Stan Lee, 55, of Heber Springs, Ark., became the youngest USGA Senior Amateur winner in history with his 4-and-3 victory over Sam Farlow, 60, of Birmingham, Ala., Thursday at the 2007 championship at the par-71, 6,502-yard Flint Hills National Golf Club.
At 55 years and five days, Lee surpassed the previous record of 55 years, three months and 18 days set by Bill Bosshard in 1991.
“I cannot believe it,” said Lee. “It is a dream come true. I’m still kind of pinching myself to see if this is real or not. What an honor to win a USGA event. I’m just tickled to death.”
In a match-up of former PGA Tour players, Lee took the early lead after Farlow three-putted the third hole and built the lead to 2 up when Farlow couldn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker on the par-3 fourth. Lee added to his lead when he made a 15-footer for birdie on the sixth and Farlow couldn’t match from 20 feet.
Farlow cut into the deficit with a 15-foot par putt on the seventh hole, but Lee got it right back when he made an incredible 60-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth.
“I knew when that putt went in that I was going to be hard to beat,” said Lee, who played the PGA Tour from 1976-80.
Again, Farlow cut the deficit to 2 down with a short birdie putt on the ninth hole. But Lee immediately returned his advantage to 3 up when he made a 10-footer for birdie on No. 10.
But Farlow wasn’t done. Once again, he cut into Lee’s lead with a birdie at the 11th and had a great chance to get another back at No. 13 when he had a 4-foot par putt to win the hole.
“He got me down early and I thought I was going to make a move,” said Farlow, who also played the PGA Tour in the mid-1970s. “He gave me a chance on 13. If I had made that putt to get it to 1 down, that would have changed everything.”
But the putt slid by the right side of the hole, allowing Lee to maintain his 2-up advantage. Lee got the lead back to 3 up on No. 14 when Farlow’s tee shot on the par 3 entered the rough in front of the green and he couldn’t get up and down.
One hole later, the match ended when Farlow missed a 3-footer for par and then conceded Lee’s 3-foot birdie putt, giving Lee his first national title.
“I knew I was in good shape and as soon as he missed his par putt, I was able to breathe again,” said Lee. “I was so nervous. What a relief it was when he conceded that putt.”
Thought disappointed by falling just short in the final, Farlow found a silver lining about the week at Flint Hills National.
“I’ll look back on this as a very positive thing,” he said. “Even though my name won’t be on the trophy, I’ll still have good thoughts about this week.”
The USGA Senior Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.