Three Tied After First Round
Chicago, Ill. – Jeff Burda, 56, of Modesto, Calif., John Grace, 61, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Patrick Tallent, 56, of Vienna, Va., each carded rounds of 2-under 69 to share the lead after the first round of stroke play at the 2009 USGA Senior Amateur Championship at the 6,653-yard, par-71 Beverly Country Club.
“I hit 15 of the 18 greens in regulation because my iron play was solid today,” said Burda, the current California Senior Amateur champion. “I came here hoping not only to make it to match play, but also to shoot as low of a score as I possibly could, and I’ve been feeling very good about my game lately.”
All three players made four birdies and two bogeys on the day, but Burda played in the morning, while Grace and Tallent toured the course in the afternoon. Grace, a quarterfinalist last year at Shady Oaks C.C. in his hometown and who was eliminated by eventual champion George “Buddy” Marucci, likes his chances this week.
“I think this is a wonderful golf course and I feel very comfortable on Donald Ross designed courses,” said Grace. “I drove the ball extremely well and pretty much did everything right, kept the ball on the correct side of the hole and gave myself some great chances at birdies.”
Dan Bieber, 56, of Alamo, Calif., and Doug Pool, 58, of Las Vegas, Nev., recorded 1-under 70s. Three players, 1972 U.S. Amateur champion Marvin Giles III, 66, of Richmond, Va., local favorite Tom Studer, 57, of Joliet, Ill., and Michael Walters, 61, of Tampa, Fla., fired even par 71s.
Bill Ploeger of Columbus, Ga., who at 69 is the oldest competitor in the field, turned in a 1-over 72. The former USGA Senior Amateur champion is in the final year of the 10-year exemption that he received after his victory in 1999.
Beverly C.C. member and two-time USGA Senior Amateur champion Bill Shean Jr., 66, of Hinsdale, Ill., got off to a slow start with a 7-over-par round of 78.
“I struggled with some swing mechanics out there today and never really found it,” said Shean Jr., who as a teenager worked as a volunteer at several Western Opens at Beverly some 40 years ago. “The course is in good condition and the fairways are perfect, but I just couldn’t get the green speeds down.”
Stroke play continues on Sunday and when completed the field will be reduced to the lowest-scoring 64 players. The first round of match play is scheduled for Monday, while the second and third rounds will be played Tuesday, and the quarterfinal and semifinal matches are on Wednesday. The championship concludes with the 18-hole final match Thursday.
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.
Story written by Dave Fanucchi of the USGA Communications Department. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAR AND YARDAGE –
Beverly Country Club will play at 6,654/6,672 yards and a par of 36-35—71.
ARCHITECT – Beverly Country Club was designed by George O’Neil and opened in 1908. Donald Ross redesigned the course in 1918. A renovation of the course, guided by golf course architect Ron Prichard, was completed in 2008.
COURSE AND SLOPE RATING – The USGA Course Rating® for the Senior Amateur at Beverly Country Club is 72.7 and USGA Slope Rating® is 133.
USGA AND ILLINOIS – The 2009 USGA Senior Amateur will be the 57th championship conducted in the state of Illinois, ranking it fourth among states hosting the most USGA championships. The last USGA championship in the state was the 2007 U.S. Amateur Public Links at Cantigny Golf Club in Wheaton. The Senior Amateur is making its fifth appearance in Illinois (1962, 1973, 1979, 1998).
SCHEDULE OF PLAY:
Saturday, Sept. 12 — First round, stroke play (18 holes)
Sunday, Sept. 13 — Second round, stroke play (18 holes)
Monday, Sept. 14 — First round, match play (18 holes)
Tuesday, Sept. 15 — Second round, match play (18 holes); Third round, match play (18 holes)
Wednesday, Sept. 16 — Quarterfinals, match play (18 holes); Semifinals, match play (18 holes)
Thursday, Sept. 17 — Final, match play (18 holes)
ADMISSION IS FREE – Admission and parking is free. Tickets are not needed for this USGA championship and spectators are encouraged to attend.