Giles moves into quarters at Senior Amateur

Vinny Giles hits a pitch during the quarterfinals of the USGA Senior Amateur.

CHICAGO – When Vinny Giles III made his way to the first tee for his third-round match at the 55th USGA Senior Amateur at Beverly Country Club, he figured he’d stand a good chance of advancing to the quarterfinals if he could meet one simple goal: make no bogeys.

He nearly did it. With the exception of the par-3 17th, where he was playing to make bogey because his opponent was in deep trouble, Giles made just one, at the ninth following a poor tee shot. Otherwise, he was steady as a rock in his 2-and-1 win against co-medalist Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C., which advanced Giles to the Elite 8 for the second straight year.

“I’m probably playing better now than any other time coming into this tournament,” said Giles. “I’m putting better, too, and that’s a good combination.

“I spent all day burning the edges, but you don’t mind that because you know some of them are eventually going to go in.”

Giles has been at this a long time. He finished second at the U.S. Amateur three years in a row starting in 1967, won it in ’72 and played on four U.S. Walker Cup teams between 1969 and ’75. Now, at 66 years of age, Giles is fully aware of the difficulty competing against players 10 years his junior.

“When I was 32 and all the college kids were 22, I didn’t feel any different,” he said. “But 55 (the minimum age requirement for the Senior Amateur) to 66, that’s a big difference. They probably have more stamina, but they sure as hell don’t have more experience.

“I still have my length. But at 66, I don’t have as much concentration as I used to have. I’ll lose focus three or four times a round. That’s one thing my wife said to me after this round, ‘You looked focused.’ ”

The ultimate goal, of course, still is three wins away. Should Giles be able to complete the deal, he would join William C. Campbell as the only players to capture U.S. Amateur and Senior Amateur titles.

Giles’s opponent in the quarterfinals will be William T. Doughtie of Amarillo, Texas. He advanced by eliminating former champion Bill Ploeger of Columbus, Ga., and Patrick O’Donnell of Happy Valley, Ore., both by 1-up scores.

The other quarterfinal matchups are:

• John Pallin of Kenosha, Wis., a 2008 quarterfinalist, vs. Michael Walters of Tampa, Fla., a semifinalist from 2004;

• Greg Reynolds of Grand Blanc, Mich., the 2002 champion, vs. John Grace of Fort Worth, Texas, a quarterfinalist from a year ago and a member of the 1975 U.S. Walker Cup team;

• 2006 champion Mike Bell of Indianapolis vs. 2004 winner Mark Bemowski of Mukwonago, Wis.

• • •

Results from the Round of 16 at the USGA Senior Amateur, played Sept. 15 at Beverly Country Club in Chicago:

ROUND OF 16

Vinny Giles III def. Paul Simson, 2 and 1

William T. Doughtie def. Patrick O’Donnell, 1 up

John Pallin def. Sam Till Jr., 3 and 2

Michael Walters def. George Zahringer, 2 and 1

Greg Reynolds def. Robert Morris, 1 up

John Grace def. Bill Zylstra, 1 up

Mike Bell def. Stanford Lee, 1 up

Mark Bemowski def. Jeff Burda, 2 up

• • •

SECOND ROUND

Paul Simson def. Randy Nichols, 1 up

Vinny Giles III def. Tom Studer, 1 up

William T Doughtie def. Bill Ploeger, 1 up

Patrick O'Donnell def. Martin West, 2 up

John Pallin def. Graham Cooke, 5 and 3

Sam Till Jr. def. Weir King, 1 up

George Zahringer def. Neil Spitalny, 1 up

Michael Walters def. Stephen Bogan, 2 and 1

Robert Morris def. Kemp Richardson, 4 and 3

Greg Reynolds def. Frank Ford III, 1 up

John Grace def. Roger Gunderson, 2 up

Bill Zylstra def. Douglas Pool, 2 up

Mike Bell def. Robert Linn, 3 and 2

Stanford Lee def. Stewart Alexander, 5 and 4

Jeff Burda def. Allan Small, 6 & 5

Mark Bemowski def. Dan Bieber, 1 up

• • •

FIRST ROUND

Paul Simson def. Alan Bouchard, 2 and 1

Randy Nichols def. Thomas McGraw, 1 up

Vinny Giles III def. Bob Harrington, 20 holes

Tom Studer def. Stu Grendahl, 5 and 4

William T Doughtie def. Karl Simon, 6 and 5

Bill Ploeger def. J P Leigh, 4 and 3

Patrick O'Donnell def. Dan Pouliot, 4 and 2

Martin West def. Gray Tuttle, 3 and 1

John Pallin def. Bill Leonard, 5 and 4

Graham Cooke def. Daniel Houlihan, 4 and 2

Sam Till Jr. def. Paul Schlachter, 4 and 3

Weir King def. Bill Barnes, 2 up

George Zahringer def. John Benson, 4 and 3

Neil Spitalny def. Steve Whittaker, 3 and 2

Michael Walters def. Larry Clark, 3 and 2

Stephen Bogan def. Steve Johnson, 4 and 2

Kemp Richardson def. Patrick Tallent, 4 and 3

Robert Morris def. Gary Daniels, 2 and 1

Greg Reynolds def. John Darr, 3 and 1

Frank Ford III def. John Bunn, 4 and 3

John Grace def. Spike Smith, 21 holes

Roger Gunderson def. Norman Swenson, 4 and 3

Bill Zylstra def. David Williamson, 19 holes

Douglas Pool def. John Peters, 2 up

Mike Bell def. Stephen Larson, 4 and 3

Robert Linn def. Ian Harris, 1 up

Stewart Alexander def. Donald Bliss, 2 and 1

Stanford Lee def. Tom Elfers, 1 up

Jeff Burda def. Bob Varn, 6 and 5

Allan Small def. Jay Blumenfeld, 4 and 3

Dan Bieber def. Randy Reifers, 2 up

Mark Bemowski def. John Olive, 3 and 2

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