2003: Ploeger tops senior rankings

The Golfweek/Titleist Senior Amateur Rankings title went down to the wire in its first year.

Bill Ploeger, who earned 15 points for his tie for fifth place at the Ralph Bogart Senior, finished No. 1 for the year with 240 points. Ploeger, of Columbus, Ga., trailed Vinny Giles heading into the season finale.

Giles, of Richmond, Va., held a 5-point lead over Ploeger following his victory in the Dale Morey Senior the first week in November. He finished with 230 points. Next in the standings at 185 points was Joel Hirsch of Chicago, followed by Mike Rice of Houston with 180.

The Golfweek/Titleist Senior Rankings are based on points earned by players 55 years and older for specific finishes in designated tournaments.

In 2002, Ploeger, the 1999 USGA Senior Amateur champion, won the Senior Masters and the U.S. Senior Challenge. He also finished second at Shoal Creek, ninth at the Coleman, third at the Porter Cup Senior and tied for sixth at the Azalea and Dale Morey.

In his limited playing schedule, Giles, a winner and three-time runner-up at the U.S. Amateur, captured the Coleman, Dave King and Dale Morey titles. He also tied for second at the Senior Hall of Fame and reached the quarterfinals of the USGA Senior Amateur.

Hirsch won the Hugh Wilson and Shoal Creek crowns and also tied for third at the Azalea, was second at the Canadian Senior Match Play and fourth at the British Senior Amateur.

Rice did not win a tournament that earned rankings points, but showed consistency throughout the year. He placed second at the Cotton States Senior, tied for fourth at the Senior Hall of Fame, was a semifinalist at the Trans-Miss Senior, tied for eighth at the Porter Cup Senior, advanced to the Sweet 16 of the USGA Senior Amateur, finished third at the U.S. Senior Challenge, tied for fifth at Shoal Creek and tied for 12th at the Dale Morey.

Reigning USGA Senior Amateur champion Greg Reynolds, from Grand Blanc, Mich., finished fifth with 150 points.

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