Giles, Grace to meet in Senior Am final

CHICAGO – Two lifelong friends will be opponents in Thursday’s championship match of the 55th USGA Senior Amateur at Beverly Country Club.

Vinny Giles III of Richmond, Va., and John Grace of Fort Worth, Texas, teammates in 1975 on what is perhaps the most talented U.S. team in Walker Cup history, each won two matches Wednesday to advance into the final. Giles eliminated William Doughtie of Amarillo, Texas, 2 and 1, and John Pallin of Kenoska, Wis., 1 up; Grace defeated two former champions, Greg Reynolds of Grand Blanc, Mich., 3 and 1, and Mark Bemowski of Mukwanago, Wis., 3 and 2.

Giles and Grace were on the ’75 U.S. team that won the Walker Cup at St. Andrews, Scotland. Others on that squad included eventual major championship winners Curtis Strange, Jerry Pate and Craig Stadler, as well as Jay Haas, William C. Campbell, George Burns III, Gary Koch and Dick Siderowf.

“Oh, I’ve got a lot of stories from that week,” said Grace, the 1974 U.S. Amateur runner-up. “I can’t tell a lot of them, but that was one very talented team. I’ve never played a match against Vinny, but we’ve played together in a lot of tournaments over the years, British Amateurs, U.S. Amateurs, that sort of thing. Vinny’s always been the kind of guy you look up to.”

Grace’s match against Bemowski, the 2004 Senior Amateur champion and twice a runner-up, wasn’t an artistic masterpiece as both players struggled on the front side and twice halved holes with bogeys. With the match all square, Grace went ahead for good at the short par-4 14th when Bemowski hit his approach over the green and missed a 4-foot putt for par. Bemowski had to play short of the green at 15th after hitting his tee shot into the trees, but Grace got up-and-down from 10 yards short of the green by making an 18-foot par putt to go 2 up. Grace then closed out the match at the next hole when Bemowski hit his approach into the front bunker and missed a 10-footer for par.

“I really have played poorly on the front side this week,” said Grace, “but for some reason I’ve played much better after the turn. Today I said, ‘If I can play this back nine in even par or 1 over, I can win,’ and I think I was 1 over. He gave me some help, though.”

Giles lost a 3-up lead, but he went ahead for keeps at the 15th with a two-putt par from 45 feet and Pallin missed a long par putt. Giles then made a great par save at the par-3 17th with a 14-foot putt.

“Usually if you win a match-play tournament, you get one walkover,” said Giles, whose five matches have gone 17, 17, 18, 18 and 20 holes. “Most of the time you get away with one mediocre or bad round. I haven’t had my bad round yet. I hope it doesn’t come tomorrow.”

• • •

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

SEMIFINALS

Vinny Giles III def. John Pallin, 1 up

John Grace def. Mark Bemowski, 3 and 2

• • •

QUARTERFINALS

Vinny Giles III def. William T. Doughtie, 2 and 1

John Pallin def. Michael Walters, 2 up

John Grace def. Greg Reynolds, 3 and 1

Mark Bemowski def. Mike Bell, 2 and 1

• • •

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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