2012 USGA Men's State Team Storylines


By David Shefter, USGA
September 18, 2012

Oldest Team: Nevada (Average age: 50.67)
Youngest Team:
New York (Average age: 24.67)

Oldest competitor: Paul Simson, North Carolina (61)
Youngest competitor: Daniel Caban, Puerto Rico (15)

USGA champions in the field (3): Tim Jackson (1994 and 2001 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Paul Simson (2010 USGA Senior Amateur); Nathan Smith (2003, 2009, 2010 and 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur)

USA Walker Cup members in field (2): Tim Jackson (1995 and 1999); Nathan Smith (2009 and 2011)

Players in field competing in first USGA championship: 33

Number of golfers who qualified for the U.S. Amateur: 12
Number of golfers who made match play at the U.S. Amateur: 6

Number of golfers who qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur: 30
Number of golfers who advanced to match play at the U.S. Mid-Amateur: 19

Birthday boys: Drew Preston (Michigan) 22 on Sept. 20, the second day of the competition. Joshua Rhodes (Kentucky) turns 28 on Sept. 21, the last day of the competition.

Number of reinstated amateurs in the field: 51

Tidbits on individual players (in alphabetical order by state):

ALABAMA

Andy McRae, 30, of Hoover, says he has never eaten a McDonald’s hamburger, not because he is health conscious, but he has loved the fast-food restaurant’s Chicken McNuggets since childhood…The certified public accountant also won his state amateur with only 12 clubs.

Lew Mitchell, 29, of Troy, is a financial advisor for Wells Fargo…Although he attended Troy University, he is a huge fan of the Auburn Tigers.

Victor Kyatt III, 36, of Hoover, is a dentist who has done missionary work in Honduras (2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011) and taught part-time as a residency professor at the Foundry Dental Center in Bessemer.

ALASKA

Paul Blanche, 29, of Anchorage, works as a fisheries biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Kevin Daniels, 22, of Anchorage, has aspirations of someday becoming a Major League Baseball umpire. He’s been umpiring games since he was 12.

Adam Baxter, 30, of Fairbanks, once appeared on a segment of “Get Golf” hosted by John O’Hurley on the USA Network…A credit analyst, Baxter also owns dual citizenship with Australia and has traveled to the country frequently to visit and play golf.

ARIZONA

Andy Aduddell, 37, of Avondale, is an F-16 fighter pilot in the United States Air Force…He has received Top Gun awards for being best at bombing and Air to Air combat…He won the 2012 Arizona Amateur after not playing competitive golf for 10 years.

Adam Walicki, 32, of Phoenix, was the low individual at the 2003 USGA Men’s State Team Championship conducted at Charles River C.C. in suburban Boston. He was a two-time Horizon League champion at the University of Detroit.

Trey Martin, 35, of Scottsdale, was drafted in the eighth round of the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft by the Montreal Expos as a right-handed pitcher out of Arcadia High in Phoenix. Martin advanced as high as short-season Class A ball with Vermont in the New York-Penn League. He was 6-0 with a 5.44 ERA in the Gulf Coast Rookie League in Florida.

ARKANSAS

Chris Jenkins, 42, of Little Rock, comes from a family of golfers. Brothers Tim and Rick are golf pros, while his mother, father and nephews work at golf courses…Jenkins is a three-time Arkansas Player of the Year (1998, 1999 and 2001).

Wes McNulty, 43, of White Hall, is a farmer for Waterloo Farms who has been the Arkansas Player of the Year five times.

Joey Nichols, 39, of Little Rock, is a tax attorney for the firm Friday, Eldredge and Clark. He won the 2011 Arkansas Stroke Play Championship and was the 1991 Arkansas Junior Player of the Year.

CALIFORNIA

John McClure, 53, of Los Angeles, qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur in a span of four days…He once caddied for good friend Fred Couples at a Presidents Cup (1998)

Andrew Biggadike, 34, of Belmont, temporarily moved to New Jersey to be with his ailing father, who died from pancreatic cancer a day after he returned home from the 2012 U.S. Amateur. A software engineer who has been a member at The Olympic Club since 2006, Biggadike gave his sectional qualifying medal to his ailing father before departing for Cherry Hills. He qualified for match play and lost to Doug Hanzel in the first round. He also is a volunteer Rules official for the Northern California Golf Association and scored a 97 on the 2011 PGA/USGA Rules Test and a 92 this year.

Paul Misko, 23, of Thousand Oaks, currently works at a Roger Dunn Golf Shop. He advanced to match play at the 2012 U.S. Amateur, falling in the round of 32 to eventual semifinalist Brandon Hagy.

COLORADO

Brian Dorfman, 22, of Greenwood Village, broke the growth plate in his arm 13 years ago, so now his right arm is 2 inches shorter than his left…While playing for Georgetown University, he won the Big East Conference Championship.

Michael Harrington, 40, of Colorado Springs, is a financial advisor who played collegiately at the University of Rhode Island…An adventurous person, he enjoys hiking, jumping off cliffs and scuba diving.

Jon Lindstrom, 45, of Broomfield, was named the 2008 Colorado Mid-Amateur of the Year and has won two state titles in 2012: Colorado Mid-Amateur and Colorado 4-Ball.

CONNECTICUT

Brian Ahern, 37, of West Hartford, is a commercial proper underwriter who took six years off from competitive golf from 2002-2008. In 1998, he was named the University of Connecticut’s Most Outstanding Senior Athlete.

Jeffrey Hatten, 22, of Farmington, is a recent graduate of Yale University.

DELAWARE

Chase Brockstedt, 38, of Rehoboth Beach, is a lawyer with the firm Bifferato Gentilatti. His father escaped communist East Germany with other members of his family and came to the U.S. at 16. He worked his way through school without knowing any English.

Simon Hagger, 42, of Hockessin, owns English and Canadian citizenship, but owns a Green Card to work in the U.S. as a global marketing director for a major pharmaceutical company. Born in England, he has lived in 10 different houses and four different countries the past 16 years and speaks French, English and Spanish. At one point, Hagger was a member at three different golf clubs in three separate countries…He has also won two national golf titles in Peru.

Greg Wolfe, 40, of Newark, won the 1989 Delaware High School championship, the 2007 Delaware Open and the 2009 Delaware Amateur. He is representing his state for a third time in the Men’s State Team Championship.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Mychael Cohn, 32, of Washington, has been a vegetarian for 17 years.

Frank Alafoginis, 26, of Washington, is a wholesale food distributor for Capital Meat Company.

Rich Sobonya, 32, of Washington, works for the Bank of Georgetown.

FLORIDA

Jon Veneziano, 41, of Mt. Dora, is in the University of Hartford Hall of Fame and was a semifinalist at the 1988 U.S. Junior Amateur.

Joe Alfieri II, 43, of Lutz, is a two-time Florida State Golf Association Player of the Year (1999 and 2001)…Alfieri won his first tournament since being reinstated in July of 2011 this past April with his wife and son present.

GEORGIA

William Mitchell, 48, of Roswell, is a strength and conditioning coach for the Terminus Club, where one of his clients is PGA Tour golfer and 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink…Actor Chris O’Donnell, then 12, caddied for Mitchell at the 1983 U.S. Amateur at North Shore C.C. in Glenview, Ill.

David Noll Jr., 40, of Dalton, has tied orange ribbons to his golf hat since 2003 when his dad passed away a couple of days before the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Wilmington (Del.) C.C. The orange signifies his father’s love for the University of Tennessee Volunteers…Noll is a six-time Georgia State Golf Association Player of the Year and he won the Tommy Barnes Award (state’s overall top player, male or female) in 2008.

Mark Strickland, 43, of Woodstock, is entering his fourth decade of playing five different USGA events. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1990 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He also won the Hooters Lakewood Classic in 1992 before regaining his amateur status in 1998.

HAWAII

Dr. Carl Ho, 57, of Honolulu, competed in the 1972 U.S. Junior Amateur.

Eric Le, 17, of Aiea, and Kenji Miyata, 16, of Kapaa, are each high school seniors at Iolani and Kapaa highs, respectively.

IDAHO

Darren Kuhn, 45, of Pocatello, didn’t play golf until he was 20 and didn’t have his first formal lesson until he was 32. Kuhn started a wholesale delivery business after high school graduation that has grown from one employee to a staff of 18. The company (Idaho Bread) is in its 27th year of operation.

Everett Grimes II, 36, of Nampa, is both a bartender and plumber who is representing Idaho in the State Team Championship for a fourth time.

ILLINOIS

Andy Mickelson, 31, of Lockport, qualified for match play at the 2007 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club and he had NBC analysts Johnny Miller and Gary Koch standing behind him on the first tee of his round-of-64 match…Mickelson won four times while attending Bradley University.

Todd Mitchell, 34, of Bloomington, was the runner-up at the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Milwaukee C.C. and is a former minor-league infielder in the New York Yankees farm system. After two years in the system, he left baseball to get his degree in exercise physiology and is currently an insurance agent…Two-time Illinois State Amateur champion and three-time Illinois State Mid-Amateur champion.

Dave Ryan, 58, of Taylorville, qualified for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open and had his son, Zac, as his caddie…Ryan is a two-time Chicago District Golf Association Senior Player of the Year.

INDIANA

Kenny Cook, 32, of Noblesville, was the runner-up at the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur who advanced to match play at the 2012 U.S. Amateur…Cook works as an accountant for the U.S. Department of Defense Finance and Accounting Services.

Bob Stephens, 56, is a design technician for Indiana Power & Light, and a six-time Indiana 4-Ball Champion. He also made the cut at the 2008 U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Todd Palmer, 40, of Fishers, won the 2009 Indianapolis Open and finished third at the 2012 Indiana Amateur. He also won the 2007 Indiana Mid-Amateur.

IOWA

Dennis Bull, 30, of Norwalk, advanced to the quarterfinals of the recent U.S. Mid-Amateur at Conway Farms in his first-ever USGA championship.

Jon Olson, 32, of Ankeny, is a reinstated amateur (2009) who is competing in his first USGA event since the 2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links.

Gene Elliott, 50, of West Des Moines, was the stroke-play medalist at the 1999 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links…He is competing in his 23rd USGA championship and was a quarterfinalist at the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur…In 2011, he won the Iowa Amateur at 49 with his son, Sam, serving as his caddie…Elliott underwent open heart surgery in 2000 for an aneurysm on his aorta and 10 years later he had ablation surgery for afibulation.

KANSAS

Kit Grove, 37, of Lawrence, once played through Tiger Woods at the 1992 Big I Tournament…Says he used to dye his hair all the time and his mother makes his “almost all of my pants/shorts.”

Jack Courington, 23, of Wichita, owns two course records: one at Lake Jovita C.C. in Florida (63) and the other at Sand Creek Station (64) in Newton, Kan., which will host the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Zac Burton, 34, of Manhattan, is the father of four adopted children…Burton is a former quarterback at Kansas State, where he graduated in 2000.

KENTUCKY

Tyler Sharpe, 28, of Greensburg, represented Kentucky at the 2010 Men’s State Team Championship and is a past Kentucky Amateur (2008) champion.

Joshua Rhodes, 27, of Paducah, works as a hearing specialist. He broke his hand in a snowboarding accident in Montana in February, but he is back “and better than ever.”

LOUISIANA

Robby McWilliams, 44, of Bossier City, is a five-time club champion at Champions G.C. in Houston, site of the 1969 U.S. Open…He also advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Atlantic G.C. in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

Patrick Christovich, 34, of New Orleans, says he is addicted to two things: Tropical Dots and Haribo Gummy Bears…After getting his amateur status back four years ago, Christovich has won three Louisiana Golf Association Mid-Amateurs…This year, he shot a 59 at New Orleans Country Club.

Matt Nicholas, 33, of Lake Charles, named his only son, Jack. Although the last name is spelled differently, he said he couldn’t resist having a son named Jack Nicholas. He won the 2009 Louisiana Mid-Amateur.

MAINE

Ricky Jones, 40, of Thomaston, is a seven-time Maine Player of the Year who has spent time the last three years coaching his daughter’s basketball team…He also is a volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Mark Plummer, 60, of Manchester, advanced to the semifinals of the 1995 U.S. Amateur at Newport (R.I.) Country Club before losing to Tiger Woods, 2 down…He has also played golf with Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and is in the University of Maine Hall of Fame.

MARYLAND

Serge Hogg, 38, of Baltimore, caddies at Seminole Golf Club (winter) and Caves Valley (summer)… He also has been the coach of the John Carroll High golf team since 2005…Says his true desire is to get up on stage and sing Johnny Cash songs.

Mark Cusic, 34, of California, claimed the 2011 Maryland Amateur.

Michael Mulieri, 25, of Silver Springs, was the 2007-2008 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s Student Athlete of the Year while attending Loyola (Md.) University.

MASSACHUSETTS

Herbie Aikens, 30, of Kingston, started his own electrical company from scratch and turned it into a multi-million dollar business with more than 30 employees…He also has had floor seats to Boston Celtics games for the past five years.

Brian Higgins, 37, of Bellingham, says he never wears shorts while playing golf, even in hot weather…He is a two-time Massachusetts Golf Association Player of the Year (2008 and 2010).

Doug Clapp, 45, of Walpole, was a second-team Division III All-American at Amherst College in 1989…He is currently an attorney for the firm Holland & Knight LLP.

MICHIGAN

Tom Werkmeister, 44, of Kentwood, has rolled seven perfect 300 games in bowling and carries a 220 average in three leagues…He was named the Golf Association of Michigan Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

Drew Preston, 21, of Grand Rapids, won the 2012 Michigan Amateur at Oakland Hills in suburban Detroit and will graduate with a business degree from Bowling Green this December.

Brian Hayward, 25, of Grand Rapids, is an international tax certified public accountant for Ernst & Young. He was the low amateur at the 2012 Michigan Open (T-3) and semifinalist at the 2012 Michigan Amateur.

MINNESOTA

Jesse Larson, 37, of Shakopee, is a lead software engineer for Thomson Reuters.

Matt Schneider, 24, of Grand Rapids, was a two-time All-Mid-American Conference golfer at Bowling Green State University in 2008 and 2009.

Andy Jacobson, 33, of Willmar, is an avid ice fisherman who won the 2012 Minnesota Players Championship.

MISSISSIPPI

Eddie Brescher, 27, of Jackson, is the head men’s golf coach at Millsaps College…His uncle, Wayne, was a professional baseball player in the Washington Senators’ farm system.

Clay Homan, 40, of Starkville, is the golf coach at Mississippi State University…He is a four-time Mississippi State Amateur and four-time Mississippi State Mid-Amateur champion.

Alex Rowland, 22, of Houston, was the runner-up in the 2011 Mississippi Amateur and will graduate this December from Mississippi State, where his golf coach was Clay Homan.

MISSOURI

Richard “Skip” Berkmeyer, 38, of Wildwood, comes from a golf family. His mother, Barbara, was the runner-up at the 2002 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur and between himself, his mother and his wife, Jamie, they have won 25 Missouri State titles…He won the 2011 Missouri Amateur with his wife on his bag and his daughter, Becca, ran onto the green after the competition.

Brad Nurski, 33, of St. Joseph, is a conductor/switchman for BNSF Railway…The left-hander won the 2010 Missouri Amateur, the 2011 Missouri Mid-Amateur and the 2012 Missouri Stroke Play Championship.

Nick Wilson, 23, of Columbia, claimed the 2012 Missouri Amateur and 2012 Missouri Open, beating defending champion and Missouri teammate Skip Berkmeyer in the final of the former…He was a two-time All-Big 12 Conference Academic first team selection.

MONTANA

Nathan Bailey, 31, of Laurel, works as a yardmaster for Montana Rail Link…He shot a 62 at the 2011 Montana State Amateur to break the single-round scoring record and his 21-under total shattered the championship scoring record by six strokes.

Ben Leetsma, 32, of Great Falls, is an F-15C fighter pilot in the United States Air Force…The lefty won the Service Academy Championship for a fourth consecutive year in 2001…He graduated from the USAF Weapons School in 2009.

Jerry Pearsall, 49, of Billings, is the vice president of finance for the St. John’s Lutheran Ministries…He served as the executive director of the Pacific Northwest Section of the PGA from 1995-2004 before being reinstated as an amateur in 2006.

NEBRASKA

Ryan Nietfeldt, 36, of Elkhorn, serves on the Board of Directors for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Nebraska…He also is a licensed certified public accountant who briefly played professionally before his reinstatement as an amateur in 2008.

Rylee Reinertson, 16, of Gibbon, is one of four teenagers in this year’s USGA Men’s State Team Championship field. He is a junior at Gibbon High…He tied for fourth at this year’s PGA Junior Championship at Sycamore Hills G.C. in Fort Wayne, Ind., site of next year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior and host site for the 2009 USGA Women’s State Team Championship.

John Sajevic, 56, of Fremont, is an automotive salesman for a dealership…This is the eighth time he’s represented his state at this championship.

NEVADA

Brady Exber, 56, of Las Vegas, will be representing Nevada for an eighth time at the State Team Championship. He is a nine-time Nevada Player of the Year and has been inducted into the Southern Nevada Golf Hall of Fame. He also won the 2009 Arizona Senior Open.

Ryan Mitchell, 40, of Incline Village, advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1995 U.S. Amateur Public Links.

David Nelson, 56, of Reno, is president of Hole-In-One, USA, a company that insures hole-in-one prizes for charity golf events. He has played in every USGA championship except for the U.S. Senior Open. He was a semifinalist at the 1982 U.S. Amateur Public Links and quarterfinalist at the 1999 U.S. Mid-Amateur. He also played in the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Joshua Chamberlain, 32, of Amherst, owns an antique shop…He won the 2009 New Hampshire Mid-Amateur.

Ryan Kohler, 28, of Spotford, picked up the game after graduating from Keene State in 2007. He spent the entire winter of 2007-08 hitting balls into his parents’ field from a hole he dug in the snow. To accomplish this task, he ordered 4,000 range balls from eBay, and the following spring, he broke par for the first time.

D.J. Lantz, 24, of New London, graduated Magna Cum Laude (3.6 GPA) from the University of Hartford in 2011. He also says he can break 100 playing left-handed and can dunk a basketball on a regulation 10-foot basket.

NEW JERSEY

Michael Stamberger, 40, of Brielle, was a quarterfinalist in the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Shadow Hawk G.C. in suburban Houston…He was also a Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist in 2008…His brother-in-law is stack and tilt golf instructor Mike Bennett.

Niall Handley, 40, of West Caldwell, is an executive recruiter for Cara Resources after coming to the U.S. from Ireland to play soccer at Fairleigh Dickinson. He switched to golf in 1993 and became a two-time Northeast Conference Player of the Year (1994 and 1995). He was the 2012 New Jersey Open runner-up…He also won the 2011 Metropolitan Golf Association Mid-Amateur…Handley grew up in the same hometown as U2 lead singer Bono and his father was a member at the same golf club.

Brian Komline, 38, of Bridgewater, won two New Jersey State Opens in a three-year span (2005 and 2007) and claimed the 2012 New Jersey Mid-Amateur. His cousin, Devin, will be competing in this event for Vermont.

NEW MEXICO

Sam Saunders, 20, of Albuquerque, is not related to the grandson of Arnold Palmer, who shares the same name. His brother, Steve, is a professional on the National Pro Tour.

Justin Knauber, 22, of Albuquerque, is a salesman for Pargolf, inc.

Antone Salome, 49, of Socorro, is an associate superintendent for Socorro Consolidated Schools.

NEW YORK

Joseph Saladino, 32, of Huntington, owns a golf fitness facility called Drive 495…He was the Metropolitan Golf Association’s Player of the Year in 2008 and 2010, and he met his wife, Sarah, on a blind date.

Max Buckley, 22, of Rye, was a quarterfinalist at the 2011 U.S. Amateur and a college teammate of 2011 champion Kelly Kraft at Southern Methodist University…He owns dual citizenship between the U.S. and Australia…He also has spent the last two summers interning at Oppenheimer Funds in New York City.

Mike Miller, 20, of Brewster, recently left Penn State University to focus solely on his amateur golf career. He advanced to the second round of match play at the 2012 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills C.C.

NORTH CAROLINA

Paul Simson, 61, of Raleigh, is the oldest competitor in the field…The 2010 USGA Senior Amateur champion also made the cut at the 1998 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club…He was also low amateur at the 2001 U.S. Senior Open.

Bruce Woodall, 23, of Yanceyville, is a 2012 graduate of the University of Virginia and huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band. He has been to 21 concerts in six different states…He was a McDonald’s All-America nominee for basketball in 2008 and a member of the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic Team for golf.

Scott Harvey, 34, of Greensboro, advanced to the semifinals of the 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur and won the 2012 Carolinas Mid-Amateur…He was also named the 2011 Carolinas Golf Association Player of the Year.

NORTH DAKOTA

Tim Skarperud, 34, of Grand Fork, will be on the same team as his brother, Chad…Tim is an insurance agent for Vaaler Insurance…He defeated his brother, Chad, on the fourth extra hole to win the North Dakota Match Play Championship…He also was a member of the 2000 NCAA Division I national champion ice hockey team at the University of North Dakota, and played two years professionally in the American Hockey League for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Chad Skarperud, 40, of Fargo, is a mortgage loan officer. His younger brother, Tim, is also competing in this event for North Dakota. He has won five North Dakota 4-Ball titles with two different brothers over the years.

OHIO

Bill Williamson, 35, of Cincinnati, is an attorney who has completed four half-marathons…Two of his three career holes-in-one came on back-to-back days at Golden Ocala G.C. while playing for the University of Akron.

Robert Gerwin II, 45, of Cincinnati, will be competing in his 27th USGA championship. He was a quarterfinalist at the 1997 U.S. Amateur at Cog Hill in Lemont, Ill.

Jeffrey Scohy, 35, of Bellbrook, is a three-time winner of the Armed Services Championship (2001, 2004 and 2006) and represented the USA at the World Military Golf Championship…He served for seven years as an Air Force Acquisitions Officer and has been with the Air Force Reserves since 2007. He has been deployed to Iraq four times for temporary duty.

OKLAHOMA

Michael Hughett, 54, of Owasso, has won more Oklahoma Golf Association titles (16) than anyone else in history…He also was inducted into the University of Nebraska Hall of Fame in 2006…From 1986-99, he qualified for eight U.S. Mid-Amateurs but won zero state titles. Since 2000, he has won 15 state titles, but failed to qualify for the U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Jeff Coffman, 30, of Oklahoma City, is an embroidery worker at Roadrunner Embroidery…He also is a three-time Oklahoma City Amateur champion.

William J. Lavender, 52, of Oklahoma City, won the 2010 Oklahoma Senior Amateur by beating the state’s top two senior amateur golfers. His only other USGA appearance came in the 1984 U.S. Amateur at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla.

OREGON

Scott Hval, 51, of Portland, is the only golfer in Oregon history to have won the Oregon Amateur, the Oregon Mid-Amateur and the Oregon Senior Amateur…He was named to the Portland Monthly magazine’s Top Dentists list in 2010, 2011 and 2012…Lists playing Augusta National with Tom Usher (host at 2003 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont) as his career golf highlight.

Bill Winter, 48, of Portland, is the former men’s golf coach at the University of Portland, where he was named the West Coast Conference’s Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2011.

Tyler Simpson, 27, of Happy Valley, was the runner-up at the 2011 Oregon Amateur and tied for third at the 2011 Oregon Open.

PENNSYLVANIA  

Sean Knapp, 50, of Oakmont, played basketball at Indiana (Pa.) University…He lost to Tiger Woods in the round of 16 at the 1995 U.S. Amateur and was paired with Tom Watson in the third round of the 2012 U.S. Senior Open, where he tied for 60th.

Nathan Smith, 34, of Pittsburgh, has won a record four U.S. Mid-Amateur titles and competed on two USA Walker Cup Teams…In 2007, he became the first golfer from Pennsylvania to win the Western Pennsylvania Tournament of Champions, Western Pennsylvania Mid-Amateur and Western Pennsylvania Amateur in the same year…He was a former NCAA Division III All-American at Allegheny College.

Andrew Mason, 24, of Huntingdon Valley, won the 2011 Pennsylvania Amateur and the 2011 and 2012 Philadelphia Open…He currently works as an analyst for Dillon Capital Management...He was a three-time Atlantic 10 Conference All-Academic selection while playing for Temple University.

PUERTO RICO

Raul Rivera, 44, of Toa Baja, represented Puerto Rico in the 2004 World Amateur Team Championship…He took up golf because his grandfather used to be a caddie at Ft. El Morro. He also is a boxing referee and a two-time winner of the Puerto Rico Amateur.

Daniel Caban, 15, of Cabo Rojo, is the youngest competitor in the field who will graduate from Colegio Oscar Correa Agosto in 2014.

RHODE ISLAND

Robert Leopold, 27, of Coventry, has advanced to the round of 16 at the last two U.S. Amateurs…In 2011, he beat medalist Gregor Main in the first round…He works alongside his wife and in-laws at the Barton Insurance Group.

Charlie Blanchard, 47, of North Providence, is a former standout lacrosse player at Ohio Wesleyan University and professionally indoors for the Boston Blazers…The lefty is also a seven-time Rhode Island Mid-Amateur champion…Entering second season at Bryant University’s head golf coach.

Brad Valois, 25, of Warwick, advanced to match play at the 2012 U.S. Amateur and was medalist at last  week’s Mid-Amateur…He currently works as a retirement and benefit specialist…He won three Rhode Island Junior titles and followed that up with three Rhode Island Amateur triumphs.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Steven Liebler, 53, of Irmo, has played in every USGA championship for which he has been eligible for (U.S. Junior, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links, U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open and USGA Men’s State Team). His late brother, Lloyd, was the runner-up at the 1965 U.S. Junior Amateur.

Todd White, 44, of Moore, is a high school history teacher who advanced to match play at the 2012 U.S. Amateur. He returned to Cherry Hills where he competed in his first U.S. Amateur in 1990…He was inducted into the Furman UniversityHall of Fame in 2003 and is a two-time South Carolina Golf Association Player of the Year.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Brandon Sigmund, 37, of Mitchell, won both the South Dakota Amateur and South Dakota Mid-Amateur in 2012, chipping in for eagle on the final hole to win the former.

Chris Long, 39, of Garretson, is a middle school and high school principal who won the 2011 South Dakota Mid-Amateur and was runner-up to Sigmund in that event this year…He proposed to his wife on the sixth hole of Flandreau Park Golf Club with the words “Will You Marry Me” written on the golf ball that she retrieved from the hole…In 1992, he was named South Dakota’s Gatorade Player of the Year for football.

Ben Irlbeck, 28, of Sioux Falls, is a math teacher at Harrisburg High School who won the 2012 South Dakota Match Play Championship.

TENNESSEE

Tim Jackson, 53, of Germantown, is competing in his 48th USGA championship and ninth USGA Men’s State Team Championship (only missed the 1999 event). Earlier this summer, he claimed his fifth Tennessee Amateur title.

Craig Smith, 25, of Nashville, works for the family business that was started by his grandfather in 1947. The company manufacturers concrete block and distribute bricks. Smith was the runner-up to Jackson in this year’s Tennessee State Amateur.

Todd Burgan, 43, of Powell, works as a pharmacist. He was the 2011 Tennessee Golf Association Player of the Year and a semifinalist at the 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

TEXAS

Aaron Hickman, 34, of Tyler, is an administrative officer for Maxim Healthcare. While at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, he was an All-Western Athletic Conference selection in 1999.

UTAH

Jon Wright, 42, of Sandy, is a former professional who competed on the Nationwide Tour before gaining his amateur status back in 2006. The 2012 Utah State Amateur champion also serves on the board for the Utah Autism Foundation.

Jeff Jolley, 41, of South Jordan, is representing Utah in the Men’s State Team Championship for a third time. He works in financial services for Metlife.

Dan Horner, 34, of Sandy, is a former Utah Golf Association Player of the Year (2008)…Made match play at this summer’s U.S. Amateur Public Links that was contested at Soldier Hollow G.C. in Midway, Utah, where he won the 2008 Utah Amateur. He will be representing Utah for a fourth time at the State Team Championship.

VERMONT

Garren Poirier, 32, of Killington, is a photographer who won this year’s Vermont State Mid-Amateur and was runner-up in this year’s New England Amateur. An Army brat, Poirier was born in Virginia and has lived in Germany, Greece and six other U.S. states. He stopped playing golf for four years after graduating from Temple University and traveled the world, meeting his future wife and eventually settling in Vermont, where he spent the winters snowboarding and working in a bar before finding his passion for photography.

Devin Komline, 22, of Dorset, is a recent graduate of Augusta (Ga.) State University who won the 2010 and 2011 Vermont Amateur titles. His cousin, Brian Komline, will be competing for New Jersey at this championship.

Mike Stackus, 29, of Barre, works as a professional fund-raiser at Norwich University in Vermont, where he completed his master’s degree earlier this year. He won the 2012 Vermont Amateur and was runner-up to Poirier at the 2012 Vermont Mid-Amateur. In 2011, he volunteered to coach a youth ice hockey team despite barely knowing how to skate. In 2005, he became the first St. John Fisher College golfer to play in the NCAA Division III Championship.

VIRGINIA

Scott Shingler, 40, of Haymarket, is a dental assistant at Gainesville Pediatric Dentristy. He won the 2011 Virginia State Amateur and 2010 Virginia Mid-Amateur.

Keith Decker, 52, of Martinsville, owns 19 Virginia state titles, including a playoff victory over two-time USGA champion Vinny Giles in the 2010 Virginia State Senior Open. Decker also helped Virginia claim the inaugural USGA Men’s State Team title in 1995.

Buck Brittain, 45, of Tazewell, is an attorney for Gillespie, Hart, Altizer and Whitesell who was the runner-up in this year’s Virginia Amateur.

WASHINGTON

Tom Brandes, 56, of Bellevue, registered a hole-in-one during his first-round match against eventual champion Louis Lee at the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur on the seventh hole at Kinloch Golf Club. It was his eighth career ace…He also played a practice round with 2003 Senior Open champion Bruce Lietzke, 1976 U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate and Jay Haas at the 2009 Senior Open at Crooked Stick that was set up through good friend and noted golf instructor Jim McLean.

Sean Packer, 27, works as a service representative for the Social Security Administration. He finished T-3 at the 2008 NCAA Division II Championship while playing for Western Washington University…Says he is known for his Halloween costumes as he has dressed as Ace Ventura, Wolverine and Slash the past three years, and is a Seattle Seahawks season-ticket holder.

Mike Haack, 33, of Bellevue, is an assistant restaurant manager at Meridian Valley Country Club who qualified for this year’s U.S. Amateur (missed match-play cut). He won the 2010 Washington Mid-Amateur.

WEST VIRGINIA

Pat Carter, 44, of Huntington, is competing in his 32nd USGA championship and eighth Men’s State Team. He advanced to the semifinals of the 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur and has reached the Mid-Am quarterfinals on three other occasions. He also is a 13-time West Virginia State Amateur champion.

Sam O’Dell, 34, of Hurricane, nearly aced the 17th hole at Pebble Beach as the sun was setting during a playoff for match play at the 1999 U.S. Amateur, where he eventually lost in the first round. He is a dentist and a former two-time Academic All-American at Marshall University.

WISCONSIN

Bob Gregorski, 51, of Menasha, is a real estate developer who has competed in 11 USGA championships, including six Men’s State Teams. He proposed to his wife at the scoreboard at the PGA Tour’s Greater Milwaukee Open and was inducted into the Wisconsin State Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2004 along with Herb Kohler Jr. and former LPGA Tour golfer Sherri Steinhauer. He also was named the 1998 Wisconsin Amateur Athletic Union’s Athlete of the Year, where past recipients have included Olympic speed skaters Bonnie Blair, Dan Jansen and Eric Heiden.

Sam Frank, 21, of Madison, defeated Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in the first round, 1 up, en route to winning the 2012 Wisconsin Match Play Championship…In 2007, he played on the runner-up team at the USA Hockey National Championship.

WYOMING

John Hornbeck, 54, of Saratoga, is an equipment operator for Black Butte Coal.

Todd Van Renessalaer, 46, of Douglas, is a production/transportation manager for AKJ Industries.

Todd Griffin, 39, of Rock Spring, is a service and parts director for a Ford dealer who once shot a 59 at the Salt Water Pro-Am in 1994.

 

 
                   
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