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In the final event contested during the USGA's centennial
year, James Stahl of Cincinnati, Ohio, became the 439th person
to capture a USGA championship by winning the Senior Amateur
held at a poplular USGA site, Prairie Dunes Country Club,
in Hutchinson, Kansas. Stahl defeated Rennie Law of Tampa,
Fla., in the final match by a 2-and-1 score.
Stahl received a boost during the last day's semi-final
and final rounds. When he reached the course that day, he
discovered a friend waiting to caddie for him. It was Danny
Yates, former Mid-Amateur champion, Amateur runner-up, and
Walker Cup team member. Their relationship dates back to 1973,
when Stahl lived for a period in Yate's hometown of Atlanta.
The semi-final round went very well for Stahl. He didn't
lose a single hole along the way against Curt McClure of Shreveport,
La., winning by a 4-and-3 margin. The afternoon's final match
against Law proved a much tougher test. Stahl played poorly
with four bogeys over the first seven holes, yet held a 1-up
Law's game came alive after the first nine holes, however,
and he claimed three straight holes to move from 1 down to
2 up. But some poor play on the 13th caused Law to give back
one hole, while a Stahl birdie on the 14th squared the match.
Law proceeded to miss his par putt at the 16th to fall one
hole behind, and Stahl's 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th clinched
his victory and capped a satisfying year for the man who also
finished as runner-up in the 1995 Senior British Amateur.