2012 Mid-Amateur Storylines


By Christina Lance
September 7, 2012

The youngest player in the championship is Canadian Garrett Rank, who turned 25 on Sept. 5, three days before the start of the championship. The oldest player is 61-year-old Paul Simson, of Raleigh, N.C., who is exempt into the championship. The oldest qualifier is Allan Small, 60, of Florham Park, N.J. Small will turn 61 on Sept. 10, the first day of match play.

The average age of the championship field is 37.67. There are 94 reinstated amateurs in the field.

There are 10 USGA champions in the field: Austin Eaton III, 43, of Attleboro, Mass. (2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Tim Hogarth, 46, of Northridge, Calif. (1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links); Tim Jackson, 53, of Germantown, Tenn. (1994, 2001 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Randal Lewis, 55, of Alma, Mich. (2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Kevin Marsh, 39, of Henderson, Nev. (2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Paul Simson (2010 USGA Senior Amateur); Nathan Smith, 34, of Pittsburgh, Pa. (2003, 2009, 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Steve Wilson, 42, of Ocean Springs, Miss. (2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Dave Womack, 33, of McDonough, Ga. (2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur); and George Zahringer, 59, of New York, N.Y. (2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur).

There are also four team champions in the field: Tim Jackson (2003 USGA Men’s State Team, Tennessee); Bryan Norton, 53, of Mission Hills, Kan. (2010 USGA Men’s State Team, Kansas); Sean Knapp, 50, of Oakmont, Pa. (2009 USGA Men’s State Team, Pennsylvania); and Nathan Smith (2009 USGA Men’s State Team, Pennsylvania).

There are five countries represented in the Mid-Amateur field: Australia, Bermuda, Canada, England and the United States.

There are 43 states represented in the Mid-Amateur field: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Thirteen players competed in the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship: Jeff Chapman, 36, of Ruidoso, N.M.; Kenny Cook, 32, of Noblesville, Ind.; Barry Dyche, 36, of Charlotte, N.C.; Douglas Hanzel, 55, of Savannah, Ga.; Tim Hogarth; Robert Leopold, 27, of Cranston, R.I.; Randal Lewis; John McClure, 53, of Los Angeles, Calif.; Gary Nicklaus, 43, of Jupiter, Fla.; Nathan Smith; Ricky Stockton, 26, of Salinas, Calif.; Brad Valois, 25, of Warwick, R.I.; and Chris Waters, 25, of Athens, Ga. Cook, Dyche, Hanzel, Leopold and Valois advanced to match play.

Five players competed in the 2012 U.S. Senior Open: Douglas Hanzel; Tim Jackson; Sean Knapp; Randal Lewis; and Marty Rifkin, 52, of Fort Wayne, Ind. Hanzel and Knapp made the cut, with Hanzel taking low-amateur honors.

Three players in the field have represented the USA at the Walker Cup Match: Tim Jackson (1995, 1999), Nathan Smith (2009, 2011) and George Zahringer (2003).

One Mid-Amateur player has represented his home country at the World Amateur Team Championship: Jarryd Dillas, 27, of Bermuda (2002, 2004, 2008, 2010).
Three players in the field have represented their home country at the Copa de las Americas: Jarryd Dillas (2010, Bermuda), Austin Eaton III (2005, USA) and Nathan Smith (2010, USA).

Three players in the Mid-Amateur field competed in the 1998 U.S. Junior Amateur conducted at Conway Farms: Luke Bakke, 31, of Little Rock, Ark.; Garren Poirier, 32, of Killington, Vt.; and Michael Sims, 31, of West Columbia, S.C. Sims lost in the first round of match play to future USGA champion and 2001 USA Walker Cup Team member D.J. Trahan (2000 U.S. Amateur Public Links), while Bakke and Poirier missed the match-play cut.

There are several relatives of USGA champions in the field. Mason Casper, 25, of Lindon, Utah, is the grandson of three-time USGA champion Billy Casper. Brad Hardin, 35, of Fort Wayne, Ind., is the brother of 1998 Girls’ Junior champion Leigh Anne (Hardin) Creavy. Gary Nicklaus is the son of eight-time USGA champion Jack Nicklaus. Tom Strange, 30, of Raleigh, N.C., is the son of two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange.

There are two Conway Farms members in the field: Andrew Price, 30, of Lake Forest, Ill.; and Scott Rowe, 37, of Hinsdale, Ill.

Additional Player Notes:

Ben Adelberg, 35, of Boynton Beach, Fla., competed in the 2005 Arctic Open Championship in Akureyri, Iceland.

Stephen Anderson, 42, of Hobe Sound, Fla., is a real-estate agent for Golden Bear Realty, which is affiliated with Jack Nicklaus and managed by his youngest son, Mike Nicklaus. Anderson is also an alumnus of Nicklaus’ alma mater, Ohio State University.

Casey Boyns, 56, of Monterey, Calif., has been a caddie at Pebble Beach Golf Links for 30 years.

John Brennan, 33, of Audubon, Pa., won the 2012 Golf Association of Philadelphia Mid-Amateur Championship.

Thomas Brennan, 51, of Covington, La., is a past president of the Louisiana Golf Association. He was the runner-up to Tim Jackson at the 1994 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Patrick Christovich, 34, of New Orleans, La., won the 2012 Louisiana State Amateur and 2010-12 Louisiana State Mid-Amateur Championships.    

Stevenson Clarke, 51, of West Palm Beach, Fla., is a former professional tennis player and was internationally ranked in the mid-1980s. He was the runner-up at the 1982 U.S. Amateur Championship, conducted by the United States Tennis Association, and also won the 1982 National Indoors Doubles Championship.

Matt Cohn, 31, of San Francisco, Calif., missed qualifying for the 1998 U.S. Junior Amateur conducted at Conway Farms by one stroke. Two of the qualifiers at his site were eventual champion James Oh and eventual runner-up Aaron Baddeley. He is excited to qualify for his first USGA championship and finally make a trip to Conway Farms.

Scott Congdon, 25, of Foxboro, Mass., is the assistant caddie master at Boston Golf Club.

Kenny Cook, 32, of Noblesville, Ind., was the runner-up to Randal Lewis at the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur. His wife, Lisa, qualified for the 2011 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, which was conducted concurrently with the Mid-Amateur at Bayville Golf Club in Virginia Beach, Va.

Stephen Cox, 26, of Jonesboro, Ark., played golf and basketball at the University of Arkansas. His father, Steve Cox, is a former National Football League punter and kicker who won the 1988 Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins. His 60-yard field goal in 1984 is tied for the third-longest field goal in NFL history. Cox credits his father for instilling in him a good work ethic, both on the golf course and in the workplace.

Brian Csipkes, 41, of Omaha, Neb., was a professional bowler in the early 1990s and had six 300 games.

Patrick Datz, 26, of Ames, Iowa, is an assistant golf coach at Iowa State University. He is often mistaken for tennis player Novak Djokovic.

Tripp Davis, 44, of Norman, Okla., is a golf course architect and worked with Justin Leonard to design the Old American Golf Club in Dallas. He has also headed restoration projects at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club (site of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links) and Oak Tree National (site of the 2014 U.S. Senior Open). Davis was a member of the University of Oklahoma men’s golf team that won the 1989 NCAA Division I Championship.

Jarryd Dillas, 27, was born and raised on the island nation of Bermuda, but has never eaten fish. He won the 2010-12 Bermuda Amateur Match Play Championship.

Andrew DiRamio, 29, of Quincy, Mass., is a summer caddie at Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Mass.

Andy Drohen, 43, of Granville, Mass., won the 2012 Massachusetts Golf Association Amateur Public Links Championship.

Woodie Eubanks, 36, of Trussville, Ala., is the men’s golf coach at Samford University, his alma mater.

Jeffrey Fortson, 38, of Palm Desert, Calif., was a scoreboard operator at the 15th hole at the 1995 Open Championship at St. Andrews.

James Gallagher, 53, of Yorktown, Va., served 27 years of active duty in the Air Force, including combat in both Gulf Wars and Kosovo, and retired as a colonel in 2008. He twice broke his back and underwent experimental surgery in 2002 that required him to sign an agreement to never again play sports. Following the successful surgery, Gallagher went back into active duty and was allowed to play golf. Gallagher was born with Poland Syndrome, which is characterized by an underdeveloped or missing pectoral muscle on one side of the body. It is similar to the condition of PGA Tour player Bryce Molder.

Zane Goldthorp, 31, of Tucker, Ga., portrayed a young Bob Jones in a Japanese documentary filmed at East Lake Golf Club in the early 1990s. He is the great-nephew of Betty Richart, who served as chairman of the USGA Women’s Committee in 1989 and 1990.

Andrew Grow, 26, of Madison, Wis., competed in the Junior Olympics as a gymnast.

Erik Hanson, 47, of Kirkland, Wash., is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher. He was named to the 1995 MLB All-Star Game as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

Douglas Hanzel, 55, of Savannah, Ga., was the low amateur at the 2012 Senior Open and advanced to the second round of the 2012 Amateur. A pulmonary physician, Hanzel wears an insulin pump to treat his diabetes.

Scott Harvey, 34, of High Point, N.C., won the 2012 Carolinas Mid-Amateur Championship. Harvey was a tri-medalist at the 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Anthony Hejna, 44, of Buffalo, N.Y., is competing in his first Mid-Amateur in 16 years. The St. Louis Blues selected him with the 52nd pick in the 1986 National Hockey League Draft; however, he retired in the minor leagues after one year due to multiple back injuries.

Dan Horner, 34, of Sandy, Utah, won the 2011 Utah Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship and has won every UGA major championship.

Scott Hval, 51, of Portland, Ore., is the only man to win the Oregon Golf Association’s Amateur (1997), Mid-Amateur (2007) and Senior Amateur (2011) Championships.

Trevor Hyde, 43, of Kerrville, Texas, is the president of Comanche Trace, a planned community and golf club.

Eddie Kenny, 42, of Lake Worth, Fla., considers one of his golf highlights to be catching a bass at Augusta National Golf Club.

Sean Knapp, 50, of Oakmont, Pa., has won eight Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championships, including the 2012 event. He is a 13-time WPGA player of the year, and won the honor in 2012.

Brian Komline, 38, of Bridgewater, N.J., won the 2012 New Jersey State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at Galloway National G.C., site of this year’s USGA Men’s State Team Championship.

Brad Landry, 32, of Scott, La., was a PGA Tour caddie in 2009-10, working with Luke List, Chris Kirk, Tom Byrum, Jerod Turner and Billy Horschel.

Robert Leopold, 27, of Cranston, R.I., advanced to the round of 16 at the 2011 U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills and 2012 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills. He and his wife, Taylor, are expecting their first child in December.

Jon Lindstrom, 45, of Broomfield, Colo., won the 2012 Colorado Golf Association Mid-Amateur Match Play.

Chip Lutz, 57, of Reading, Pa., won the 2011-12 Canadian Men's Senior and British Seniors Open Amateur Championships. He is the middle of three brothers, who are all named John - though they have different middle names. His younger brother goes by Putter, while his older brother goes by Wedge.

Kevin Marsh, 39, of Henderson, Nev., has fond memories of Conway Farms, although he never hit a shot. At the 1997 NCAA Division I Championship, Pepperdine coach John Geiberger came down with chickenpox and was quarantined in his hotel room. Marsh, who had graduated from Pepperdine five months earlier, happened to be in the area for an upcoming Hooters Tour event and was asked to serve as the team’s coach. The Waves went on to win the championship at Conway Farms, its only tournament win of the 1996-97 season.

Matthew Mattare, 26, of New York, N.Y., was the runner-up at the 2012 Metropolitan Golf Association’s Met Amateur Championship.

John McClure, 53, of Los Angeles, Calif., competed in the 1980 U.S. Amateur and became good friends with Fred Couples. He served as Couples’ caddie at the 1998 Presidents Cup.

Kyle Nathan, 28, of Glenview, Ill., won the 2012 Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship.

Bryan Norton, 53, of Mission Hills, Kan., was the runner-up to Nathan Smith at the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur. He was forced to concede the victory following 8½ holes after sustaining a calf injury.

Kyle Nuss, 32, of Casper, Wyo., is the executive director of the Wyoming State Golf Association. He has also worked for state golf associations in Nebraska and Texas, and is a member of the USGA’s Regional Affairs Committee.

John O’Donnell, 46, of Los Angeles, Calif., runs johnnie-O, a successful apparel company. His younger brother is actor Chris O’Donnell.

Drew Olsen, 29, of Piedmont, Calif., played quarterback for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and is second to Cade McNown in career passing attempts, passing yards and total offense. He holds UCLA’s single-season completions record with 242 in 2005, the same year he threw a record six touchdowns against Oregon State University and finished eighth in voting for the Heisman Trophy. Olsen played briefly in the National Football League, spending time with the Baltimore Ravens (2006), Carolina Panthers (2007) and San Francisco 49ers (2007), and was the starting quarterback in 2007 for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europa. He now works in commercial real estate.

Jason Perry, 40, of Australia, won the 2008-11 Australian Men’s Mid-Amateur Championships.

Garren Poirier, 32, of Killington, Vt., won the 2012 Vermont Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship.

Jesse Polk, 27, of Farmington, Minn., broke his neck at age 15 while playing hockey. Doctors were not sure if he would ever walk again; however, within six months, he was back on the ice.

David Poteet, 42, of Suwanee, Ga., rescued a family of three from their submerged car in 1996 after missing the cut at the Nike Huntsville Open. Along with John Nieporte, he received that year’s Mary Bea Porter Award from the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association, which is presented to “an individual in golf who, through a heroic or humanitarian act, saves or betters the lives of others.” Poteet’s co-worker, Greg Kennedy, 43, of Duluth, Ga., also qualified for the championship. Their offices at J. Smith Lanier & Co. are five rooms apart.

Joseph Prince, 34, of San Diego, Calif., is an assistant golf coach at the University of San Diego. At age 28, he won the 2006 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) individual championship while at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Jared Purvis, 33, of Valdosta, Ga., is the head golf coach at Valdosta State University.

Garrett Rank, 25, of Canada, is a member of Golf Canada’s national team. A cancer survivor, he is a professional hockey referee in the Ontario Hockey League.

Edward Richardson, 44, of England, is a survivor of myelofibrosis, a rare type of leukemia. He received two years of treatment, including three months in isolation.

Matt Robertson, 32, of Chattanooga, Tenn., was driving to the 2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links when he fell asleep at the wheel and ended up upside down in a tree. Doctors inserted a titanium plate and 17 screws to stabilize his broken bones.

Eric Rustand, 43, of Tucson, Ariz., won the 1996 Pakistan Masters. He served a two-year Mormon mission in Madrid, Spain, where was able to meet golf legends Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Nick Schenk, 28, of Saint Charles, Ill., has previous experience at Conway Farms – he played in the 2002 Canon Cup that was conducted here. His teammates on the East Team included future professional stars Chris Kirk, Brittany Lincicome, Inbee Park, Webb Simpson and Morgan Pressel, the latter three owning USGA championships.

Jeffrey Scohy, 47, of Bellbrook, Ohio, won the Armed Services Championship in 2001, 2004 and 2006 while on active Air Force duty. He represented the USA at the World Military Golf Championship.

Paul Simson, 61, of Raleigh, N.C., won the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur, British Seniors Open Amateur and Canadian Men’s Senior Championships, the latter by a 15-stroke margin. He is the only person to hold the three national-championship titles simultaneously.

Allan Small, 60, of Florham Park, N.J., was the head golf coach at Seton Hall University in the 1990s and is currently an assistant coach. He won the 2008-09 and 2011-12 New Jersey State Golf Association Senior Amateur, and is a past president of the Metropolitan Golf Association.

Douglas Stadler, 25, of Wexford, Pa., took a year between completing his undergraduate degree and starting law school to work as a caddie for his good friend, Mike Van Sickle. His Mid-Amateur qualifier was his first competitive round since beginning law school at Villanova University in the fall of 2010.

Ricky Stockton, 26, of Salinas, Calif., is a caddie at Tehama Golf Club in Carmel, Calif.

Walker Taylor, 50, of Wilmington, N.C., has completed four marathons and two Olympic-distance triathlons. He is currently training for his first Ironman triathlon in October.

Brian Tennyson, 50, of Fullerton, Calif., has lived in more than 25 countries and won the 1987 India and Philippine Opens. He was the runner-up at the 1990 Bob Hope Desert Classic (now the Humana Challenge) and the 1998 Hardees Golf Classic (now the John Deere Classic).

Ryan Tjeerdsma, 40, of Slayton, Minn., recently helped start the boys golf team at Murray County Central High School in his hometown and is a volunteer assistant coach for the boys and girls teams. The spring of 2012 was the first time in 32 years that the school fielded a boys team, which went on to finish fourth in the state tournament.

Walter Todd, 52, of Laurens, S.C., is a past president of the Carolinas Golf Association.

Nick Ushijima, 47, of Hillsborough, Calif., is a member of The Olympic Club, which hosted the 2012 U.S. Open. His caddie at the Mid-Amateur is Matt Baumann, a junior member at Olympic. Ushijima, who was born in Japan and moved to the United States at age 14, won the 2007 and 2008 Japan Mid-Amateur Championships.

Michael VanSistine, 52, of Caledonia, Ill., is the general manager of The Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Club.

Kevin Wassmer, 46, of Poseyville, Ind., is the girls golf coach at North Posey High School.

Christopher Watson, 42, of Newtown, Conn., recently returned from an African safari in celebration of his wife’s birthday.

Matthew Williams, 33, of Overland Park, Kan., is the executive director of the Kansas City Golf Association. He conducted the Kansas City-area Mid-Amateur qualifier on Aug. 7 and flew to Albuquerque the next day to compete in that qualifier.

Kevin Wolf, 34, of Lodi, Calif., will have his father, Steve, as his caddie this week. Wolf caddied for his father when he competed at the 2002 U.S. Senior Open and the 2003 USGA Senior Amateur.


Christina Lance is a coordinator of championship communications for the USGA. Email her at clance@usga.org.

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