Mark Bemowski, 58, of Mukwonago, Wis., earned a 4-and-3 victory over Greg Reynolds, 57, of Grand Blanc, Mich., to win the 2004 Senior Amateur Championship Thursday at the par-70, 6,491-yard Bel-Air Country Club.
It was sweet redemption for Bemowski, who lost the final of the 2002 championship to Reynolds at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla., 4 and 3.
"It's just amazing that we would have the opportunity to meet again," said Bemowski. "And then, for me to have the match I did, I'm really thrilled."
Bemowski got off to a sizzling start, winning the first three holes, and built the lead to a 5-up advantage with back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth holes. Meanwhile, Reynolds was struggling, with bogeys on two of the first six holes.
"He just played beautifully on the front side and I wasn't able to match his good play, and he put me in a big hole," said Reynolds. "I had a few chances on a couple of holes if I could just have gotten a few putts to drop."
Reynolds cut the deficit to four holes after Bemowski double-bogeyed Bel-Air's treacherous par-3, 195-yard 10th hole. He had a chance to cut Bemowski's lead to three a hole later but missed a five-foot birdie putt.
Bemowski gave another hole back when he three-putted the 12th for bogey. But Reynolds found trouble on the par-5 14th hole when he hit his tee shot in the trees to the right of the fairway. He went on to bogey the hole after missing a 30-foot par putt, and Bemowski safely two-putted for par to go 4 up and dormie.
A hole later, the two traded pars and Bemowski had the victory.
"When I became a senior, I thought I had a chance to win this," said Bemowski. "What a thrill to win a USGA championship. It's the pinnacle."
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.