1950 U.S. Amateur Champion Urzetta Dies

By David Shefter
April 9, 2011

Sam Urzetta (left) defeated Frank Stranahan in 39 holes to win the 1950 U.S. Amateur. (USGA Museum)

Sam Urzetta, a Rochester, N.Y., native who won the 1950 U.S. Amateur, died April 8 from congestive heart failure at the age of 85.

Urzetta, then 24, needed 39 holes to defeat Frank Stranahan of Toledo, Ohio, in the championship match at Minneapolis Golf Club. At the time, it was the longest final in U.S. Amateur history, a mark that was matched in the 2000 final between winner Jeff Quinney and runner-up James Driscoll at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J.

A former basketball standout at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y., Urzetta was competing in his third Amateur at the time of his triumph. Stranahan was considered the favorite in the final, but he couldn’t match Urzetta’s tenacious play and stellar short game.

That Amateur title helped Urzetta get selected to USA Walker Cup Teams in 1951 and ’53, where he posted an overall record of 4-0.

While he didn’t have the desire to play tour golf, Urzetta became an assistant pro in 1954 before landing the head professional job at the Country Club of Rochester two years later. He served in that capacity at CCR for 37 years. He was a charter member of the Western New York PGA Section Hall of Fame in 1986.

In 1965, he was the section’s Professional of the Year and the 1971 Player of the Year. He also received the Horton Smith Award (for education) in 1977 and 1985, and he claimed the section’s tournament three times.

On the national level, he competed in four U.S. Opens, four Masters (tying for 12th in 1956) and four PGA Championships.

During his youth in the 1940s, Urzetta learned to play the game under the watchful eye of local pro Frank Commisso. He quickly rose in the ranks of Rochester-area players, winning three Rochester District Golf Association titles. In 1948, he claimed the New York State Amateur. He also won the prestigious Monroe Invitational Championship three times as well as the Country Club of Rochester’s Invitation.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be determined.

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image