Manakin-Sabot, Va. – In what is believed to be the first match between two brothers in USGA history, Louis Lee defeated his brother, Stanford, in 19 holes to lead a group of four players into Wednesday afternoon’s semifinals at the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, being conducted at 6,829-yard, par-72 Kinloch Golf Club in Manakin-Sabot, Va.
Prior to the Senior Amateur, Louis Lee, 55, of Heber Springs, Ark., had not played a competitive event in more than 25 years. Yet he is now two wins away from joining his brother as a USGA champion.
“It was my first competition since 1985,” said Louis Lee. “I was way out of my comfort zone.”
But playing with his brother made things a bit easier. Louis Lee built a 2-up lead through 15 holes, but a bogey on the 16th cut his advantage to one. After the 17th was halved with pars, Stanford, the older Lee by four years, stuck his approach shot on 18 to with 2 feet of the hole.
The conceded birdie forced extra holes. After both players knocked their second shots onto the green at the par-4 first hole in regulation, Louis Lee drained his 20-foot birdie putt , prompting a pat on the back from his brother. When Stanford Lee’s birdie putt slid by, the two shared a hearty embrace.
“In one way it was the most fun round and in the other way it was the most difficult round I’ve ever played,” said Louis Lee. “You want to play good, you want to win, but it’s OK if you don’t win. That’s a strange sensation in golf.”
Stanford Lee, the 2007 Senior Amateur champion, will caddie for his brother this afternoon, something Louis Lee has done for his brother dozens of times.
“I’ve caddied for him all of his life,” said Louis Lee, “so turnabout is fair play.”
Philip Pleat, 55, of Nashua, N.H., continued a strong showing by New Hampshire natives in USGA championships this season, thwarting Paul Simson’s effort to defend his 2010 Senior Amateur title.
Keene, N.H., resident Chelso Barrett was the runner-up at the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur at Gold Mountain Golf Club. Pleat played against Barrett’s father, Hugh, in the final of the 1981 New Hampshire Amateur.
In one of the three quarterfinal matches that went the distance this morning, Pleat led throughout, but needed several clutch putts down the stretch, including an 8-foot birdie for a halve on the par-5 13th to hold off a charging Simson.
“That was a big putt to stay up in the match,” said Pleat. “The guy is a legend. I’ve read about him all my life. I knew I had play well to be competitive and luckily I was today.”
In a match between fellow Texans, William Thomas Doughtie, 58, of Amarillo, beat McAllen’s Ronald Kilby, 56, by a 4-and-3 margin.
Doughtie barely advanced to match play, making a double bogey on his final hole of qualifying. He survived a playoff and was seeded as the No. 63 player in the match-play bracket.
“I did it the hard way, but have played a little better each match,” said Doughtie. “It was fun out here. Ron is a [University of Houston] guy and I played John Grace [of Fort Worth] yesterday. I said, ‘Shoot we could’ve done all this in Texas!’ ”
For the third time in four matches, Chip Lutz, 56, of Reading, Pa., needed all 18 holes to decide his match. Lutz won the final three holes to defeat Jeff Burda, 58, of Modesto, Calif., 1 up.
“I’m going to need to get on life support with all these close matches,” said Lutz, who is vying to join Simson as the only players to win the senior amateur championships of Canada, Britain and the United States in the same season.
“I’ve had a lot of experience this past year-and-a-half winning tournaments with matches being tight down the stretch,” he added. “It allows you to be a little calmer and ‘in the moment’ and I’ve been able to build off that.”
Lutz rolled in an 18-foot right-to-left swinger on No. 17 for birdie to square the match, then stiffed a 60-degree wedge from 85 yards to within 8 inches on the 18th for a conceded birdie to close out Burda.
The semifinal round will be conducted on Wednesday afternoon. The championship is scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Thursday.
All semifinalists will be exempt into the 2012 and 2013 USGA Senior Amateurs.
The USGA Senior Amateur, open to male golfers 55 and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Michael Trostel is the curator/historian at the USGA Museum. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manakin-Sabot, Va. – Results from Wednesday morning’s quarterfinal round of match play at the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, played at 6,821-yard, par-72 Kinloch Golf Club.
Philip Pleat, Nashua, N.H. (144) def. Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C. (139), 2 up
Chip Lutz, Reading, Pa. (142) def. Jeff Burda, Modesto, Calif. (147), 1 up
William Thomas Doughtie, Amarillo, Texas (151) def. Ronald Kilby, McAllen, Texas (143), 4 and 3
Louis Lee, Heber Springs, Ark. (150) def. Stanford Lee, Heber Springs, Ark. (149), 19 holes
Manakin-Sabot, Va. – Pairings for Wednesday afternoon’s semifinal round of match play at the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, played at 6,821-yard, par-72 Kinloch Golf Club.
2 p.m.: Philip Pleat, Nashua, N.H. (144) vs. Chip Lutz, Reading, Pa. (142)
2:15 p.m.: William Thomas Doughtie, Amarillo, Texas (151) vs. Louis Lee, Heber Springs, Ark. (150)