West Caldwell, N.J. – Stan Kinsey, 58, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., fired a 5-under-par 66 Saturday to grab the lead halfway through the first day of stroke-play qualifying at the 2012 USGA Senior Amateur Championship at the par-71, 6,838-yard Mountain Ridge Country Club.
Kinsey, who carded six birdies and one bogey, shot the lowest stroke-play round since 2007 and matched the second-best 18-hole score in championship history.
Senior Amateur champions Paul Simson, Kemp Richardson and Mark Bemowski were among 78 players who had afternoon starting times.
The USGA Senior Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Thursday, Oct. 4 starting at 9 a.m. EDT.
The USGA Senior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Kinsey, who is playing in his first USGA championship, shot 2-under 34 on the outward nine and made a couple of sidehill 15-foot birdie putts before hitting a 205-yard approach shot on the par-4 13th to within one foot for a tap-in birdie.
“That was a nice gift,” said Kinsey, who missed one fairway. “I felt like I had a lot of nice gifts today, and some curling putts that happened to go in, but I actually had a couple that lipped out. It was just one of those days where the ball seemed to have eyes and it felt like I had a good feel for the speed.”
David Pulk and Doug Farr, a pair of 2012 state senior amateur champions, posted 2-under 69. Pulk, 56, of Williamsburg, Va., won the Ohio Senior Amateur in his native state. Farr, 60, of Monroe, La., captured the Louisiana Senior Amateur, and reached this championship as an alternate from sectional qualifying in Hot Springs, Ark.
Farr jump-started his round with an eagle at the par-5 9th, sinking a 30-yard pitch. He set up birdies at No. 11 with a 9-iron approach and at No. 15 with an 8-iron to 10 feet. Pulk, who had three birdies and one bogey, rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the 11th and a 25-footer on the 15th. He finished with an up-and-down par on No. 18.
“I was making really good first putts to where, if I had 20- or 30-footers, they were going to about a foot or foot and a half [from the hole],” Pulk said. “So I was able to make a lot of pars that way and if I missed the green by a couple of yards then I made some nice chips within about two feet of the hole and just had to tap it in.”
Reigning British and Canadian Senior Amateur champion Chip Lutz, 57, of Reading, Pa., and David Talcott, 55, of Edgewood, Wash., shot 1-under 70. Defending USGA Senior Amateur champion Louis Lee, 56, of Heber Springs, Ark., was among five players who finished at even-par 71.
“It’s a hard golf course; there’s trouble with every shot,” Lee said. “The greens are real challenging. Even par will win a lot of matches this week.”
Brian DePasquale is manager of championship communications for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.