U.S. MID-AMATEUR
Storylines For 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur September 15, 2011 By Beth Murrison, USGA

The average age of the 264 competitors in the field is 37.09.

The youngest player in the field is Terence Begnel of Tulsa, Okla., who turned 25 on Sept. 14, three days prior to the start of the championship.
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The oldest player in the field is 63-year-old Rick Tenbroeck of Evergreen Park, Ill.

Seven players will celebrate a birthday during the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur:

Mark Bartlett of Little Rock, Ark., will turn 42 on Sept. 21.
Jay Betchan of Garber, Okla., will turn 42 on Sept. 22.
Tim Hamm of Minneapolis, Minn., will turn 29 on Sept. 20.
Matt Heestand of Cleveland, Ohio, will turn 30 on Sept. 17.
Joshua Rhodes of Paducah, Ky., will turn 27 on Sept. 21.
Gary Robinson of San Diego, Calif., will turn 33 on Sept. 19.
Paul Welle of Scottsdale, Ariz., will turn 29 on Sept. 17.

There are 129 players in the field who are competing in the U.S. Mid-Amateur for the first time. Of those, 83 are playing in their first USGA championship.

There are 93 reinstated amateurs in the field.

A total of 47 states (all but Delaware, North Dakota and Vermont) and two foreign countries (Canada, Puerto Rico) are represented at the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

USGA champions in the field (6):

Tim Hogarth
, 1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links
Kevin Marsh, 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur
Paul Simson, 2010 USGA Senior Amateur
Nathan Smith, 2003, 2009 and 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur
Dave Womack, 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur
George J. Zahringer III, 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur

USA Walker Cup Team members in the field (2):
Nathan Smith
(2009, 2011)
George J. Zahringer III (2003)

USGA Men’s State Team champions in the field (2):
Sean Knapp
of Pennsylvania (2009)
Nathan Smith of Pennsylvania (2009)

The U.S. Mid-Amateur is often called the working man’s championship. There are many interesting occupations held by the field’s 264 players. Among them:
Casey
Baker, 34, of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a partner in the Miles of Golf Off-Course Golf Shop.
Alan Bardwell, 31, of Bloomington, Ill., is a utility consultant for Seven Utility Management Consultants.

Anthony Barrera, 27, of San Jose, Calif., is the tournament director at The Ranch Golf Club.

Erik Bertrand, 36, of Pittsburgh, Pa., is a civil engineer for the Mosites Construction Company.

Matt Bianchini, 34, of West Boylston, Mass., is a tanning salon owner.

NickBiesecker, 35, of Staunton, Va., is a sports agent for Blue Giraffe Sports, which represents 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Alexis Thompson, among other golfers. Rob Couture, 36, of Dallas, Texas, is also a sports agent, for the Quorum Sports Group. Jeff Fujimoto, 38, of Phoenix, Ariz., is a sports agent for Tailwind.

Jeff Boyer, 36, of Oklahoma City, Okla., is a veterinarian.

Eric Burch, 36, of Machesney Park, Ill, is the owner of Club-Conex Inc. He holds multiple patents on the interchangeable golf clubs.

Jeff Burgan, 40, of Knoxville, Tenn., is a pharmacist.

Paul Buttafuoco, 46, of Somers, Conn., is a postmaster for the United States Postal Service.

Joshua Chamberlain, 31, of Amherst, N.H., is the owner of Chamberlain Antiques.

Dave Fardon, 39, of Center Valley, Pa., is the caddie master at Saucon Valley Country Club, which has hosted seven USGA championships.

Bradley Hardin, 34, of Fort Wayne, Ind., is a cardiologist/electrophysiologist

Matt Heestand, 29, of Cleveland, Ohio, works in accounting for the Department of Defense.

Scott Hovis, 37, of Jefferson City, Mo., is the executive director of the Missouri Golf Association.

Chris Igawa, 31, of Hilo, Hawaii, is a dentist.

Brad Jones, 40, of Augusta, Ga., is a radiologist. He is playing in his first USGA event since the 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur.

Matt Keyser, 34, of Lake Oswego, Ore., is a lumber broker.

Michael Kloenne, 52, of West Linn, Ore., owns a chemical company.

Paul Lang, 27, of Canada, does In-ground pool installations.

Michael Larson, 50, of Boulder, Colo., is the general manager/COO of Boulder Country Club.

Bob Mathers, 54, of Niceville, Fla., is a Boeing 777 pilot for Delta Airlines. Jim McNelis, 55, of Gig Harbor, Wash., is an airline pilot for Alaska Airlines. McNelis played in the 2011 U.S. Senior Open.

Mark Miller, 43, of Covina, Calif., is a stay-at-home father.

Bill Moore, 37, of Syracuse, N.Y., is the executive director of the New York State Golf Association.

Heath Myers, 27, of Kingfisher, Okla., owns dry cleaners and convenience stores.

Joshua Rhodes, 26, of Paducah, Ky., is a hearing specialist.

Tim Rypien, 47, of Spokane, Wash., is a teacher in the Spokane Public Schools.

Corby Segal, 40, of Santa Clarita, Calif., is a PGA Tour caddie for Briny Baird.

Steve Tarulli, 33, of Rockville Centre, N.Y., works in paper shredding and recycling for Data-Struction.

Scott Weeks, 31, of Savannah, Ga., is a funeral director for Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors.

Torrey Welsch, 31, of Belleville, Ill., is a board-certified orthopedic specialist in physical therapy.

Other interesting storylines:

Michael Barbosa, 28, of St. Petersburg, Fla., has played in every individual USGA championship for which he has been eligible. He played in the 1999 U.S. Junior Amateur, the 2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links, the 2008 U.S. Amateur, the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur and the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., where he missed the cut.

Ryan Baucom, 26, of Rockingham, N.C., was a member of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels football team from 2004 to 2007.

Adam Baxter, 29, Fairbanks, Ala., learned to play golf in his home state and was able to tee off at midnight, with ever-changing greens due to permafrost. He’s also hit the  occasional tee shot over a moose.

Chris Berens, 45, of Mount Dora, Fla., met Mother Theresa while playing on the Asian Tour in 1997. His mother-in-law is serving as his caddie during this week’s championship.

Richard Berkmeyer, 37, of St. Louis, Mo., is a member of a very successful golf family. Between him, his wife and his mother, they collected 25 state amateur titles.

Matt Bianchini, 34, of West Boylston, Mass., is pretty sure he’ll be the only player in the field who chips with one hand. He got the yips chipping in 2002 and quit the game for three years. In June, he started chipping with only his right hand and it completely changed his game.

Chad Bolt, 35, of Grove City, Ohio, didn’t start playing golf until he was 21 years old. He learned the game while serving in the military.

Jess Bonneau, 40, of Cypress, Texas, is a huge fan of the band Kiss. He is a Kiss Army member and will be attending a Kiss Kruise in October with his wife and her sister and husband.

Jesse Bull, 36, of Minneapolis, Minn., was a member of the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team that won the 1997 NCAA Division I national championship.

Tom Carlson, 25, of Sioux Falls, S.D., is the only person in South Dakota history to win the state’s high school, junior, two-man match play and amateur titles. 

Ryan Chin, 32, of New York, N.Y., earned his A.R.C.T. diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music Toronto in 1995.

Brad Clark, 30, of Chapel Hill, N.C., walked on to the golf team at Duke University.

Greg Cole, 48, of The Woodlands, Texas, hasn’t played much golf for the past seven or eight years because he was traveling the country to watch his son Wes play AAU basketball. His is now a freshman basketball player for the University of Hartford.

Steven Colwick, 36, of Glen Rose, Texas, serves as a Deacon in his local church where he also teaches within the youth group. He also teaches at various Christian camps and retreats and serves on the Board of Directors of Hannah House, a Christian maternity home for displaced teenage girls.

Kenny Cook, 31, of Noblesville, Ind., isn’t the only member of his family playing in a USGA championship this week. His wife Lisa qualified for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, which is being played at Bayville Golf Club in Virginia Beach, Va.

Nikhil Desai, 36, of Sanford, Fla., was born in Zambia.

Gene Elliott, 49, of West Des Moines, Iowa, recently won the Iowa Amateur on his home golf course (Glen Oaks) with his son Sam serving as his caddie. Elliott had open heart surgery in 2000 for an aneurysm on his aorta, and had ablation surgery for afibulation in June of 2010. He was the medalist at the 1999 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach.

Jeronimo Esteve, 30, of Windermere, Fla., was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma on March 28, 2011, the same day he won the club championship at Indian Creek. On the day of his sectional qualifier in the Houston area for the Mid-Am, he teed off at 8 a.m., finished playing about 12:15 p.m., and ran to the hospital to get his radiation treatment. After his treatment, he ran back to the golf course where he survived a 5-for-4 playoff to earn a place in the field.

Kyle Flodder, 30, of Katy, Texas, has been taking golf lessons for the past 10 years from Paul Marchand, the general manager and head golf professional at Shadow Hawk

Josh Gregory, 36, of Dallas, Texas, served as the head coach of the Augusta State University men’s golf team that won back-to-back NCAA Division I national championships in 2010 and 2011. He is now the head men’s golf coach at Southern Methodist University.

Daniel Griffiths, 30, of Eugene, Ore., was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Morristown, N.J., from 2000 to 2002.

Christopher Herzog, 25, of Hayward, Calif., is a junior at CSU East Bay.

Camron Howell, 34, of San Tan Valley, Calif., qualified for the regionals of the REMAX World Long Drive Championship in 2009 and 2010 with drives of 369 and 372 yards.

Mike Ignasiak, 45, of Saline, Mich., played college baseball at the University of Michigan with Jim Abbott and Barry Larkin. He played nine seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, four in the major leagues as a right-handed pitcher.

Steven Irwin, 37, of Arvada, Colo., is the son of five-time USGA champion Hale Irwin. The younger Irwin played in the 2011 U.S. Open.

Billy Jackson, 29, of The Woodlands, Texas, is a musician who plays guitar and has been writing and producing music for most of his life. His wife, Melissa Eaton-Jackson, plays on the LPGA Futures Tour.

Scott Kammann, 38, of Knoxville, Tenn., played in the 1995 U.S. Amateur while on his honeymoon. His new wife, Kristin, caddied for him during the championship, where he advanced the quarterfinals and  lost to Tiger Woods. Scott and Kristin made front-page news the morning of the quarterfinal match.

Kenny Kowall, 28, of Parma, Ohio, played college basketball at the University of Akron.

Brad Landry, 31, of Scott, La., was a PGA Tour caddie in 2009 and 2010.

Ryan Leahey, 26, of Orange, Conn., made his first hole-in-one at the age of 12, five days after he was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes. He wears an insulin pump when he plays golf to control his blood sugars. In July, he made his fourth hole-in-one, for which he won a car.

Barry Logar, 33, of Fairfield, Calif., walked away from golf completely in 2002, putting the clubs in his dad’s shed. He didn’t play until April 2010, and worked as a carpenter and construction foreman during his nine-year absence from the game.

Casey Magner, 40, of Winnetka, Ill., has two children, John and Matthew, with cystic fibrosis. They have been relatively healthy, and the family has raised more than $1 million for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since the boys were diagnosed six years ago.

Drew McMahon, 32, of Little Falls, N.J., hadn’t played a tournament for seven years prior to his Mid-Amateur sectional qualifier.

Todd Mitchell, 33, of Bloomington, Ill., was drafted from college as a shortstop by the New York Yankees. He played two years in the minor leagues before returning to Illinois State to earn his degree in exercise physiology in 2002. He was the runner-up at the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Michael Morrison, 33, of Roswell, Ga., was a member of the University of Georgia men’s golf NCAA Division I national title team in 1999.

Michael Muehr, 39, of Potomac Falls, Va., hosts a charity pro-am to benefit Melanoma research called the Capital City Charity Pro-Am. In the first 7 years, the event has raised more than $800,000. Muehr played on the PGA Tour from 2001 to 2003.

Jason Pridmore, 41, of Ventura, Calif., is a motorcyclist who was the 1997 AMA 750 Supersport national champion and the 2002 AMA Formula Extreme national champion and won the 2003 FIM World Endurance Championship. He qualified for the 2005 U.S. Amateur but was unable to play after breaking his leg in a race a day prior to the championship.

Daniel Ragsdale, 34, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., is playing in his first USGA event but he didn’t make getting to the championship easy on himself. At his sectional qualifier, he arrived at the course 20 minutes before his tee time due to traffic. When he looked in the trunk of his car, he realized he did not have his golf clubs – they were in another car. So he ran to the pro shop and grabbed a set of clubs that had seven different models. He bought shoes, balls and a glove and made his tee time with two minutes to spare.

Peach Reynolds, 57, of Austin, Texas, is playing in his first USGA championship since the 1970 U.S. Junior Amateur. He spent 15 years making high-quality hand-made kaleidoscopes and was featured in an article in the Smithsonian Magazine in 1982 about kaleidoscope makers. He and his son Jay were contestants on a Golf Channel reality show called Highway 18 that aired in 2008.

Danny Riskam, 33, of Broomfield, Colo., is a volunteer SCUBA diver at the Denver Aquarium, where he feeds sharks, turtles, fish and stingrays during public feedings.

Chris Shelton, 26, of Orlando, Fla., had only been playing golf for 3 years and 3 months when he qualified for the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur. He works on the golf service staff at the Orange Lake Resort.

Tony Soerries, 42, of The Woodlands, Texas, has skydived, bungee-jumped and walked on fire. He also played in the 2002 U.S. Open.

Tim Spitz, 35, of Pittsford, N.Y., broke his leg while skiing in 2002 and has a titanium rod in his right fibula. He only plays golf twice a week during the season, Thursday night and once on the weekend. He was the 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up to Nathan Smith.

Scott Stevens, 42, of Encinitas, Calif., served his country in the U.S. Navy for six years and during Desert Storm.

Cody Sundberg, 35, of Chicago, Ill., plays drums in a funk/jazz band in his hometown.

Lucas Trierweiler, 36, of Plainwell, Mich., started playing golf in 1998 while in the Army. He has never had a lesson.

Joe True, 30, of Milwaukee, Wis., worked as an operations intern for the American Junior Golf Association during the summer of 2004. He was one of six recent college grads who drove around in one van pulling a 15-foot trailer more than 12,000 miles in 11 weeks to run 10 golf tournaments for the nation’s best junior golfers. He now serves as the director of development for athletics at Marquette University.

Paul Tucker, 32, of Waxhaw, N.C., is playing in his first USGA championship but he’s been at another. He caddied for his wife Kristina at the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open at Newport (R.I.) Country Club.

Shawn Tucker, 33, of Whitefish, Mont., played college basketball and football at Western Montana.

Kevin Watford, 38, of Franklin, Tenn., plays golf right handed and putts left handed. He has never putted a round right handed.

Kenneth Weixel, 53, of New Albany, Ohio, was working in New York City in 2001. On Sept. 11, 2001, he left his apartment near the World Trade Center at 6 a.m. to play in a U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier at Bedford Country Club.

Brian Westveer, 45, of Charlotte, N.C., was a NASCAR pit crew member from 1994 to 1998, including three NASCAR championships from 1995 to 1997. His job was to go over the wall and he was the front tire carrier for pit stops.

Brian Whitman, 29, of Bloomfield, N.J., has caddied for his father Ed in major championships such as the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. His father returned the favor at the 2006 U.S. Amateur at Hazeltine and will again caddie for Brian at this week’s Mid-Amateur.

Trey Wilkinson, 42, of Houston, Texas, is an official scorer for Major League Baseball (MLB) at selected Houston Astros home baseball games. He also does statistics work at Houston Rockets home games and University of Houston home football and basketball games.

Gene Williams, 33, of San Antonio, Texas, is the co-founder and director of the Bean-Dirks Memorial Scholarship Fund, which has distributed almost $500,000 in college scholarships to high school graduates from Beeville High School in need of financial aid. It was created in memory of one of his best friends who passed away in college.

Matthew Williams, 32, of Albuquerque, N.M., missed the first practice round for the 2011 Mid-Am because he was serving as the championship director of the New Mexico Open. He is the executive director of the Sun Country Golf Association.

Beth Murrison is a manager of championship communications for the USGA. E-mail her at bmurrison@usga.org.