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Bill Shean Jr.

Bill Shean Jr., 57, Hinsdale, 111., defeated Dick Van Leuvan, 55, Atlanta, Ga., 2 and 1, in the final to win the 46th USGA Senior Amateur Championship Friday at the 6,622-yard, par 71 Charlotte Country Club course.

With the win, Shean became the 12th player to have captured two USGA Senior Amateur championships. He also won in 1998.

"These are mountaintop experiences," said Shean.

It was Van Leuvan's first USGA Senior Amateur

"The disappointment is not being able to pull off the shots you know you can hit," said Van Leuvan, who was the reigning Georgia Senior Amateur Champion.

Shean and Van Leuvan are both in the insurance business with ties to the same national company. They also agreed on the turning point of the match, the 395-yard, par 4 16th hole.

Shean hit first. He had just lost the 15th but was 1 up. Facing a shot of 172 yards in a gusty left- to-right wind, he ripped a 5-iron to the green, about 10 feet from the hole.

"The key point was the iron that 1 hit to the 16th green," said Shean. "I was leaking oil at the time."

"The 16th was critical," Van Leuvan agreed. "He hit it to 10 feet and 1 couldn't even get an 8- iron on the green from 150 yards."

Shean won the hole with a conceded birdie putt to go 2 up.

The match began with Shean winning the first hole with a par, but Van Leuvan rebounded with a winning birdie on the second hole to even the match. Shean birdied the sixth and seventh holes to go 2 up before he failed to get down in two from the fringe of the ninth green and lost the hole to Van Leuvan's par.

Shean captured the 10th hole with a bogey to again go 2 up, but Van Leuvan rebounded to win the 15th hole with a par to Shean's double-bogey. When Shean birdied the 16th hole, he was 2 up with two holes to play. Both players parred the par-3 17th hole to end the match.

Cool, blustery autumn weather took its toll. Temperatures never climbed out of the 60s and the. northeasterly wind made club selection difficult.

In the semifinal matches. Van Leuyan defeated E. Thomas lung. Chicago. Ill.. in a 24-hole marathon. while Shean advanced to the final with a 3 and 2 win over Gary Menzel. Milwaukee, Wisc.

Vinny Giles, 57, Richmond, Va.. a four-time Walker Cup player. was medalist with a 36-hole qualifying score of two-over-par 144.


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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