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Grace, Marucci, Zahringer Among Quarterfinalists

Fort Worth, Texas – Past U.S. Mid-Amateur George Zahringer, 55, of New York, N.Y., and 1995 U.S. Amateur runner-up George “Buddy” Marucci, 55, of Villanova, Pa., each posted a pair of victories Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals of the USGA Senior Amateur, being contested at the 6,679-yard, par-71 Shady Oaks Country Club.

After a tumultuous spring George Zahringer, watching his ball Tuesday, said he's finally finding his game. (John Mummert/USGA)

Another player advancing was former club member John Grace, 60, of Fort Worth, who was a 4-and-3 second-round winner over Bruce Meyer in the morning, and defeated Paul Murphy by the same margin in the afternoon. Grace estimated that he has played the golf course more than 500 times, and even teed it up with the legendary Ben Hogan, who served as the club’s former head professional for many years.

Grace has also won the Shady Oaks stroke play title 17 times, including 11 consecutive years from 1985-95.

“It would be crazy to say that my local knowledge hasn’t helped me this week,” said Grace, a member of the USA’s victorious 1975 Walker Cup Team. “But I’ve been looking forward to this championship for two and half years, and I had to qualify for it just like everybody else. So I feel great about what I’ve done so far.”      

All eight quarterfinalists receive exemptions into the 2009 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, to be played at The Beverly Country Club in Chicago.  

Zahringer, the 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and 2003 USA Walker Cupper, held off Tim Pope, 4 and 2, and then defeated the oldest remaining player in the field, 68-year-old Jerry Cundari, 2 and 1.

“I hit the ball much better today than I did during stroke play,” said Zahringer, who has been practicing heavily during the evenings all week. “I like the fact that I’m striking the ball well, and it’s going where I want it to.”  

Marucci escaped with a 1-up victory over John Long, and then prevailed, 3 and 2, over Frank Travetto. Marucci, captain of the 2007 and 2009 USA Walker Cup teams, is better known as one of the three players Tiger Woods defeated in the finals to win his record three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles.  

“Match play is never easy, and you always have to play until the very end,” said Marucci. “The nerves aren’t quite as bad as playing in the Amateur, but this is a lot of fun, the guys are great and everybody here is trying to win.”

Vinny Giles, 65, of Richmond, Va., the 1972 U.S. Amateur champion, scored victories over Tom McGraw (2 and 1) and Logan Jackson (1 up) to secure his quarterfinal appearance.  

Randy Nichols, 55, of Connersville, Ind., a member of the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame, took three of the final five holes of his third-round afternoon match to win, 1 up, over Dave Denezza. In his morning match, he defeated stroke-play medalist and reigning British Senior Open Amateur champion Paul Simson, 2 and 1.

John Pallin, 55, of Kenosha, Wis., a member of the Wisconsin State Golf Hall of Fame, eliminated defending champion Stan Lee in 19 holes on Monday, and then registered a 5-and-3 win over Howie Knodt Tuesday morning before dismissing Stephen Bell, 4 and 3, in the third round. 

Frank Ford III, 56, of Charleston, S.C. – a semifinalist at the USGA Senior Amateur in 2007 and member of the South Carolina State Golf Hall of Fame, defeated Michael Shelton (4 and 3) and Bill Heldmar (2 and 1).

Three-time Massachusetts Mid-Amateur champion Joe Keller, 59, of Osterville, Mass., beat 1991 U.S. Amateur champion Mitch Voges, 5 and 4, before ousting 2007 USGA Senior Amateur runner-up Sam Farlow, 1 up.   

The USGA Senior Amateur continues with the quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Wednesday (8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. CDT), and the scheduled 18-hole championship final match, to be played on Thursday starting at 9 a.m.

The USGA Senior Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Fort Worth, Texas – Results following Tuesday’s second and third rounds of match play at the 2008 USGA Senior Amateur Championship at the 6,679-yard, par-71 Shady Oaks Country Club:

Round of 32

Upper Bracket

Randy Nichols, Connersville, Ind. (150) def. Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C. (141), 2 and 1

Dave Denezza, Greensburg, Pa. (147) def. Ralph Cotton, Colleyville, Texas (147), 1 up

John Pallin, Kenosha, Wis. (150) def. Howie Knodt, Chula Vista, Calif. (144), 5 and 3

Stephen Bell, Denver, Colo. (150) def. Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (144), 4 and 3

Joseph Keller, Osterville, Mass. (149) def. Mitch Voges, Simi Valley, Calif. (143), 5 and 4

Sam Farlow, Birmingham, Ala. (146) def. Stewart Alexander, Gainesville, Fla. (151), 2 up

Jerry Cundari, Portland, Ore. (149) def. Edward Patridge, Birmingham, Ala. (153), 3 and 2

George Zahringer, New York, N.Y. (151) def. Timothy Pope, Spartanburg, S.C. (152), 4 and 2

Lower Bracket
Logan Jackson, Winston Salem, N.C. (153) def. Sam Till Jr., Fort Wayne, Ind. (149), 6 and 5

Vinny Giles, Richmond, Va. (146) def. Thomas McGraw, Montgomery, Texas (151), 2 and 1

Frank Ford III, Charleston, S.C. (152) def. Michael Shelton, Belton, Mo. (150), 4 and 3

Bill Heldmar, Tulsa, Okla. (151) def. Randy Reznicek, Vista, Calif. (152), 19 holes

George Marucci Jr., Villanova, Pa. (143) def. John Long, Centreville, Va. (150), 1 up

Frank Travetto, Bartlett, Ill. (151) def. Thomas Bohardt, Cleveland, Ohio (152), 2 up

Paul Murphy, Arlington, Mass. (150) def. Carey Watson, Coral Springs, Fla. (153), 3 and 1

John Grace, Fort Worth, Texas (145) def. Bruce Meyer, El Paso, Texas (148), 4 and 3

Round of 16

Upper Bracket

Nichols def. Denezza, 1 up

Pallin def. Bell, 4 and 3

Keller def. Farlow, 1 up

Zahringer def. Cundari, 2 and 1
Lower Bracket
Giles def. Jackson, 1 up

Ford III def. Heldmar, 2 and 1

Marucci def. Travetto, 3 and 2

Grace def. Murphy, 4 and 3


Pairings for Wednesday morning’s quarterfinal round of match play at the 2008 USGA Senior Amateur Championship:

8:30 a.m. - Randy Nichols, Connersville, Ind. (150) vs. John Pallin, Kenosha, Wis. (150)

8:40 a.m. - Joseph Keller, Osterville, Mass. (149) vs. George Zahringer, New York, N.Y. (151)

8:50 a.m. - Vinny Giles, Richmond, Va. (146) vs. Frank Ford III, Charleston, S.C. (152)

9:00 a.m. - George Marucci Jr., Villanova, Pa. (143) vs. John Grace, Fort Worth, Texas (145)



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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