Nine golfers play for eight spots at Senior Am

Paul Simson

Paul Simson

MANAKIN-SABOT, Va. - Talk about pressure.

At the USGA Senior Amateur, nine golfers returned to the golf course Monday morning for a playoff to determine the final eight spots in match play.

All nine had finished the 36-hole qualifier on Sunday with scores of 7-over 151 for two rounds at Kinloch Golf Club.

The playoff started and ended on the 403-yard 10th hole. Amazingly, just two of the nine golfers made par. Six made bogey.

That left Ken Larney of Orland Park, Ill., as the loser. Larney stumbled with a double-bogey six on the hole.

Ironically, Larner hit the best tee shot among all nine players. He was in the middle of the fairway, about 140 yards from the green, although he hit a fat second shot that flew into a creek short of the green.

That left several other players scrambling for bogey.

Among them was 71-year-old Mike Rice of Houston, Texas, the 2005 Senior Amateur champion. Rice hit his second shot to the front of the green before banging a 50-foot putt that catapulted past the hole, rolled down a slope and ended up 25 feet away. He drilled his next putt almost three feet beyond the hole, but sank the putt to earn a match play spot against long-hitting Rick Woulfe of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Making par in the playoff were Bobby Barben of Avon Park, Fla., and Steve Whittaker of Becker, Minn.

Advancing with bogeys were Rice, Casey Boyns of Pacific Grove, Calif., Ian Harris of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Rich Tolly of Laguna Hills, Calif., Bill Doughtie of Amarillo, Texas, and Armen Dirtadian of Tucson, Ariz.

Dirtadian earned the dubious honor of going against qualifying medalist and defending champion Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C., in the first round of match play

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