 22 (Monday) First round of match play
  • Sept. 23 (Tuesday) Second and third rounds of match play
  • Sept. 24 (Wednesday) Quarterfinals and semifinals, match play
  • Sept. 25 (Thursday) Final, match play (18 holes)
  • PAR AND YARDAGE Shady Oaks Country Club will be set up 6,597 (stroke play)/6,679 (match play) yards and par 35-36-71.

    COURSE SET-UP The fairways will measure 0.40-0.50 inches in height. The intermediate rough will measure 1 inches, with a width of approximately 6 feet. The primary rough will stand 2 inches high. The greens will measure approximately 10.5 feet on the Stimpmeter.

    COURSE RATING AND SLOPE The USGA Course RatingTM for Shady Oaks Country Club is 73.0; Slope Rating® is 137.



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