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Greg Reynolds

Greg Reynolds, 55, of Grand Blanc, Mich., captured the 49th USGA Senior Amateur Championship with a 4-and-3 victory over Mark Bernowski, 56, of Mukwonago, Wis., at the par-72, 6,596-yard Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.

"It's pretty special and hard to describe, but I feel really good about it," Reynolds said.

The match was close until a five-hole stretch, starting at the par-4, 395-yard 10th hole. Reynolds, holding a one-hole advantage, was on the green in two and two-putted for par while Bernowski left his approach shot in the fringe short of the green. Bernowski chipped onto the green and two-putted for bogey and Reynolds' lead grew to two holes.

The players halved the par-4, 338-yard 11th hole after Reynolds made a spectacular sand save from the bunker behind the green to within a foot.

"I almost didn't hit that shot, because that was a shot where there was only about six inches where you could land that ball - otherwise that ball probably goes in the water," Reynolds said. "I was thinking about hitting it sideways and maybe two-putting for bogey because I wasn't sure he would make a par there, and then I decided 'oh what the heck, this is match play, if you it in the water, you just go to the next tee.'"

On the par-5, 539-yard 12th hole, Reynolds misplayed his approach shot from 40 yards out and didn't hit the green, but was able to get up-and-down for par, while Bernowski three-putted from 12 feet to bogey and go 3 down.

Reynolds' luck continued on the par-3, 212-yard 13th, a hole that had given him trouble all week. His tee shot landed in the front right bunker and his sand shot didn't make it out of the bunker. He hit the next one out safely and was able to sink his six-foot putt for bogey, while Bernowski's four-foot par putt to win the hole missed.

Reynolds went 4 up and dormie when Bernowski missed a six-foot par putt at the par 4, 375-yard 14 hole, and won the match when the two players traded pars at the par-5, 490-yard 15th hole.

"The last few days, I really putted well on some really crucial putts - I made a lot of those," Reynolds said. "Ordinarily my putting isn't a strong part of my game but I thought I putted very well here."

Bernowski, on the other hand, was hurt by poor putting throughout the match.

"I've been battling it for several years now, and it really manifested itself today," Bernowski said. "I've really struggled on these greens, with the speed particularly."

The victory capped an eventful week for Reynolds, who made it into the field as an alternate four days before the championship started. He arrived late the evening before the first day of play and didn't even have time for a practice round before teeing up on Saturday afternoon for his first round of stroke play.

In his first-round match against Jay Howson of Malvern, Pa., Reynolds trailed by four holes at the turn but came back to earn a 1-up victory. He never trailed by more that one hole again throughout the championship, and didn't trail at all after the second hole of his third-round match against medalist Billy Clagett of Austin, Texas.


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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