U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Get to Know the Field
August 9, 2016 | Columbus, Ohio
WHO’S HERE – Among the 156 golfers in the 2016 U.S. Senior Open there are:
U.S. Senior Open champions (12): Olin Browne (2011), Brad Bryant (2007), Roger Chapman (2012), Dave Eichelberger (1999), Bruce Fleisher (2001), Fred Funk (2009), Hale Irwin (1998, 2000), Bernhard Langer (2010), Jeff Maggert (2015), Colin Montgomerie (2014), Kenny Perry (2013) and Eduardo Romero (2008).
U.S. Senior Open runners-up (12): Bruce Fleisher (2000), Fred Funk (2008, ’12, ‘13), Hale Irwin (1996, 2004), Bernhard Langer (2012), Tom Lehman (2012), Colin Montgomerie (2015), Gil Morgan (2001), Mark O’Meara (2011), Loren Roberts (2005), Gene Sauers (2014), Joey Sindelar (2009) and Tom Watson (2002, ’03, ’06).
U.S. Open champions (4): Hale Irwin (1974, ’79, ’90), Lee Janzen (1993, ’98), Scott Simpson (1987) and Tom Watson (1982).
U.S. Open runners-up (10): Mark Brooks (2001), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2000), Tom Lehman (1996), Rocco Mediate (2008), Colin Montgomerie (1994, ‘97, 2006), Scott Simpson (1991), Jeff Sluman (1992), Loren Roberts (1994), Tom Watson (1983, ’87) and Ian Woosnam (1989).
U.S. Amateur champions (6): John Cook (1978), Bruce Fleisher (1968), Mark O’Meara (1979), Billy Mayfair (1987), Eric Meeks (1988) and Scott Verplank (1984).
U.S. Amateur runners-up (2): John Cook (1979), Scott Hoch (1978).
U.S. Junior Amateur champions (1): Gary Koch (1970).
U.S. Junior Amateur runners-up (1): Scott Simpson (1972).
U.S. Mid-Amateur champions (1): Michael McCoy (2013).
U.S. Mid-Amateur runners-up (0): None.
U.S. Senior Amateur champions (2): Chip Lutz (2015), Patrick Tallent (2014).
U.S. Senior Amateur runners-up (2): Tom Brandes (2015), Patrick Tallent (2010).
U.S. Amateur Public Links champions (2): Ralph Howe III (1988), Billy Mayfair (1986).
U.S. Amateur Public Links runners-up (0): None.
USGA champions (25): Olin Browne (2011 Senior Open), Brad Bryant (2007 Senior Open), Roger Chapman (2012 Senior Open), John Cook (1978 Amateur), Dave Eichelberger (1999 Senior Open), Bruce Fleisher (1968 Amateur, 2001 Senior Open), Fred Funk (2009 Senior Open), Ralph Howe III (1988 Amateur Public Links), Hale Irwin (1998, 2000 Senior Open, 1974, ’79, ’90 Open), Lee Janzen (1993, ’98 Open), Gary Koch (1970 Junior Amateur), Bernhard Langer (2010 Senior Open), Chip Lutz (2015 Senior Amateur), Jeff Maggert (2015 Senior Open), Michael McCoy (2013 Mid-Amateur), Billy Mayfair (1986 Amateur Public Links, 1987 Amateur), Eric Meeks (1988 Amateur), Colin Montgomerie (2014 Senior Open), Mark O’Meara (1979 Amateur), Kenny Perry (2013 Senior Open), Eduardo Romero (2008 Senior Open), Scott Simpson (1987 Open), Patrick Tallent (2014 Senior Amateur), Scott Verplank (1984 Amateur) and Tom Watson (1982 Open).
Walker Cup Team Members:
United States (16): Billy Andrade (1987)), Dave Eichelberger (1965), Bruce Fleisher (1969), Jay Haas (1975), Gary Hallberg (1977), Scott Hoch (1979), Ralph Howe III (1989), Joe Inman (1969), Gary Koch (1973, 1975), Billy Mayfair (1987), Michael McCoy (2015), Eric Meeks (1989), Scott Simpson (1977), David Tentis (1983), Scott Verplank (1985) and Duffy Waldorf (1985).
Great Britain & Ireland (4): Roger Chapman (1981), Stephen Dodd (1989), Stephen Keppler (1983) and Colin Montgomerie (1985, ’87).
NCAA Division I champions (6): Jim Carter (1983), Jay Haas (1975), Gary Hallberg (1979), Hale Irwin (1967), Scott Simpson (1976, ‘77) and Scott Verplank (1986).
NCAA Division II champions (2): Lee Janzen (1986), Mike Nicolette (1976).
TOTAL SENIOR OPENS WON BY 2016 CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD (13): Olin Browne (1), Brad Bryant (1), Roger Chapman (1), Dave Eichelberger (1), Bruce Fleisher (1), Fred Funk (1), Hale Irwin (2), Bernhard Langer (1), Jeff Maggert (1), Colin Montgomerie (1), Kenny Perry (1) and Eduardo Romero (1).
PLAYERS IN FIELD WITH MOST SENIOR OPEN APPEARANCES (2016 included) – Dave Eichelberger (23), Hale Irwin (21), Gil Morgan (18), Larry Nelson (15), Tom Watson (15) and Bruce Fleisher (14).
ACTIVE CONSECUTIVE U.S. SENIOR OPEN APPEARANCES (2016 included) – Dave Eichelberger (23), Hale Irwin (13) and Loren Roberts (12).
CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD – The USGA accepted 2,791 entries in 2016. David Speicher, a 55-year-old amateur from Mascoutah, Ill., submitted his entry 49 seconds before the deadline of 5 p.m. EDT on June 8. Robert Palmer, a 50-year-old amateur from The Woodlands, Texas, was the first entrant. The record for entries is 3,101 in 2002.
The 156-player field includes 76 fully exempt golfers, 12 of whom are U.S. Senior Open champions. Sectional qualifying over 18 holes was held at 34 sites in the United States between June 14 and July 11.
AMATEURS – There are 23 amateurs in the 156-player field. At least one amateur has made the 36-hole cut in 11 consecutive U.S. Senior Opens. Michael McCoy, the low amateur in last year’s U.S. Senior Open, and Chip Lutz, the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, are among this group.
McCoy, of Des Moines, Iowa, tied for 26th in the 2015 U.S. Senior Open, held at Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento, Calif. McCoy won the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur at the Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.) and became the second-oldest winner of the championship at age 50. He was also the low amateur at the 2014 U.S. Senior Open.
Lutz, 61, defeated Tom Brandes, 5 and 3, in last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur final. He is competing in his first U.S. Senior Open. Lutz and Paul Simson are the only players to have won the U.S. Senior Amateur, Seniors Amateur, conducted by The R&A, and the Canadian Senior Amateur championships.
Patrick Tallent, 62, is playing in his sixth U.S. Senior Open and was the low amateur in 2004 when he tied for 54th. Tallent was a college basketball player at George Washington University and was selected in the NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets.
Brandes, the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up, has competed in 14 USGA championships, including four U.S. Senior Opens. He was also the runner-up to George Zahringer in the 2013 Seniors Amateur, conducted by The R&A.
Mike Finster was one of three amateurs to play all 72 holes in his first U.S. Senior Open last year. Finster, who is a territorial manager for GAF, the largest roofing manufacturer in North America, placed 71st at Del Paso Country Club. In 2016, he earned one of two qualifying spots at the Belleair, Fla., sectional.
SECTIONAL QUALIFIERS – Mark Brooks, the 1996 PGA champion and 2001 U.S. Open runner-up, Miguel Angel Martin, who competed on the PGA European Tour, and Steve Pate, who has six PGA Tour victories, are among 80 U.S. Senior Open sectional qualifiers.
Brooks, who lost to Retief Goosen in a U.S. Open playoff at Southern Hills Country Club, won seven times on the PGA Tour. He has worked as an analyst as part of Fox Sports’ U.S. Open coverage. Martin, of Spain, recorded three PGA European Tour victories in the 1990s. Pate, who tied for third in the 1988 U.S. Open, owns six PGA Tour wins.
Ralph Howe III, who won the 1988 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, also advanced through qualifying. He is playing in his first U.S. Senior Open. Patrick Tallent, the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, was also a sectional qualifier.
Note: In 2002, Don Pooley became the first and only player to win the U.S. Senior Open as a sectional qualifier.
SENIOR MAJOR CHAMPIONS – Bernhard Langer, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open champion, and Colin Montgomerie, the 2014 U.S. Senior Open champion and last year’s runner-up, have combined to win eight of the last 13 senior major championships contested. In 2016, Langer won his third consecutive Senior Players Championship and captured The Tradition. He has won seven senior major professional titles, which is tied for second with Hale Irwin for most championships won in that category. Jack Nicklaus is the all-time leader with eight.
CAREER SENIOR MAJOR LEADERS – Jack Nicklaus, a two-time U.S. Senior Open champion, is the career leader with eight senior major professional titles. Hale Irwin, who won the U.S. Senior Open in 1998 and 2000, and Bernhard Langer, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open champion, are tied for second with seven senior majors.
SENIOR OPEN BIRTHDAYS – Seven players in the U.S. Senior Open field will be celebrating a birthday close to the time of the championship. Kenny Perry, who won the 2013 U.S. Senior Open, is among that group. He will turn 56 on Aug. 10. Grant Waite, who tied for third at last year’s U.S. Senior Open, will turn 52 on Aug. 11, the first day of the championship. Paul Broadhurst, winner of the 2016 Senior Open Championship, will be 51 on Aug. 14, the scheduled final round of the championship.
OLDEST & YOUNGEST – Dave Eichelberger is the oldest player in this year’s U.S. Senior Open field. Eichelberger, the 1999 U.S. Senior Open winner, is 72 years old. Billy Mayfair, a two-time USGA champion, is the youngest in the field. He turned 50 on Aug. 6.
FIELD FOR THE AGES – Eight players in the 2016 U.S. Senior Open field have celebrated their 50th birthday since May. Warren Bladon, who won The Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A, at Turnberry G.C. in 1996, turned 50 on May 4. Stephen Dodd, who captured The Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale G.C. in 1989, turned 50 on July 15.
Twenty-four players in the field are 60 or older. Hale Irwin, 71, has captured a pair of U.S. Senior Opens. Brad Bryant, Bruce Fleisher, Fred Funk and Eduardo Romero are also U.S. Senior Open champions.
The average age of the 156-player field is 55.04.
INTERNATIONAL GROUP – There are 15 countries represented in the 2016 U.S. Senior Open. The U.S. has 129 players in the field, while England has seven and Canada and Japan have three each. Spain, Sweden and Wales have two players in the field.
Countries with players in the field – United States (129), England (7), Canada (3), Japan (3), Spain (2), Sweden (2), Wales (2), Argentina (1), Australia (1), Fiji (1), Germany (1), Mexico (1), New Zealand (1), Scotland (1) and South Africa (1).
FIRST TIME IN U.S. SENIOR OPEN – There are 56 players in the 2016 championship field who are playing in their first U.S. Senior Open. John Daly, 50, won the PGA Championship in 1991 and The Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, in 1995, defeating Constantino Rocca in a playoff. Todd Hamilton, 50, won the 2004 Open Championship in a playoff with Ernie Els at Royal Troon G.C.
List of First-Time U.S. Senior Open Competitors (56): John Balfanz, Warren Bladon, a-Mike Bodney, Michael Bradley, Paul Broadhurst, Brian Cairns, a-David Capel, Barry Cheesman, a-Gregory Condon, a-Arnold Cutrell, a-Dennis Dachtler, John Daly, Glen Day, Clark Dennis, Stephen Dodd, Eric Egloff, a-Gene Elliott, Bobby Gage, Jeff Gallagher, Mike Gilmore, a-Goran Hagegard, Todd Hamilton, Kevin Healy, a-John Hornbeck, Ralph Howe, Andrew Inman, a-Steven Jacobs, Brandt Jobe, Chris Kaufman, Stephen Keppler, a-James Kiely, Greg Kraft, a-John Lobb, a-Chip Lutz, a-Jeff Mallette, Billy Mayfair, Scott McCarron, Eric Meeks, Brian Mogg, Stephen Mondshine, Greg Parker, Jesper Parnevik, Steve Pellegrine, David Plumb, Gary Rusnak, Takeshi Sakiyama, a-Rick Sanders, Ben Sauls, Mark Sherman, Mike Small, Thomas Stankowski, Chip Sullivan, Dave Tentis, a-Kevin VandenBerg, a-Scott Vermeer and a-Don Walsworth.
HONORARY CHAIRMAN – Jack Nicklaus, an eight-time USGA champion, is serving as honorary chairman of the 2016 U.S. Senior Open. Scioto Country Club is where Nicklaus honed his game with legendary teaching professional Jack Grout. Beyond his record 18 major-championship victories and 120 professional wins worldwide, Nicklaus captured 73 PGA Tour victories as well as two U.S. Amateurs and two U.S. Senior Opens. In 1975, he won the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honor. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015. The U.S. Open gold medal, given to all U.S. Open champions, was named the Jack Nicklaus Medal in 2012. Nicklaus was honored by the USGA on May 27, 2015 with the opening of the Jack Nicklaus Room in the USGA Museum at the association’s Far Hills, N.J., headquarters. The 1,200-square-foot exhibit space contains more than 80 artifacts, many on loan from the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, Ohio.
SCIOTO CHAMPION – Bruce Fleisher, the 2001 U.S. Senior Open champion, won the 1968 U.S. Amateur at Scioto Country Club. At age 19, Fleisher became the fourth-youngest to win the U.S. Amateur and was the second player to win on his first attempt. His 72-hole score of 4-over-par 284 was one stroke ahead of Marvin “Vinny” Giles. Fleisher, who is competing in his 14th U.S. Senior Open, owns 18 PGA Tour Champions victories.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE – Woody Austin, a three-time winner on PGA Tour Champions this year, has competed in two U.S. Open sectional qualifiers at Scioto Country Club. In 2007, he was one of 24 players to advance to the U.S. Open with rounds of 73-69–142. He also competed in the 2014 Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier that featured Scioto as one of the two qualifying courses. Austin, who once worked for a credit union and a drugstore, won three times in a 35-day span earlier this year on PGA Tour Champions, capturing the Tucson Conquistadores Classic (March 20), the Mitsubishi Electric Classic (April 17) and the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf with partner Michael Allen (April 24).
ANCHORS AWEIGH – Commander John Lobb, who was co-medalist at the Ocala, Fla., sectional qualifier, retired from the Navy in 2007 after serving as executive officer of Naval Station Mayport, near Jacksonville, Fla. Lobb was a wide receiver at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he played for head coach Gary Tranquill, a former Ohio State and Cleveland Browns assistant. Lobb had 28 receptions as a senior in 1986 and played with Heisman Trophy candidate and consensus All-America running back Napoleon McCallum. Lobb, who won this year’s Jacksonville Amateur Golf Association Senior Championship with a final-round 67, was twice deployed to the Persian Gulf (1993, 1995). He was also with the Enterprise Battle Group in 1999, which included Operation Desert Fox. He earned two Meritorious Service Awards.
ALL IN THE FAMILY – Jeff Gallagher is the brother of Jim Gallagher Jr., who owns five PGA Tour wins, and Jackie Gallagher-Smith, who won once on the LPGA Tour. Jeff, who is a teaching professional at the Legacy Golf Course, in Henderson, Nev., recorded two wins on the Nationwide Tour. He carded a 68 to earn medalist honors at the Bremerton, Wash., sectional qualifier.
GOLF PASTOR – Ralph Howe III won the 1988 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and became the event’s first winner to receive a Masters Tournament invitation. Howe, who competed on the Nationwide Tour in 1994, later found life more fulfilling as pastor of the Discover Church, 1 mile from the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Fla. Howe joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and once he retired as a touring pro in 1998, he became the chaplain on the Nationwide Tour, where he worked with players and caddies. A full-time position opened up at Discovery Church, a nondenominational Protestant ministry, and he was hired in 2004. Howe played as a collegian at Florida Southern, and his teammates included two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, Rocco Mediate and Marco Dawson.
WINGED FOOT LEGACY – Winged Foot Golf Club hosted the first U.S. Senior Open in 1980. Mike Gilmore will be the third Winged Foot head professional to play in the U.S. Senior Open, joining Claude Harmon (1980) and Tom Nieporte (1981, 1982). Nieporte, who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, is member of Ohio State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Gilmore, the head pro at Winged Foot since 2010 and the sixth in club history, shot a 68 and shared medalist honors at the Clifton, N.J., sectional qualifier.
ENGLISH SUMMER – Paul Broadhurst, of England, overcame a four-shot deficit entering the final round of The Senior Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, and record a two-shot victory on July 24. He closed with a 68 to post 11-under 277 at Carnoustie Golf Links. Broadhurst became the third British player to win a major senior title, joining Mark James (2004 Senior Players) and Roger Chapman (2012 U.S. Senior Open, 2012 Senior PGA). Broadhurst will celebrate his 51st birthday on Aug. 14.
FIRST U.S. OPEN – At age 52, Wes Short Jr. became the oldest player to advance through both stages (local and sectional) of qualifying to the U.S. Open in June. He was the oldest in the field and competed in the championship for the first time. Short, who has played in last two U.S. Senior Opens, worked as a club professional in Austin, Texas, prior to becoming a tour professional in 1997. He was a 40-year-old rookie on the PGA Tour in 2004. His lone win came in the 2005 Michelin Championship at Las Vegas when defeated Jim Furyk in a playoff. Short has one PGA Tour Champions victory.
PACKAGE DEAL – Greg Condon, an amateur from Monte Vista, Colo., is the manager of a packaging supplies and equipment company. Condon, who will play in his first U.S. Senior Open, shot 69 to earn one of two spots at the Albuquerque, N.M., sectional qualifier. He reached match play at the 2010 and 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links. Condon has won three Sun Country Amateur Golf Association Match Play Championships (2011, 2014, 2015).
THE CADDIE – Lance Ten Broeck, a 60-year-old from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., caddies for Freddie Jacobsen on the PGA Tour and has also toted the bag for Jesper Parnevik and Robert Allenby. Ten Broeck has competed in 14 USGA championships, including four U.S. Senior Opens, with a tie for ninth in 2012 his best showing. He shot 2-under 68 and was the medalist by three strokes in the Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier at Scioto on June 27.
THE COACH – Mike Small is the head coach at the University of Illinois. He has guided the Fighting Illini to the Big Ten Conference Championship in seven of the last eight years. In 2016, Illinois advanced to the NCAA semifinals and won its fourth consecutive NCAA regional title. Small, last year’s national coach of the year, has also coached two NCAA individual champions – Scott Langley (2010) and Thomas Pieters (2012). Small, the 1988 Big Ten runner-up to Illinois teammate Steve Stricker, has played in three U.S. Opens. He qualified for his first U.S. Senior Open with a 7-under 65 at Brickyard Crossing, in Indianapolis, Ind.
THE BUCKEYES – Four players in the field were members of Ohio State University’s golf team in the late 1970s and early 1980s. John Cook and Joey Sindelar led the Buckeyes to the 1979 NCAA Championship. Cook, a three-time first team All-American, has won 11 PGA Tour titles and played in eight U.S. Senior Opens. He claimed the 1978 U.S. Amateur, defeating Scott Hoch, 5 and 4, in the final. Sindelar, a two-time first team All-American, has captured seven PGA Tour titles and competed in seven U.S. Senior Opens. Rod Spittle, who played on three consecutive Big Ten Conference championship teams from 1976-78, has played in six U.S. Senior Opens and twice won the Canadian Amateur. Brian Mogg, who is competing in his first U.S. Senior Open, earned second-team All-America honors in 1983 and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection.
NAMESAKE – Arnold Cutrell, a 51-year-old amateur from Greensburg, Pa., was named after legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, who won the 1981 U.S. Senior Open. Cutrell, who is playing in his 12th USGA championship and first U.S. Senior Open, grew up 3 miles from Palmer’s hometown of Latrobe. Cutrell advanced in a 5-for-1 playoff at the Malvern, Pa., sectional qualifier with a two-putt par on the sixth extra hole. Cutrell is the general manager for a local telephone company.
GOLF ANALYSIS – Brad Lardon, who has qualified for his second consecutive U.S. Senior Open, is the brother of Dr. Michael Lardon, a noted sports psychiatrist. Dr. Lardon has worked with five-time professional major champion Phil Mickelson, several Olympians and San Diego Chargers placekicker Nate Kaeding. Brad is the director of golf at The Club at Las Campanas, in Santa Fe, N.M., which will host the 2017 USGA Women’s State Team Championship.
CHIP SHOT – Chip Lutz, 61, of Reading Pa., will compete in his first U.S. Senior Open after having been awarded the silver medal as low amateur at The Senior Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, three times (2012, 2013, 2014). Lutz won last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, defeating Tom Brandes, 5 and 3, in the final. He is one of two players to have won the U.S. Senior Amateur, the Seniors Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A, and the Canadian Senior Amateur championships. He won his third Seniors Amateur title on Aug. 5 at Formby Golf Club in England, with a 25-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole.
ALL THE TALLENT – Patrick Tallent, who won the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur, is competing in his 32nd USGA championship. Tallent, who also claimed the 2015 Seniors Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A, at Royal County Down, is playing in his sixth U.S. Senior Open. Tallent, who was low amateur in 2004 when he tied for 54th, was selected in the sixth round of the 1976 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets. He is the retired chief financial officer for a hazardous waste recycling company.
PRO TO PUBLISHING – Don Walsworth was reinstated as an amateur in 2003 after spending 14 years as a touring professional, including stints on the Web.com Tour and Asian Tour. Walsworth, who is now president of a publishing company, was a four-year letter winner at Stanford University and won the 1986 Pac-10 (now Pac-12) individual title, defeating 1985 U.S. Amateur champion and USC standout Sam Randolph by one stroke. Walsworth, who reached the Round of 16 in last year’s inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner Jon Troutman, will compete in his first U.S. Senior Open. He fired a 66 and was the medalist at the Mission Hills, Kan., sectional qualifier.
CHECK THE FINANCIALS – Dennis Dachtler, 58, of Folsom, Calif., and Kevin VandenBerg, 50, of Fayetteville, N.Y., are playing in their first U.S. Senior Open. Dachtler is the founder and president of a family and individual financial-planning firm. Dachtler, who played as a collegian at Oregon, has competed in six California State Amateurs. VandenBerg owns a financial services firm. He played with partner Bill Moore in this year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, held at Winged Foot Golf Club.
MORE THAN QUALIFIED – Geoffrey Sisk is the master of USGA qualifiers. He advanced through both local and sectional play to compete in six U.S. Opens. Sisk, who has played in seven U.S. Opens, qualified at both levels in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2013. He will play in his second U.S. Senior Open after carding a 71 to earn co-medalist honors in the East Dennis, Mass., sectional qualifier. Sisk fired a 65 in last year’s U.S. Senior Open sectional qualifying.
NEVER TOO OLD – Golf is a game for a lifetime and Yong Lee is a perfect example. Lee, 61, of Auburn, Wash., who was born in the Republic of Korea, did not start playing golf until age 33 and turned professional 12 years later. He and his wife, Hyung, own and operate dry cleaning businesses. Lee, who will compete in his second consecutive U.S. Senior Open, was a powerlifter during his 20s.
ON THE AIR – Fox Sports television golf announcer Scott McCarron will have double duty at the 2016 U.S. Senior Open. McCarron became fully exempt for the championship when he won the Principal Charity Classic on June 5. He shot a final-round 65, including birdies on the last three holes, to win by one stroke at Wakonda Club, in Des Moines, Iowa. McCarron, who also finished second in this year’s Senior Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, won three PGA Tour events and played in six U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for 10th in 1997. He began his career as a golf analyst during Golf Channel’s coverage of the 2007 Masters. McCarron is playing in his first U.S. Senior Open.
MR. BASEBALL – Barry Cheesman, who is competing in his first U.S. Senior Open, was chosen in the 25th round of the 1977 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals and spent four seasons in the minors. Cheesman, who worked as a Houston Astros scout in 2007, went on to earn his PGA Tour card in 1988 through qualifying school and won two Nationwide Tour events in the 1990s. Cheesman shot a 68 and was the co-medalist at the Daniel Island, S.C., sectional qualifier.
HE’S MY BROTHER – Tommy Stankowski, 51, of Fort Myers, Fla., is the older brother of Paul Stankowski, who won twice on the PGA Tour and played in four U.S. Opens. Tommy was the medalist at the Belleair, Fla., sectional qualifier and will play in his first U.S. Open. He won the 2008 Canadian Tour champion with a two-stroke victory over Wes Heffernan and Graham DeLaet. Tommy was an All-America selection at Arizona State (1987, 1988) and teammates with two-time USGA champion Billy Mayfair.
IOWA TANDEM – Michael McCoy, of Des Moines, and Gene Elliott, of West Des Moines, were partners in the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at The Olympic Club in 2015. McCoy, who was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team, was the low amateur in both the 2014 and 2015 U.S. Senior Opens, tying the record for the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur (282) last year. McCoy, who works in the insurance business, is competing in his 47th USGA championship. Elliott is playing in his first U.S. Senior Open and 25th USGA championship. Elliott, who has reached match play in 10 of the 11 U.S. Mid-Amateurs he has played, owns a sanitation and street equipment company and had open-heart surgery in 2000. McCoy and Elliott have each been inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.
TEACHING SPIRIT – Gary Sowinski, a teaching professional at The Hodges Learning Center in Escondido, Calif., traveled to the Chicago area to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open so he could visit his old friend Manuel de la Torre, the longtime head pro at Milwaukee Country Club. However, de la Torre, who is recognized as one of golf’s great teachers and whose students included Tommy Aaron, the 1973 Masters champion, passed away at age 94 on April 24. Sowinski shot a 4-under 67 on June 22 to earn medalist honors at the Northmoor, Ill., sectional qualifier and will play in his fifth U.S. Senior Open.
IN THE BUNKER – Dave Bunker, of Canada, qualified for his second U.S. Senior Open and his fourth USGA championship by making a 6-foot birdie putt to earn the lone spot at the Export, Pa., sectional. He has used his summer vacation from teaching physical education and health studies at Lawrence Heights Middle School in Ontario to put together a solid amateur career. Bunker won three consecutive Canadian Mid-Amateur Championships from 2008-10, one Ontario Amateur and three Ontario Mid-Amateurs. The 51-year-old raised twin daughters, Kristine and Sandra, who went on to be collegiate swimmers at Cleveland State University.
TAI RULES – Taizo “Tai” Kawata, who played baseball at Ohio State University, is working at the U.S. Senior Open as a Rules official. Kawata’s association with the USGA has been continuous since 1981 when he served as a color commentator for Japanese television’s broadcast of the U.S. Open. In 2001, Kawata became a member of the USGA Rules Committee. He was a driving force behind the establishment of U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying in Japan, which began in 2005. Kawata received the Joe Dey Award in 2013, the first non-American to be honored. The award recognizes volunteer service to the game of golf.
FIRST OFF THE TEE – Brian Mogg, of Windermere, Fla., will strike the first ball on Thursday from the first tee at 7:30 a.m. EDT. Mogg, who is playing in his first U.S. Senior Open, manages his own golf academy and is considered one of the nation’s top teachers. One of his students, Lion Kim, won the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. Mogg earned second-team All-America recognition as an Ohio State golfer in 1983 and was a two-time Big Ten Conference selection. He has competed in three USGA championships, including the 1995 U.S. Open, and claimed the 1983 Ohio Amateur.
TRADITIONAL GROUPING – Defending U.S. Senior Open champion Jeff Maggert, 2015 Senior Open Championship winner Marco Dawson and 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion Chip Lutz are grouped together for the first two rounds. The group starts from the 10th tee on Thursday at 8:12 a.m. EDT. Maggert defeated Colin Montgomerie by two strokes in last year’s U.S. Senior Open, held at Del Paso Country Club. Dawson edged Bernhard Langer by one stroke to win the Senior Open Championship at Sunningdale Golf Club. Lutz defeated Tom Brandes, 5 and 3, in the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur final.
U.S. SENIOR OPEN CHAMPIONS – Olin Browne, Kenny Perry and Colin Montgomerie are all U.S. Senior Open champions. The three players will be grouped together on Thursday and Friday at Scioto Country Club. The group starts at the 10th hole on Thursday at 8:33 a.m. Browne finished three strokes ahead of Mark O’Meara to win the 2011 U.S. Senior Open at Inverness Club. He finished at 15 under par, which is the third-most strokes under par for 72 holes in championship history. Perry carded a final-round 63 to win by five strokes in 2013 at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. His 72-hole score of 267 (13-under) equaled the U.S. Senior Open record, established by Hale Irwin in 2000 at Saucon Valley Country Club. Montgomerie defeated Gene Sauers in a three-hole aggregate playoff to win the championship in 2014 at Oak Tree National.
ONE OF THE LAST IN – NBC television golf analyst Gary Koch earned his place in the field as an alternate from the Belleair, Fla., sectional qualifier. Koch has played in three U.S. Senior Opens and tied for 44th at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club in 2013. Koch won six PGA Tour events and played in 17 U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for sixth in 1982. He began his career as a sportscaster in 1990 by working for ESPN on Champions Tour events before moving to NBC Sports. Koch, 63, captured the U.S. Junior Amateur title in 1970.