Storylines For 2012 USGA Senior Amateur


By Brian DePasquale, USGA
September 26, 2012

WHO’S HERE – Among the 156 golfers in the 2012 USGA Senior Amateur field, there are:

USGA Senior Amateur champions (9)

Mike Bell (2006), Mark Bemowski (2004), Marvin “Vinny” Giles III (2009), Louis Lee (2011), George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. (2008), Greg Reynolds (2002), Mike Rice (2005), Kemp Richardson (2001, 2003), Paul Simson (2010)

Total Senior Amateurs Won By 2012 Championship Field (10)

Mike Bell (1), Mark Bemowski (1), Marvin “Vinny” Giles III (1), Louis Lee (1), George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. (1), Greg Reynolds (1), Mike Rice (1), Kemp Richardson (2), Paul Simson (1)

Average Age of Field: 58.99

Oldest Competitor: Mike Rice (72, born 8-6-40)

Youngest Competitor:  Joe Russo (55, born 9-13-57)

USGA champions (13)

Mike Bell (2006 Senior Amateur)

Mark Bemowski (2004 Senior Amateur)

Marvin “Vinny” Giles III (1972 Amateur, 2009 Senior Amateur)

Danny Green (1999 Mid-Amateur)

Jim Holtgrieve (1981 Mid-Amateur)

Louis Lee (2011 Senior Amateur)

Randal Lewis (2011 Mid-Amateur)

George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. (2008 Senior Amateur)

Greg Reynolds (2002 Senior Amateur)

Mike Rice (2005 Senior Amateur)

Kemp Richardson (2001, 2003 Senior Amateur)

Paul Simson (2010 Senior Amateur)

George Zahringer (2002 Mid-Amateur)

USGA Runners-Up (11)

Mark Bemowski (2002, 2005 Senior Amateur)

John Grace (1974 Amateur, 2009 Senior Amateur)

Danny Green (1989 Amateur, 2001 Amateur Public Links)

Marvin “Vinny” Giles (1967, 1968, 1969 Amateur)

Randal Lewis (1996 Mid-Amateur)

David Lind (1987, 1992 Mid-Amateur)

George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. (1995 Amateur)

Philip Pleat (2011 Senior Amateur)

Greg Reynolds (2004 Senior Amateur)

Pat Tallent (2010 Senior Amateur)

George Zahringer (2008 Senior Amateur, 2001 Mid-Amateur)

Here are some interesting nuggets among this year's field:

Colin Ahern, 55, of Andover, Mass., signed with the National Hockey League’s Detroit Red Wings after earning All-ECAC recognition at Providence College, where he is one of the program’s all-time leading scorers. Ahern, who was also drafted by the World Hockey Association’s Cincinnati Stingers, is in manufacturing sales with A&W Technical Sales.

Mike Bell, 65, of Indianapolis, Ind., captured the 2006 USGA Senior Amateur Championship. He recovered from double bypass heart surgery nine years ago to reach the 2009 Senior Amateur quarterfinals. A former Evans Scholar, Bell is a member of the Indiana Golf Association Hall of Fame.

Mark Bemowski, 66, of Mukwonago, Wis., won the 2004 Senior Amateur and was runner-up in 2002 and 2005. He has claimed six Wisconsin state amateurs, three state senior amateurs and two state senior opens.

Jay Blumenfeld, 60, of Parsippany, N.J., is the current Mountain Ridge club champion and once shot 62 from the club’s men’s tees. Blumenfeld, who is competing in his second USGA Senior Amateur, was named New Jersey State Golf Association Player of the Year in 2006 and 2009.

Mike Booker, 57, of The Woodlands, Texas, is a two-time melanoma cancer survivor who has founded an endowment to aid research. He reached the round of 32 at the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur and qualified for match play the previous year.

Casey Boyns, 56, of Monterey, Calif., has been a caddie at Pebble Beach Golf Links for 30 years and has caddied in three U.S. Opens. He reached the quarterfinals at the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur and made match play at last year’s USGA Senior Amateur.

Grady Brame Sr., 55, of Hammond, La., is playing in his first USGA Senior Amateur. He caddied for his son, Grady Jr., at the 2012 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club.

Roger Brown, 68, of Scottsdale, Ariz., is past president of The American Orchid Society and has been an orchid judge for 25 years. He last competed in the USGA Senior Amateur in 2007.

Jeff Burda, 59, of Modesto, Calif., reached the USGA Senior Amateur quarterfinals in 2011 and the semifinal round in 2010. A banker, Burda has played in three U.S. Senior Opens.

Randy Campbell, 55, of Asheville, N.C., is a retired captain and troop commander for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Campbell, who served in law enforcement for 31 years, advanced into his first USGA Senior Amateur on the fourth playoff hole at sectional qualifying.

Leif Carlson, 59, of Apple Valley, Minn., was inducted into the Minnesota District Bowling Hall of Fame in 1998. Carlson, who has bowled longer than he has played golf, is competing in his 15th USGA championship and his first Senior Amateur.

Andrew Conway, 57, of Pittsford, N.Y., has a collection of golf memorabilia that features 350 signed golf balls, including one by famed golf writer Herbert Warren Wind. Conway, who is playing in his first Senior Amateur, has caddied at major professional events for USGA champions Arnold Palmer and Jay Sigel.

Graham Cooke, 66, of Canada, has captured four Canadian Men’s Senior Amateur championships (2001, 2002, 2008, 2009). Cooke, who competes in curling during the winter, founded Graham Cooke & Associates, a golf course architecture firm, in 1973.

Armen Dirtadian, 59, of Tucson, Ariz., is a professional singer and actor who has toured China with Best of Sinatra and also directed children’s plays and musicals. Dirtadian, who has played in seven U.S. Amateur Public Links, reached match play at the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur.

Don Donatoni, 64, of Malvern, Pa., is known as “Father Time” at his home course, White Manor Country Club. He has won 18 club championships, including eight senior events. A utility executive for Aqua America, Donatoni is playing in his first USGA championship.

Tom Doughtie, 59, of Amarillo, Texas, was a 2011 USGA Senior Amateur semifinalist. A former Texas Golf Association Player of the Year, Doughtie tied for 59th at the 2008 U.S. Senior Open.

Davis Driver, 60, of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the brother of past USGA President Walter Driver Jr. He is playing in his first USGA Senior Amateur and has competed in one U.S. Amateur and three Mid-Amateurs.

Don Eklund, 55, of San Diego, Calif., is playing in his first USGA Senior Amateur. He competed in junior golf against 1987 U.S. Open champion Scott Simpson and 1973 U.S. Amateur winner Craig Stadler. Eklund has worked in building construction management and real estate.

Raymond Emsley, 57, of Davisburg, Mich., has served as the Michigan Publinx Golf Association’s treasurer for 16 years. Emsley, who won the 2012 Michigan Senior Match Play Championship, was influenced by Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie Howe.

Brady Exber, 56, of Las Vegas, Nev., is a member of the Southern Nevada Golf Hall of Fame and a nine-time region player of the year. Exber, who played in the USGA Men’s State Team earlier this month, tied for 41st at the 2007 U.S. Senior Open.

Alan Fadel, 57, of Toledo, Ohio, is vice president of the Ohio Golf Association. He has played in the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Mid-Amateur and USGA Men’s State Team. Fadel is a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley.

Michael Fosdick, 61, of Theodore, Ala., is playing in his first USGA championship. He enjoys landscaping and yard work and is noted for his knowledge of weeds, soil conditions and fruit trees.

Marvin “Vinny” Giles III, 69, of Richmond, Va., won the 2009 USGA Senior Amateur and 1972 U.S. Amateur. In a decorated amateur career, Giles served as captain of the 1993 USA Walker Cup Team and 1992 USA World Amateur Team. A three-time U.S. Amateur runner-up, Giles played on four Walker Cup and three World Amateur teams.

John Grace, 64, of Fort Worth, Texas, was runner-up at the 2009 Senior Amateur. He will be inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in October and is already a member of the Michigan Hall of Fame. Grace was the 1974 U.S. Amateur runner-up and a member of the 1975 USA Walker Cup Team. He is playing in his 42nd USGA championship.

Danny Green, 55, of Jackson, Tenn., is making his first Senior Amateur appearance after playing in more than 50 USGA events. He was the runner-up at the 1989 U.S. Amateur and 2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links. Green, who was a member of the 2001 USA Walker Cup Team, has been inducted into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame.

Doug Hanzel, 55, of Savannah, Ga., is playing in his fourth USGA event this summer. He was the low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open, made the round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur and reached match play at the Mid-Amateur. A physician, Hanzel uses an insulin pump to control diabetes.

Gary Hardin, 64, of Fort Worth, Texas, is the husband of Mina, the 2010 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion and 2011 runner-up. He had to give up golf for two years due to complex elbow surgery.

Michael Hoefs, 61, of Lincoln, Neb., is a dentist at the Craniofacial Pain Center of Nebraska. He is competing in his second USGA Senior Amateur, having played in 2007.

Jim Holtgrieve, 64, of St. Louis, Mo., received a special exemption to the USGA Senior Amateur as the 2013 USA Walker Cup captain. Holtgrieve, the 1981 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, was also the Walker Cup captain in 2011. He played on three Walker Cup teams (1979, 1981, 1983) and two USA World Amateur teams (1980, 1982).

Tom Hyland, 56, of Marlton, N.J., has been known to use three different putting styles (left-handed, side-saddle, long putter) in a single round. Hyland, who is known for his prowess as a blackjack card player, is appearing in his first USGA Senior Amateur.

David Jacobsen, 59, of Portland, Ore., is the older brother of 2004 U.S. Senior Open champion Peter Jacobsen. He is playing in his 13th USGA championship and second Senior Amateur. Jacobsen works for UBS Financial Services.

Jarratt Jones, 58, of Boerne, Texas, is the retired president of Coca-Cola Bottling in Canada. He is playing in his first USGA championship.

Mickey Jones, 64, of Odessa, Texas, is in his seventh year as a member of the USGA’s Mid-Amateur Championship Committee. He is a past president and Rules official with the Texas Golf Association.

Jack Kearney, 57, of Peachtree City, Ga., is a Delta Airlines pilot who is playing in his third USGA Senior Amateur. His son, Patrick, is an Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport air traffic controller who will serve as his father’s caddie during the championship.

George Kelley, 62, of Stevinson, Calif., is chief executive officer for Greenway Golf and past president of the California Golf Course Owners Association. World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman once caddied for him at the 1976 Spalding Pro-Am Monterey.

Ronald Kilby, 57, of McAllen, Texas, was a USGA Senior Amateur quarterfinalist last year and played in the 2012 U.S. Senior Open. He was chosen the 2011 Texas Senior Player of the Year.

Louis Lee, 56, of Heber Springs, Ark., won the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur, the second-youngest champion in the event’s history. He and his brother, Stanford, are one of five sets of brothers who have won USGA championships. Lee defeated his brother in the quarterfinals en route to last year’s title. Stanford, who recently underwent gallbladder surgery, won't be competing this year, but will caddie for his younger brother.

Randal Lewis, 55, of Alma, Mich., is one of two players in the field to have competed in the U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur this summer. Lewis won the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur and was the runner-up in the same championship in 1996.

David Lind, 63, of Burr Ridge, Ill., was a quadriplegic for three months prior to qualifying for the Senior Amateur with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a condition that affects the nervous system. Lind, the runner-up at the 1987 and 1992 U.S. Mid-Amateurs, won the national speed skating championship as a high school senior.

Chip Lutz, 57, of Reading, Pa., advanced to the USGA Senior Amateur semifinals in 2010 and 2011. Lutz is the current British Senior Open Amateur and Canadian Men’s Senior Amateur champion.

Rick Luzar, 65, of Pinehurst, N.C., is playing in his third Senior Amateur. A self-employed dentist, Luzar volunteers as a horse ambulance driver in Moore County (N.C.).

Don Marsh, 68, of Johns Creek, Ga., received the U.S. Army Distinguished Flying Cross Medal in 1970. He was Ohio State’s golf captain in 1966 and played on the same team with PGA Tour pro and sportscaster Ed Sneed. Marsh was the 2007 Georgia State Golf Association Senior Player of the Year.

Lynn Martin, 68, of Findlay, Ohio, is the father of 1984 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Doug Martin, who played on the PGA Tour and is now the head golf coach at the University of Cincinnati. Lynn coached Van Buren High School to an Ohio state golf title and the Knights’ basketball program to a pair of state tournament appearances.

George “Buddy” Marucci Jr., 60, of Villanova, Pa., won the 2008 Senior Amateur championship. He was the 1995 U.S. Amateur runner-up, losing to Tiger Woods in the final. Marucci played for the USA Walker Cup Team in 1995 and 1997 and served as captain in 2005 and 2007.

Jim McNelis, 56, of Gig Harbor, Wash., has been a pilot for 34 years and flies for Alaska Airlines. McNelis, who played in the 2011 U.S. Senior Open, was taught to fly and play golf by Betty Hicks, who won the 1941 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Hicks also was runner-up at two U.S. Women’s Opens.

David Mears, 55, of Citra, Fla., was a rodeo champion on the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) circuit and was a standout calf roper. Mears, who is playing in his first USGA championship, also owns thoroughbred horses.

David Mooty, 59, of Eden Prairie, Minn., owns Prestwick Golf Club, in Woodbury, Minn., and is attempting to put a domed golf and youth center in downtown Minneapolis. He is playing in his first USGA championship.

John Olive, 67, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2003 and has won CGA Senior Amateur Player of the Year six times. He earned three varsity letters as a member of the U.S. Air Force Academy basketball team (1965-67).

Philip Pleat, 56, of Nashua, N.H., was the runner-up at the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur. A vice president and financial advisor for Merrill Lynch, Pleat and his son, James, each played at this year’s U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club.

Dave Pulk, 56, of Williamsburg, Va., is considering a run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014. A native of Akron, Ohio, Pulk won the 2003 Northeast Ohio Amateur. Arnold Palmer won the same title 50 years earlier. Pulk captured the 2012 Ohio State Senior Amateur Championship.

Greg Reynolds, 65, of Grand Blanc, Mich., won the 2002 USGA Senior Amateur, finished as a runner-up in 2004, and has reached the quarterfinal round three other times. Reynolds, a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member, played the first two rounds with Arnold Palmer in the legendary golfer’s final U.S. Senior Open in 2005.

Mike Rice, 72, of Houston, Texas, is the oldest player in the USGA Senior Amateur field. He won the championship in 2005 and is playing in his 12th Senior Amateur. He is a three-time Texas Senior Amateur champion.

Kemp Richardson, 66, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., captured the USGA Senior Amateur in 2001 and 2003. His father, John, won the championship in 1987. A stockbroker and gardener, Richardson reached the round of 32 at last year’s Senior Amateur.

Jay Sessa, 56, of Garden City, N.Y., is a fourth-generation funeral director at McLaughlin Funeral Home. Sessa, who made match play at the 2011 Senior Amateur, is a member of the Long Island Golf Association’s Executive Board.

Paul Simson, 61, of Raleigh, N.C., won the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur and advanced to the quarterfinals last year. Simson, who has claimed three British Senior Open Amateur titles, is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. He has won 25 Carolinas Golf Association championships.

Michael Stephens, 59, of Carmel, Ind., is the Allisonville Nursery’s controller. At the 1993 U.S. Amateur, Stephens defeated two-time U.S. Senior Open champion Allen Doyle in the second round by holing out from a greenside bunker on No. 17.

David Szewczul, 58, of Farmington, Conn., reached the round of 32 at the 2010 Senior Amateur after having reconstructive wrist surgery nine years earlier. A three-time Connecticut State Golf Association Senior Player of the Year, Szewczul is a member of the state’s Golf Hall of Fame.

Pat Tallent, 59, of Vienna, Va., was the runner-up at the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur and reached the round of 32 last year. Tallent, who was the low amateur at the 2004 U.S. Senior Open, was taken in the 1976 NBA Draft’s sixth round by the Washington Bullets after an outstanding collegiate career at George Washington University.

Ron Vannelli, 64, of Edison, N.J., is playing in his fourth USGA Senior Amateur. Vannelli, who started playing golf at age 24 and is a commercial real estate broker, is the current Metropolitan Golf Association Senior Amateur champion.

George Walker, 60, of Mobile, Ala., has qualified for his first USGA championship in his 26th attempt. He is serving his second one-year term as president of the Alabama Golf Association and has been the AGA’s director for nearly 20 years.

Marvin West, 64, of Rockville, Md., was a member of the USA Walker Cup Team in 1973 and 1979. West, who is a financial advisor for Brown Advisory, finished fourth at the 1972 U.S. Amateur.

Hal Wright, 56, of Shreveport, La., is a retired firefighter with the Shreveport Fire Department. He is playing in his first USGA Senior Amateur, and has competed in four U.S. Amateur Public Links.

Rick Woulfe, 62, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been a member of the USGA Mid-Amateur Committee and is a past president of the Florida State Golf Association. Woulfe, who is playing in his sixth Senior Amateur, defeated nine-time USGA champion Tiger Woods in match play at the 1992 Dixie Amateur.

George Zahringer, 59, of New York City, was runner-up at the 2008 USGA Senior Amateur. He won the 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur after making the final the previous year. An 11-time Metropolitan Golf Association champion, Zahringer was low amateur at the 2005 and 2007 U.S. Senior Opens.

Brian DePasquale is a manager of championship communications for the USGA. Email him at bdepasquale@usga.org.

 

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