Storylines For 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur


By Brian DePasquale, USGA
October 2, 2013

WHO’S HERE – Among the 264 golfers in the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur field, there are:

Oldest Competitors: Mike Bell (66, born 6-4-47), Ron Vannelli (65, born 4-24-48), Kent Brown (65, born 8-20-48), Paul Simson (62, born 5-10-51)

Youngest Competitors: David Weisfeld (25, born 5-31-88), Kenneth McCready (25, born 3-20-88), Kevin Fitzgerald (25, born 2-15-88), Michael Greene (2-3-88), Eric Russell (25, born 1-21-88), Matt Schneider (25, born 1-6-88)

Average Age of Field: 37.58

USGA Champions (10): Mike Bell (2006 Senior Amateur), Doug Hanzel (2013 Senior Amateur), Tim Hogarth (1996 Amateur Public Links), Tim Jackson (1994, 2001 Mid-Amateur), Randal Lewis (2011 Mid-Amateur), Kevin Marsh (2005 Mid-Amateur), Nathan Smith (2003, 2009, 2010, 2012 Mid-Amateur), Paul Simson (2010, 2012 Senior Amateur), Steve Wilson (2008 Mid-Amateur), Dave Womack (2006 Mid-Amateur)

USGA Runners-Up (6): Kenny Cook (2011 Mid-Amateur), Tim Hogarth (2010 Mid-Amateur), Randal Lewis (1996 Mid-Amateur), Todd Mitchell (2008 Mid-Amateur), Bryan Norton (2003 Mid-Amateur), Garrett Rank (2012 Mid-Amateur)

Number Who Played in 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur: 62

Number Who Played in 2013 U.S. Open: none

Number Who Played in 2013 U.S. Senior Open: 4 (Doug Hanzel, Michael McCoy, Paul Simson, Jeff Wilson)

Number Who Played in 2013 U.S. Amateur: 11 (Patrick Christovich, Mark Cusic, Scott Harvey, Michael Kelley, Alex Kephart, Randal Lewis, Trey Martin, Michael McCoy, Garrett Rank, T.J. Shuart, Nathan Smith)

Number Who Played in 2013 USGA Senior Amateur: 6 (Mike Bell, James Gallagher, Doug Hanzel, Randal Lewis, Paul Simson, Ron Vannelli)

Number Who Played in 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links: 8 (Mason Casper, Nathan Clark, Mark Cusic, Andy Drohen, Garrett Rank, T.J. Shuart, Jon Veneziano, Justin Wenger)

Number Who Played in 2013 Walker Cup Match: 2 (Nathan Smith, Todd White)

PLAYER NOTES:

Sean Barrett, 28, of San Francisco, is an avid surfer who has ridden waves at California’s Mavericks Beach and Ocean Beach, the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii and Southwest Mexico. Barrett, an investment professional, was a member of three Ivy League championship golf teams at the University of Pennsylvania and played in the 2005 U.S. Amateur at Merion Golf Club.

Richard “Skip” Berkmeyer, 39, of St. Louis, is playing in his eighth U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. He has been the Mid-Amateur stroke-play medalist twice and advanced to Round of 16 in 2007. Berkmeyer, who owns a trophy business, is a three-time Missouri state amateur champion.

Glen Boggini, 47, of Tolland, Conn., is playing in his first USGA championship after attempting to qualify for 20 years. Boggini is the head boys’ lacrosse coach at East Catholic High School in Manchester, Conn. The Eagles shared the 2013 league title with a 13-6 record.

Casey Boyns, 57, 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 of the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur and made match play at the 2011 and 2012 USGA Senior Amateurs.

Dennis Bull, 31, of Norwalk, Iowa, was a 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist. He also led Iowa to a second-place finish at last year’s USGA State Team Championship. Bull, who received the D.A. Weibring Scholarship while attending Illinois State University, played in the 2013 U.S. Amateur and was second at this year’s Iowa Masters.

Jordan Byrd, 37, of Greenville, S.C., is in his eighth year as assistant golf coach at Clemson University. He was a U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist in 2007. His younger brother, Jonathan, is a five-time winner on the PGA Tour who was voted 2002 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.

Mason Casper, 26, of Lindon, Utah, is the grandson of three-time USGA champion Billy Casper. Casper advanced to the Round of 32 at last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur, his first USGA championship. He served a two-year church mission in Chile where he learned Spanish.

Patrick Christovich, 35, of New Orleans, advanced to match play at the U.S. Mid-Amateur the last two years. Christovich, who is a realtor, has claimed the Louisiana Mid-Amateur title three times (2010, 2011, 2012) and was the runner-up at this year’s Louisiana Amateur.

Kenny Cook, 33, of Noblesville, Ind., was the runner-up to Randal Lewis at the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Cook, an accountant, reached match play at the Mid-Amateur last year. His wife, Lisa, qualified for the 2013 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, held concurrently at Biltmore Forest C.C., in Asheville, N.C.

Benjamin Cooke, 34, of Westlake, Ohio, was a utility infielder and outfielder at the University of Notre Dame from 1997-2001. He batted .344 as a senior and played in 175 career games. Cooke is now an attorney for Milestone Sport Management.

Tony Daffer, 43, of Eden Prairie, Minn., is a member of the board of governors at Hazeltine National Golf Club, in Chaska, Minn., the site of the 1970 and 1991 U.S. Opens. Daffer, who is a managing partner for an investment management firm, is also executive vice chairman of sales for the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National.

Patrick Duffy, 42, of Omaha, Neb., was general chairman for the 2013 U.S. Senior Open Championship, held at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. Duffy, who won the 2012 Nebraska Mid-Amateur and has twice claimed the state amateur, is president of the Nebraska Golf Association.

Kenny Ebalo, 30, of Las Vegas, Nev., manages PGA Tour player Ryan Moore, a three-time USGA champion. Ebalo, who is playing in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, has caddied for U.S. Open champions Gary Player and Lee Janzen.

John Engler, 34, of Augusta, Ga., was a 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinalist. He endured a horrific auto accident more than nine years ago, a head-on collision that killed two people in another vehicle and severely injured his right foot. Engler, who was reinstated as an amateur in 2010, has had six surgeries, including one that removed a plate and screws from the ankle.

Jeronimo Esteve, 32, of Windermere, Fla., is a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in 2011. A general manager for Honda and Hyundai dealerships, Esteve instructs drivers of high-performance cars on various race circuits. He represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship in Antalya, Turkey.

Woodie Eubanks, 38, of Trussville, Ala., is in his 10th year as the head golf coach at Samford University. He was voted 2011 Southern Conference Coach of the Year and guided the program to its first conference crown and NCAA appearance. Eubanks won the 2008 Alabama state mid-amateur title and the 2011 state four-ball championship.

Raymond Floyd Jr., 39, of Old Greenwich, Conn., is the son of Raymond Floyd, the 1986 U.S. Open champion. He caddied for his father in his last Masters Tournament appearance. A sales trader for Weeden & Company, Floyd Jr. is playing in his fifth U.S. Mid-Amateur.

James Gallagher, 55, of Yorktown, Va., retired as a colonel from the U.S. Air Force in 2008 after 27 years of service. He piloted B-52s for 15 years before primarily controlling air strikes on enemy contacts. Gallagher, who served in Gulf Wars I and II and Kosovo, earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, multiple Air Medals and two Bronze Stars with Valor. He had experimental back surgery in 2002 after being injured in an aircraft incident over Iraq in 1991. Gallagher also qualified for the 2013 USGA Senior Amateur.

Stan Gann Jr., 36, of Bonaire, Ga., is playing in his first USGA championship after being reinstated as an amateur last June. His father, Stan, was a Georgia Tech quarterback from 1960-62 and the head coach at Northside High School for eight seasons. His mother, Sissi, captained Georgia to victory at the 2009 and 2011 USGA Women’s State Team Championships. She served on the Georgia State Golf Association Executive Committee from 2001-06.

Ryan Gelrod, 42, of Ambler, Pa., was a collegiate tennis player at Lehigh University who was voted to the Patriot League’s All-Decade Team (1990-2000). Gelrod, now an investment advisor, was chosen the league’s tennis scholar-athlete of the year three times.

Erik Hanson, 48, of Kirkland, Wash., was a right-handed pitcher for four Major League Baseball teams. He was named to the 1995 American League All-Star Team when he was 15-5 for the Boston Red Sox and won 18 games for the Seattle Mariners in 1990. He reached match play at last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Doug Hanzel, 56, of Savannah, Ga., won the 2013 USGA Senior Amateur Championship and was low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open for the second consecutive year. In 2012, he advanced to the USGA Senior Amateur semifinals, 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.

Brad Hartz, 46, of Wellesley, Mass., is playing in his first USGA championship. Besides working as a real estate broker, Hartz has been a voice actor since 1997. He has done voice-over ads for Comcast, ESPN, Gillette, Subway, New Balance, Reebok and Starkist, and has also worked on cartoons, movie trailers, documentaries, video games and audio books.

Scott Harvey, 35, of Greensboro, N.C., was a 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist and co-medalist in stroke play. He won the 2013 North Carolina Mid-Amateur title. His father, Bill, played in 23 USGA championships, including 15 U.S. Amateurs.

Tim Hogarth, 47, of Northridge, Calif., was the runner-up to Nathan Smith at the 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur and shared stroke-play medalist honors. He won the 1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship by defeating Jeff Thomas, 8 and 7, in the final at Wailua (Hawaii) Golf Club.

Clay Homan, 41, of Starkville, Miss., is in his 11th year as the head golf coach at Mississippi State University. He led the Bulldogs to consecutive NCAA appearances in 2008 and 2009. Homan, who competed in last year’s USGA Men’s State Team Championship, has won four Mississippi state amateurs and four state mid-amateurs.

Mike Ignasiak, 47, of Saline, Mich., is playing in his 10th USGA championship, including four U.S. Mid-Amateurs. Ignasiak was a right-handed pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1991-95. As a collegian, he played on the same Michigan team as shortstop Barry Larkin and pitcher Jim Abbott.

Tom Immenschuh, 51, of San Antonio, Texas, is playing in his first USGA championship. He is a senior vice president and financial advisor for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. Immenschuh served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1986-95 and was activated for Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in 1986 after serving for four years.

Tim Jackson, 54, of Germantown, Tenn., has captured two U.S. Mid-Amateur championships. In 1994, he defeated Tommy Brennan, 1 up, at Hazeltine National G.C., in Chaska, Minn. In 2001, he edged George Zahringer, 1 up, at San Joaquin C.C., in Fresno, Calif. Jackson, who began playing competitively at age 17 and advanced to the Mid-Amateur semifinals last year, was a member of two USA Walker Cup squads (1995, 1999).

J.J. Jakovac, 31, of Las Vegas, Nev., has caddied for PGA Tour player and three-time USGA champion Ryan Moore,  as well as Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo. He won the NCAA Division II individual national championship in 2002 and 2004 as a member of the golf team at California State University, Chico.

Jeff Knox, 50, of Augusta, Ga., has been a “marker” during the Masters Tournament and was paired with Bubba Watson (third round) and Keegan Bradley (final round) this year. He coordinated with the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame to have six bronze statues (Bob Jones, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Raymond Floyd) relocated and permanently displayed at the Augusta Museum of History.

Bobby Leopold, 28, of Coventry, R.I., is playing in his third U.S. Mid-Amateur; he qualified for match play in 2010. Leopold, who reached the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur in 2011 and 2012, was born in Albany, N.Y., and resided in England until age 18 when he moved to the United States to attend college.

Randal Lewis, 56, of Alma, Mich., is competing in his 23rd USGA championship, including 10 U.S. Mid-Amateurs and eight U.S. Amateurs. He won the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur by defeating Kenny Cook, 3 and 2, at Shadow Hawk G.C., in Richmond, Texas. Lewis was named the Michigan Golf Association’s Player of the Decade for the 1990s and was inducted in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2009.

Tristan Lewis, 34, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, is the son of Bob Lewis, a two-time USA Walker Cup captain and four-time USA Walker Cup Team member. Tristan, who runs a wealth management firm, played in the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur and 2012 U.S. Amateur.

Kevin Marsh, 40, of Henderson, Nev., won the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at The Honors Course, in Chattanooga, Tenn. A commercial real estate developer, Marsh is playing in his 10th Mid-Amateur. In addition to his 2005 title, he advanced to the quarterfinals in 2004 and the semifinals in 2007.

Trey Martin, 37, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was selected in the eighth round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos. He pitched three seasons in the organization’s minor-league system. Martin, who also played in this year’s U.S. Amateur, is a real estate agent.

Matthew Mattare, 27, of New York City, reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur, his first USGA championship. His father, Gene, is the general manager and director of golf at Saucon Valley Country Club, in Bethlehem, Pa., the site of the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

Christopher McConnell, 40, of Lewistown, Mont., was in a 2011 auto accident in which he suffered 17 fractured bones, lost his spleen and had a severe concussion. He spent one month in a hospital, another month in assisted living and was unable to walk for six months. McConnell has 20 screws and two plates in his left leg. His U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier, in Cody, Wyo., marked his second 18-hole round this year.

Mike McCoy, 50, of West Des Moines, Iowa, has played in 13 U.S. Mid-Amateurs, advancing to match play 10 times. McCoy, who qualified for this year’s U.S. Senior Open at Omaha (Neb.) C.C., is playing in his 38th USGA championship. A 10-time Iowa player of the year, McCoy has also represented his state six times in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship.

Todd Mitchell, 35, of Bloomington, Ill., was the runner-up to Steve Wilson in the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Mitchell, who did not play college golf, was an All-Missouri Valley Conference shortstop at Illinois State University. He was chosen in the 14th round of the MLB Draft by the New York Yankees and played two seasons in the organization’s minor league system.

Ryan Murphy, 40, of Austin, Texas, is in his fifth year as assistant golf coach at the University of Texas.  He was named 2013 Jan Strickland NCAA National Assistant Coach of the Year and helped lead the Longhorns to the 2012 NCAA championship. Murphy played at New Mexico from 1994-97 and played in four NCAA Championships. His college roommate was former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Bryan Norton, 54, of Mission Hills, Kan., was runner-up to Nathan Smith at the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur, held at Wilmington (Del.) C.C. He was forced to concede the match on the ninth hole after sustaining a calf injury. Norton, who has played in the U.S. Open and British Open, led Kansas to the 2010 USGA Men’s State Team Championship.

John O’Donnell, 48, of Los Angeles, is playing in his seventh USGA championship, including five U.S. Mid-Amateurs. He is the older brother of actor Chris O’Donnell and runs johnnie-O, a successful apparel company for men, women and children. O’Donnell is a three-time club champion at Los Angeles Country Club, site of the 2017 Walker Cup Match.

Drew Olson, 30, of Berkeley, Calif., is playing his second USGA championship. He played quarterback on the collegiate level at UCLA and had a brief professional career with the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers. Olson is second among UCLA’s career leaders in passing yards (8,532) and touchdown passes (67). He led the Bruins to a 50-38 victory over Northwestern in the 2005 Sun Bowl.

Jeffery “Scott” Oxandaboure, 32, of San Marcos, Calif., is playing in his first USGA championship. He is a senior lab technician for the Acushnet Company-Titleist. Oxandaboure, who played as a collegian at USC, analyzes product lines and works with the metal wood team.

Garrett Rank, 26, of Canada, was the runner-up at the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur, losing to Nathan Smith, 1 up, in the championship match.  Rank overcame a cancer scare at age 23, giving him a new outlook on life. He was the medalist at this year’s U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He was a member of the 2012 Canada Men’s National Team and is a minor-league professional hockey referee.

Chris Sabo, 51, of Cincinnati, Ohio, is playing in his second USGA championship. He was a three-time All-Star third baseman for the Cincinnati Reds and played on the 1990 World Series championship team. Sabo, who played for four MLB teams during his career, was the 1988 National League Rookie of the Year.

Jeff Scohy, 36, of Bellbrook, Ohio, spent seven years on active duty as a U.S. Air Force acquisitions officer, rising to the rank of captain. Scohy is now in the Air Force Reserves as a major. He has made four trips to Iraq on temporary duty. Scohy, who is playing in his sixth U.S. Mid-Amateur, has won three Armed Services golf championships.

Corby Segal, 42, of Santa Clarita, Calif., was a 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist, losing to eventual champion Nathan Smith, 1 up. Segal, who caddies for PGA Tour player Briny Baird, won his 2012 club championship by 18 strokes and recently tied the Woodland Hills C.C. course record with a 62.

Tim Sheppard, 52, of East Peoria, Ill., is a self-employed insurance salesman who spent a good deal of his adult life lifting weights, body building and playing slow-pitch softball. He won a Toughman Contest in 1986 and captured a middle-level weight class in a 1990 body building show. Sheppard started playing golf competitively in the 1990s and had reconstructive surgery on his left elbow in 2007.

Paul Simson, 62, of Raleigh, N.C., has won two USGA Senior Amateurs (2010, 2012) and advanced to match play at last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur. Simson, who played in this year’s U.S. Senior Open, has claimed three British Senior Open Amateur titles. He is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Nathan Smith, 35, of Pittsburgh, is a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and a member of three USA Walker Cup Teams. He scored the clinching point in the USA’s 17-9 victory at the 2013 Walker Cup Match. In 2012, Smith became the 15th player in USGA history to win the same championship four times. His 1-up victory over Garrett Rank in the Mid-Amateur final placed him in a group of four-time champions that includes Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Bob Jones, Mickey Wright, Carol Semple Thompson and JoAnne Carner.

Haymes Snedeker, 37, of Fairhope, Ala., is the brother of PGA Tour player Brandt Snedeker, who won the 2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and has captured six PGA Tour events. Haymes, who won “The Big Break X: Michigan” on Golf Channel, played and coached at the University of Mississippi. He graduated from Ole Miss’ law school in 2002 and works as a part-time municipal judge and real estate developer.

Joe True, 32, of Milwaukee, Wis., is an associate athletic director at Marquette University, where he is responsible for fund-raising. In the summer of 2004, he served as an operations intern for the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA).

Paul Tucker, 34, of Waxhaw, N.C., caddied for his wife, Kristina, in the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open at Newport (R.I.) Country Club, where she tied for 20th. Tucker, who reached the Round of 32 at the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur, is vice president for C.M. Tucker Lumber Companies, a family-owned business.

Brad Valois, 26, of Warwick, R.I., was the stroke-play medalist and reached the Round of 32 at the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Valois, a financial planner for New York Life, won the 2013 Rhode Island Amateur and was runner-up at this year’s New England Amateur.

Chet Walsh, 48, of Wayne, Pa., is the golf chairman and serves on the board of governors at Philadelphia Country Club, the site of the 1939 U.S. Open. He and his 91-year-old father, William, were 13th-hole marshals at this year’s U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club. Walsh’s brother, Brendan, is the head professional at The Country Club, which hosted this year’s U.S. Amateur. Chet has coached college golf and boys’ basketball on the high school level.

Todd White, 45, of Spartanburg, S.C., helped the USA to a 17-9 victory in the 2013 Walker Cup Match, held at the National Golf Links of America, in Southampton, N.Y. He advanced to the semifinals of the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur. A high school history teacher, White, the 2012 South Carolina Golf Association Player of the Year, has played in four U.S. Amateurs and four USGA Men’s State Team Championships.

Jeff Wilson, 50, of Fairfield, Calif., advanced to the U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinals in 2001 and 2002. Wilson, who was reinstated as an amateur in 1997 and played in this year’s U.S. Senior Open, carded a 10-under-par 62 in stroke-play qualifying at the 2010 U.S. Amateur by recording eagles on the final two holes of The Home Course in Dupont, Wash. He was the low amateur in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links.

Steve Wilson, 43, of Ocean Springs, Miss., won the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur by defeating Todd Mitchell, 5 and 4, in the final at Milwaukee C.C., in River Hills, Wis.  A gas station owner, Wilson has 12 career holes-in-one.

Dave Womack, 34, of McDonough, Ga., captured the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur by defeating Ryan Hybl, 1 up, at Highlands G.C. (Canyon Course), in Flagstaff, Ariz. Womack, an insurance agent, has twice won the Georgia Public Links Championship (2003, 2005).

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

 

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