WEST CALDWELL, N.J. – The defending USGA Senior Amateur champion went down in flames Wednesday, putting like a man with Crooked Aim Disease and losing in the quarterfinal round of match play.
“I didn’t make a putt all day,” said 2011 winner Louis Lee of Heber Springs, Ark., who won his first three matches here at Mountain Ridge Country Club before falling to Jim Knoll of Sunnyvale, Calif. “I just didn’t have it today, and Jim made some key shots.”
If the putting gods were against Lee, they smiled on Knoll, who sank a 48-foot birdie putt on No. 10 and a 23-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole. That was enough to secure a 2-up victory.
The match went to the 18th green, where Lee faced a 28-foot birdie putt that could have squared the match. However, he three-putted for bogey before conceding a par to Knoll.
The 56-year-old Lee was trying to become the first back-to-back Senior Amateur champion since the legendary Bill Campbell in 1979 and 1980.
It rained throughout the morning, flooding several of the greens and causing a delay of more than an hour.
“It’s hard to stop like that,” Lee said ...
West Caldwell, N.J. – Paul Simson has played in 55 USGA championships during his long career, but few rounds have been as satisfying as the one he experienced Wednesday afternoon in the semifinal round of the USGA Senior Amateur.
Simson, 61, made five birdies, one eagle and 10 pars at Mountain Ridge Country Club in a 3 & 2 victory over Jim Knoll, 60. “It was smokin’ out there,” said Simson, 7-under-par for 16 holes.
Indeed. These were legitimate scores, not match-play concessions. Simson, the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur champion who is seeking his second title, was on fire.
So was Knoll for that matter. He was 3-under-par against Simson, but it wasn’t enough firepower against a man who is attempting to defy Father Time. At 61, Simson has remained consistently competitive. In the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur, he was 2-under-par in losing to eventual winner Nathan Smith 2 & 1 in the first round of match play.
“I don’t think about age,” said Simson, who lives in Raleigh, N.C. “I’m just going to keep playing as long as I can.”
In Thursday’s 18-hole final, Simson will go against 55-year-old Curtis Skinner of Lake Bluff, Ill. Simson ...
WEST CALDWELL, N.J. – It wasn’t so long ago that spectators wondered out loud when the first reinstated amateur would win the USGA Senior Amateur.
In the 1980s, reinstated amateurs already were flexing their muscles in national competition. When reinstated amateur Stewart "Buddy" Alexander won the U.S. Amateur in 1986, it didn’t really surprise anyone.
But the Senior Amateur seemed different. These were retired laborers and businessmen, right? Senior amateur competition seemed to be a mulligan for these golf lovers, who were ready to play after a lifetime of work.
In 1999, former pro Gary Menzel of Milwaukee lost to Bill Ploeger in the final of the USGA Senior Amateur. Menzel was a thoughtful, articulate man who worked as a police officer and wanted to supplement his income as a teaching pro.
Finally, in 2007, a reinstated amateur won the USGA Senior Amateur. Stan Lee of Heber Springs, Ark., was the polar opposite of Menzel. He was a touring pro who 30 years earlier, back in 1977, finished second to Jim Simons in the PGA Tour’s New Orleans Open.
As a competitor, Lee was an amateur-turned-pro-turned-amateur. Many fellow senior amateur players expressed their distaste for a ...
WEST CALDWELL, N.J. – Gerardo Ramirez, known to his friends as Harry, was probably the happiest golfer in New Jersey after scoring a 2-and-1 victory over medalist Jim Holtgrieve, the U.S. Walker Cup captain, in the second round of the USGA Senior Amateur.
Ramirez, sitting in the locker room at Mountain Ridge Country Club, looked up at the ceiling as if to thank the lord of birdies. “Wow, what a match," he said. "What a great match.”
After 10 holes, Ramirez was 3 down. He won five of the next seven holes against a man who shot 68-68 in qualifying and then romped, 4 and 3, over Pat Tallent of Vienna, Va., in the opening round of match play.
Ramirez, who lives in San Antonio, owns a company that sells high-end data cable. “There are 105 people in our family,” he said. “That’s just me and my brothers and sisters and all the kids and grandkids.”
In the locker room, he probably called all 105 of them on his cellphone. He even had time to receive a call from former touring pro Frank Conner, known as one of two men to play in the U.S. Open in ...
WEST CALDWELL, N.J. – The bigger they are, the louder they crash.
Here at Mountain Ridge Country Club, everybody seemed to be talking about the fall of Chip Lutz in the first round of match play in the USGA Senior Amateur Championship. Lutz, widely recognized as the top senior amateur golfer in the world, ended up Monday on the short end of a 1-up victory by Jim Knoll of Sunnyvale, Calif.
Lutz ran into the 'Big 60s,' as in the 60-year-old Knoll and his amazing 60-degree wedge.
The match had a spectacular finish. The 57-year-old Lutz, who lives in Reading, Pa., was 1 down heading into the 412-yard, par-4 18th hole. He hit a brilliant second shot that left him with a 6-foot birdie putt. Meanwhile, Knoll missed the green short and right.
Knoll, who paced his distance from the hole at 70 feet, decided to hit a low, spinning shot with his 60-degree friend.
“I love this club," Knoll said. "I pinched it. I hit it perfect, to be honest. I hit a low, driving shot – it looks like it’s going too far, but it checks on the second bounce. When it got to about 5 feet from ...
WEST CALDWELL, N.J. - Age is continually being redefined in golf. Older players are performing like young men. Just look at this year’s USGA Senior Amateur here at Mountain Ridge Country Club.
Mark Bemowski, who owns a remarkable senior amateur career, is 66. When the Mukwonago, Wisc., golfer concluded 36-hole qualifying Sunday, he stood at 140 with scores of 69 and 71. His only bogeys in the second round came on 3-putts. Bemowski, who has won the Senior Amateur once and been runner-up twice, remains a ballstriking marvel.
And he isn’t the only one. Mike Rice of Houston, Texas, is 72. He opened with 78, then matched his age with 72 to move into match play.
In case a reminder is needed: The minimum age for the Senior Amateur is 55, so Rice is spotting 17 years to some of the competitors. No matter.
David Jacobsen of Portland, Ore., is the older brother of popular touring pro Peter Jacobsen. In the recent Oregon Mid-Amateur Championship, the 59-year-old Jacobsen overcame the challenge of several golfers in their late 20s to win the state championship for 25-and-older players.
Just think of what Jacobsen accomplished: He was more than twice the ...
Points are not listed for the four January 2013 events because a point format change is under consideration. All four events will continue to have equal point values. There will likely be a January Swing Bonus Pool again. Details to follow and more tournaments will be added to the schedule when dates are firm.
The Committee may add or remove tournaments based on their qualifications. No tournament has ever been removed.
The Committee reserves the right to adjust point allocations when justified by size and/or strength of the field.
Please contact Bruce Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, new information or corrections.
USGA Senior Amateur
Mountain Ridge C.C. – West Caldwell, N.J.
Senior Azalea Amateur
Charleston C.C. – Charleston, S.C.
Urquit Morris – 843.556.4111
Harvey Penick Invitational
Austin C.C. – Austin, Texas
Rod Harris - 512.328.8006
Yeamans Hall Senior Invitational
Yeamans Hall G.C. – Charleston, S.C.
James Popa – 614.487.1207
Society of Seniors Championships
John Owens Super Senior
Fiddlesticks C.C. – Ft. Myers, Fla.
James Popa ...
Chip Lutz joined select company when he successfully defended the British Seniors Amateur Championship at Machynys Peninsula in Wales. He became only the third man to record back-to back victories.
The 57-year-old from Pennsylvania joins legendary Scotsman Charlie Green and Ron White as the only players to win consecutive championships. Lutz finished runner-up two years ago, won at Royal Portrush last year and then saved his best for last in Wales.
Lutz, who finished low amateur in this year’s British Senior Open Championship at Turnberry, entered the final round a stroke behind three-time winner Paul Simson after scores of 73 and 70. However, Lutz closed with a 4-under-par 68 for a 211 total, 5-under-par, to win by four over fellow Americans Simson, Douglas Pool and Steve Rogers.
“It feels unreal to have won again,” Lutz said. “It is a significant achievement as it has not been done for about 20 years, and then by Charlie Green who I believe was something special. He won six times in seven years and I certainly have some way to go to catch him up.
“I felt good coming in to the tournament but the standard is so high these days that winning ...
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - In his opening remark while receiving his latest golfing honor, Paul Simson said, “This is really the apex for me in my (amateur) career.”
Considering everything the Raleigh, N.C., resident has done over his long and storied career in the amateur game, that was a pretty strong statement.
It came this past Tuesday night on the eve of the 106th Southern Amateur Championship when Simson was inducted into the Southern Golf Association Hall of Fame during dinner ceremonies at Chenal Country Club.
“What a wonderful honor,” he said. “It’s very, very special.”
One reason: The exclusiveness of this Hall of Fame.
It was established by the SGA in 1972, and its first inductee was Robert T. Jones Jr., who was inducted posthumously at the 1972 Southern Am at Green Island Country Club in Columbus, Ga.
It is unique in that it does not necessarily induct a member each year, nor does it select multiple inductees in any one year. In the hall's 41st year, Simson becomes only the 23rd member and the first since Hubert Green in 2006.
Hall-of-fame honors are nothing new for Simson, who lists six such accomplishments.
In addition to his ...
LAKE ORION, Mich. – Lance Ten Broeck, the 56-year-old journeyman who leads the U.S. Senior Open at the midway point, is a classic underdog.
He played in 349 PGA Tour events without winning. He has no exempt status on the 50-and-older Champions Tour.
He is a full-time professional caddie, paid to carry a big, heavy bag while someone else swings the clubs from that bag.
If we were watching David vs. Goliath, Ten Broeck would be David. With one arm tied behind his back.
If we were watching a movie, he would be Forrest Gump, undersized but stubbornly ready to take on the world.
If we were watching a sporting event, he would be the Chicago Cubs, fruitlessly dreaming of a World Series title.
But he is Lance Ten Broeck, the man with one distinction that is likely never to be matched. In 2009, he became the only person to caddie and play in the same PGA Tour event.
That was the Valero Texas Open, where he caddied for Jesper Parnevik and also earned a last-minute spot as a player. He was eligible for that spot because he had made 150 cuts on the PGA Tour.
Actually Ten Broeck carried ...
The cities change. The golf courses change. Even some of the players change.
For Tim Jackson, it doesn’t seem to matter. There’s just something about the U.S. Senior Open that brings out some of the best for this highly respected amateur.
He’s hoping that will continue this week when he competes in his fourth USGA championship at Indianwood Golf & Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich.
From the time he became age eligible for this event in 2009, the 53-year-old Jackson has made it his top priority on his playing schedule.
“This week, for me, is my whole year,” said Jackson, from Germantown, Tenn., and a 10-time Tennessee Player of the Year. “I pretty much set my whole golf schedule around (U.S. Senior Open).”
While he goes up against the best of the over-50 group, Jackson is hardly intimidated or feels as if he doesn’t belong.
“I don’t know what it is, but I just feel very comfortable playing in the Senior Open,” he said. “I like the way the USGA sets up the courses, and I always try to stay upbeat and positive during the competition.”
It’s been working so far, that ...
Paul Simson outlasted Emile Vaughan in a sudden-death playoff June 22 to walk away with the National Senior Hall of Fame Trophy. Simson also won this event in 2010.
Simson, of Raleigh, N.C., finished regulation at 2-under 216, which left him tied with Vaughan. The pair returned to the High Point Country Club’s Willow Creek Course and played the par-4 18th. Simson made par to escape with the victory.
Simson also won the Crane Cup Senior earlier this year, and will be inducted into the Southern Golf Hall of Fame next month. He won the Canadian Senior and the British Senior in 2010
Brady Exber, who co-led with Paul Schlachter after Round 2, finished solo third at even-par 216. Schlachter was another shot back in fourth, while Robert Desjardins and Logan Jackson finished joint fifth at 2-over 218.
Meet Golfweek's Players of the Year for 2011:
Chip Lutz, Reading, Pa. – 6,550 points
- Second consecutive POY. Won both years he was eligible.
- Won eight of the nine points events in which he played.
- Only loss was in the semi-finals of USGA Senior Amateur.
- Won the British and Canadian Senior Amateurs.
Ron Carter, Monticello, Ind. – 5,454 points
- Won the Porter Cup and the Dixie Senior.
- Qualified for U.S. Senior Open.
- Finished in the top 10 in nine of 14 point events played
Bill Zylstra, Plymouth, Mich. – 5, points
- Won the Riverwood, the Moot Thomas, the Georgia Senior, and the US Senior Challenge.
- Finished in the top ten in 10 of the 11 poinst tournaments in which he played.
- Made match play in USGA Senior Amateur.
Ted Smith, Wilkinson, Ind. – 4,015 points
- Had seven senior top-10 finishes.
- Played all but one event as a senior, though he was eligible to play in the super seniors division.
- Won the only super senior event he entered, the John Kline Super Senior.
Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C. – 4,015 points
- Played in only eight points events.
- Won the Dale Morey and the North & South senior championships.
- Was ...
Dick Pfeil shot a dominating final-round, bogey-free 66 to overcome a first-round 81 and win the senior division of the Golfweek Senior National Championship at Waterlefe Golf & River Club in Sarasota, Fla. His total of 218 was five better than Kelly Roberts of London, Ontario, and Vance Antoniou, who resides in North Barrington, Ill.
Pfeil was 10 shots behind when the final round began, but when second-round leader Antoniou faltered, Pfeil's nearly blemish-free golf gave him a comfortable win. In the last round of the Gateway Senior Invitational just eight days earlier, the Lake Geneva, Wis., native shot a bogey-free 63 to win his first senior point event of 2011.
In the super senior division, Ted Smith won his third of the four January points events. Rounds of 74-73-70 eased him to a seven-shot victory over Bill Spadafora of Bluffton, S.C., and topped Pinehurst's Gary Strickfaden and Don Valcheff, of Nokesville, Va. Smith made an eagle, 10 birdies and had only two double-bogeys on the hazard-laden Waterlefe course.
The field rang up 299 double bogeys and 110 "others" in the 206 rounds played. The hole with the highest average was the 140-yard par-3 15th. The field averaged ...
FT. MYERS, Fla. – For the first time in three years, the Gateway Senior Invitational, a January Swing event, was blessed with warm, sunny weather and little wind. In prime final-round conditions, Richard Pfeil shot a 9-under 63 for an 8-under 208 total that set new course and tournament records. Pfeil won the senior division by eight shots over Bill Zylstra of Plymouth, Mich., and nine over Tom Case of Naples, Fla.
The super senior competition was more of a horse race as 12 players were within three shots of the lead entering the final round. Edward Craig of Orlando, Fla., and Bill McDonald of Troy, Mich., were tied atop the leaderboard at 147.
In the final round, Craig shot 76 to drop into a tie for fourth while McDonald’s 73 came up short of winner Ted Smith, who shot a 70 to overcome a two-shot deficit. He earned the title with a 219 total and left McDonald one shot back in solo second.