Dave Ryan wins the 62nd U.S. Senior Amateur Championship

Dave Ryan wins the 62nd U.S. Senior Amateur Championship

Senior

Dave Ryan wins the 62nd U.S. Senior Amateur Championship

ST LOUIS, Mo. – Dave Ryan, 62, of Taylorville, Ill. defeated Matthew Sughrue, 57, of Arlington, Va., 2-up on Thursday to capture the 62nd U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Old Warson Country Club in St Louis, MO. The course played to a par-71 and was set-up at 6,956 yds. for the championship match.

Ryan who was playing on the same course where he qualified for his first USGA championship some 30 years ago – the 1986 U.S. Amateur – built an early lead over Sughrue, gave back part, and then held on to take custody of the Frederick L. Dold Trophy for the upcoming year.

“It’s really hard to even imagine, I’m still in shock, a state of shock” the humbled Ryan said after his match. “For a guy from Taylorville, IL to win a national championship, it’s unbelievable.”

Along with the trophy and gold medal as the U.S. Senior Amateur Champion, Ryan will also claim other benefits enjoyed by the winner.

    • An exemption from local qualifying at the next U.S. Open Championship
    • An exemption from sectional qualifying at the next U.S. Senior Open Championship
    • An exemption from sectional qualifying at the next two U.S. Amateur Championships
    • An exemption from sectional qualifying at the next two U.S. Mid-Amateurs
    • An exemption from sectional qualifying for the next 10 U.S. Senior

Amateurs

Ryan, on his way to the championship match, defeated two-time Senior Amateur champion Paul Simson in the Round of 16 and two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and this year’s Senior Amateur medalist, Tim Jackson, in the semifinals.

Ryan made history on Tuesday playing against Simson when he recorded a hole-in-one on the 14th hole, a par-4. It was only the 13th known double eagle in USGA championship history. Now he’s a national champion.

Playing in his first tournament since winning the Illinois Senor Amateur by nine strokes, Ryan got off to a shaky start losing the first hole to Sughrue. That’s when Ryan’s birdie barrage began that saw him win five straight holes, four of them with birdies, to go 4-up after No. 6.

With Sughrue in position to win holes 8 and 9, Ryan’s short game bailed him out, as he earned halves with up-and-downs to keep a 4-up lead at the turn.
Ryan said it was his putting that gave him momentum. “My son gave me a video to watch from Dave Stockton, who is a great putter,” said Ryan. “I took some of his tips and it’s like shooting free throws, you just get over it, see the line, and let it go. And it worked this week. And it worked last week when I played in the state Senior Amateur in Illinois.”

Sughrue had a chance on No. 10, but his birdie putt burned the edge and he had to settle for a half. With very little going his way, Sughrue kept his composure and began a furious rally on the 11th hole, which he won with a par.

Birdies by Sughrue on both the par-5 12th and the par-3 13th trimmed his deficit to 1 down. After missing a 10-foot birdie putt that would have evened the match on No 14, he finally got one to drop and squared the match on No. 15.

A bogey by Sughrue on the par-5 No. 16 opened the door for Ryan. After Sughrue failed to get up-and-down, Ryan went back to 1-up with a two-putt par, then maintained the advantage when Sughrue lipped out on No. 17.

After Ryan crushed his drive on No. 18 down the middle, Sughrue hit his tee shot into the left rough giving him little chance to par the hole which Ryan eventually won with a conceded par.

“I’m disappointed,” Sughrue said following his round. “I felt like I had enough game to come back and win and it just didn’t fall my way.” Sughrue had 6 putts during his round that either lipped out or burned the edge.

Even in defeat, Sughrue is exempt into the next three U.S. Senior Amateurs as well as next year’s U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Mid-Amateur championship.

The 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur will be contested Aug. 26-31 at The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home