U.S. SENIOR AMATEUR
64th U.S. Senior Amateur: Get to Know the Field
August 21, 2018 | Liberty Corner, N.J.
By Julia Pine and Lindsey Spatola, USGA
A total of 2,381 entries were accepted for the 64th U.S. Senior Amateur.
The average age of the 156 U.S. Senior Amateur competitors is 59.62 years old.
Marvin “Vinny” Giles, 75, of Richmond, Va., is the oldest player in the field. Giles, the 2009 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, also won the 1972 U.S. Amateur. This is his 21st U.S. Senior Amateur appearance. Rick Talt, 72, of Laguna Beach, Calif., is the second-oldest competitor in the field.
Louis Brown, of Marietta, Ga., who will turn 55 on Aug. 24, the eve of the championship proper, is the field’s youngest player. Jeff Harper, of Coolville, Ohio, who turned 55 on Aug. 7, is the second-youngest player in the field.
Field by Age Range
- 55-59: 88
- 60-64: 47
- 65-69: 17
- 70+: 4
USGA champions competing in 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur (12)
- Stewart “Buddy” Alexander, 1986 Amateur
- Marvin “Vinny” Giles, 1972 Amateur; 2009 Senior Amateur
- Doug Hanzel, 2013 Senior Amateur
- Tim Jackson, 1994 and 2001 Mid-Amateur
- Sean Knapp, 2017 Senior Amateur
- Jack Larkin, 1979 Junior Amateur
- Chip Lutz, 2015 Senior Amateur
- George “Buddy” Marucci Jr., 2008 Senior Amateur
- Michael McCoy, 2013 Mid-Amateur
- Dave Ryan, 2016 Senior Amateur
- Paul Simson, 2010 and 2012 Senior Amateur
- Guy Yamamoto, 1994 Amateur Public Links
USGA championship runners-up competing in 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur (6)
- Tom Brandes, 2015 Senior Amateur
- Marvin “Vinny” Giles, 1967, 1968, 1969 Amateur
- William Hadden, 1989 Mid-Amateur
- George “Buddy” Marucci Jr., 1995 Amateur
- Paul Simson, 2017 Senior Amateur
- Matt Sughrue, 2016 Senior Amateur
USA Walker Cup Team Members Competing in the 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur (6)
- Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (1987)
- Marvin “Vinny” Giles (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975; Captain, 1993)
- John Grace (1975)
- Tim Jackson (1995, 1999)
- George “Buddy” Marucci (1995, 1997; Captain, 2007, 2009)
- Michael McCoy (2015)
USGA Men’s State Team Championship Winners Competing in the 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur (2)
- Tim Jackson, 2003 (Tennessee)
- Sean Knapp, 2009 (Pennsylvania)
Countries Represented (2): England (1); United States of America (155)
States represented (42): Alabama (3 competitors); Arizona (2); California (17-most); Colorado (3); Connecticut (1); Delaware (1); Florida (11); Georgia (9); Hawaii (2); Iowa (2); Illinois (7); Indiana (2); Kansas (1); Kentucky (1); Louisiana (2); Massachusetts (5); Maryland (4); Michigan (4); Minnesota (2); Mississippi (1); Missouri (1); Montana (1); North Carolina (4); North Dakota (1); New Jersey (3); Nevada (1); New Mexico (1); New York (7); Ohio (5); Oklahoma (3); Oregon (4); Pennsylvania (7); South Carolina (3); Tennessee (8); Texas (10); Utah (1); Virginia (4); Vermont (1); Washington (6); Wisconsin (2); Wyoming (1)
The four competitors in the field from Oregon are: Johnny Coppedge, 55, of Canby; Scott Hval, 57, of Portland; Pat O’Donnell, 64, of Happy Valley; and Larry Watts, 59, of Springfield.
2018 U.S. Senior Amateur competitors who Competed in 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur (40): Tom Brandes (Missed Cut); Kevin Cahill (Round of 64); Claud Cooper (Round of 32); Mark Coward (Round of 32); Thomas Destefani (Missed Cut); Bart Dornier (Round of 64); Gene Elliott (Round of 32); John Fisher (Round of 32); Lloyd Fisher (Missed Cut); Buzz Fly (Round of 64); Vinny Giles (Missed Cut); Steve Golliher (Round of 64); Doug Hanzel (Round of 16); Chris Hartenstein (Round of 32); Tim Jackson (Round of 64); Steven Jacobs (Missed Cut); Bradley Karns (Missed Cut); Sean Knapp (Runner-Up); Ken Lee (Quarterfinalist); Chip Lutz (Round of 16); Jim McNelis (Missed Cut); Rand Mendez (Missed Cut); Guy Mertz (Missed Cut); David Nocar (Quarterfinalist); Chuck Palmer (Round of 64); Russ Perry (Round of 16); John Pierce (Quarterfinalist); Michael Rowley (Round of 64); Bob Royak (Round of 32); Dave Ryan (Semifinalist); Paul Schlachter (Missed Cut); Jay Sessa (Round of 64); Paul Simson (Round of 32); Kent Spriggs (Missed Cut); Matthew Sughrue (Quarterfinalist); Patrick Tallent (Round of 64); Frank Vana (Semifinalist); Terry Werner (Missed Cut); Mitch Wilson (Round of 32); Ned Zachar (Round of 32)
2018 U.S. Senior Amateur Competitors Who Played in 2018 U.S. Senior Open (9)
- Jeff Wilson (76-71-70-73--290, T-31, low amateur)
- Robby Funk (72-76-75-80--293, 60th)
- Frank Vana (73-76--MC)
- Mike McCoy (75-76--MC)
- Sean Knapp (79-72--MC)
- Jack Larkin (79-76--MC)
- Ned Zachar (78-81--MC)
- Paul Simson (82-78--MC)
- James Camaione (87-78--MC)
2018 U.S. Senior Amateur Competitors Who Played in 2018 U.S. Amateur (3)
- Michael McCoy
- Paul Simson
- Jeff Wilson
The following 23 players are fully exempt into the 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur
- Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (1986 U.S. Amateur champion)
- Tom Brandes (2015 U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up)
- Kevin Cahill (2016 U.S. Senior Amateur semifinalist)
- Gene Elliott (2017 Canadian Amateur champion; Top 500 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking™)
- Trevor Foster (2018 champion of Senior Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A)
- Robert Funk (Completed 72 holes in 2018 U.S. Senior Open)
- Marvin "Vinny" Giles (2009 U.S. Senior Amateur champion)
- Randy Haag (Runner-up in 2018 Senior Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A)
- Doug Hanzel (2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion; Top 500 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
- Tim Jackson (2016 U.S. Senior Amateur semifinalist; Top 500 of World Amateur Golf Ranking)
- Sean Knapp (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur champion)
- Ken Lee (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur quarterfinalist)
- Chip Lutz (2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion)
- George “Buddy” Marucci (2008 U.S. Senior Amateur champion)
- Michael McCoy (2015 USA Walker Cup competitor)
- David Nocar (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur quarterfinalist)
- John Pierce (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur quarterfinalist)
- Dave Ryan (2016 U.S. Senior Amateur champion; 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur semifinalist)
- Paul Simson (2010 and 2012 U.S. Senior Amateur champion; 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up)
- Matthew Sughrue (2016 U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up; 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur quarterfinalist)
- Frank Vana (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur semifinalist)
- Guy Yamamoto (1994 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion)
- Jeff Wilson (Completed 72 holes in 2018 U.S. Senior Open)
General Player Notes
Stewart “Buddy” Alexander, 65, of Auburn, Ala., won the 1986 U.S. Amateur Championship. A college golf coach for more than three decades after earning All-America honors as a player at Georgia Southern University, Alexander led the University of Florida to the 1993 and 2001 NCAA titles and was named national coach of the year by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) three times. He was inducted into the GCAA Hall of Fame in 2001. He has played in two U.S. Opens. His son, Tyson, qualified for the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, and his father, Skip, competed in six, making the Alexanders one of just three families to have had three generations compete in the championship.
John Anderson, 59, of Andover, Minn., has coached the Andover High School boys’ and girls’ golf teams for 13 years and created a nonprofit scholarship fund in memory of his best friend who passed away from cancer. The fund has provided more than $30,000 in scholarships to high school graduates in his hometown of Olivia, Minn. This is Anderson’s second U.S. Senior Amateur appearance.
Mike Booker, 63, of The Woodlands, Texas, is a former University of Houston All-American who competed on the 1977 NCAA championship team. The 2015 Texas Senior Amateur champion is a three-time Texas Senior Player of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015), and was selected in 2014 as Golfweek magazine’s “Local Legend.” Booker has competed in 10 USGA championships, making it to the Round of 16 in the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur.
Tom Brandes, 62, of Bellevue, Wash., was the runner-up in the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur. He has competed in the U.S. Senior Open five times, most recently in 2016, and represented Washington in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship four times. Brandes has won numerous Washington State Golf Association and Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) titles and was inducted into the PNGA Hall of Fame in 2015. Brandes grew up in Eugene, Ore., and graduated from Marist High before enrolling at Seattle University. This is his 20th USGA championship.
Kevin Cahill, 58, of Waukesha, Wis., reached the Quarterfinals of the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur, losing to Steven Liebler, and the Semifinals in 2016, defeating Liebler this time in the Round of 16. Cahill competed in four USGA Men’s State Team Championships for Wisconsin and is a three-time Wisconsin state high school tennis champion.
Patrick Carrigan, 61, of Walnut, Calif., recalls his most memorable golf experience in 2010 when a plane crash landed into his golf cart right as he was able to avoid getting hit. He has said it is the “luckiest day on the golf course.” He has competed in 11 USGA championships, making it to the Round of 16 in the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Forest Highlands and the Round of 32 in the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur at The Honors Course. Carrigan also enjoys playing recreational golf with his three kids, and believes his 13-year-old daughter, Megan, has the talent to play college golf.
Claud Cooper, 58, of Birmingham, Ala., won the Alabama Senior Amateur Championship (57-64 age division) earlier this year after finishing with his personal-best competitive 18-hole score of 7-under 65 at Moore’s Mill Club in Auburn, Ala. He has competed in three U.S. Mid-Amateurs, one U.S. Senior Open, and the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur, finishing tied for 13th in stroke play and advancing to the Round of 32.
10 golfers from the Pacific NW are set to compete in the upcoming in the #USSeniorAm Championship at @EugeneCC, including former @oregonfootball QB Johnny Coppedge | by @RonBWriter ➡️ https://t.co/dSt71wtLJF pic.twitter.com/xUNUeGdpD7— Pacific NW Golf Association (PNGA) (@thePNGA) August 20, 2018
John Coppedge, 55, of Canby, Ore., is a former college quarterback who played behind future NFL head coach/offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg at the University of Montana and later future NFL QB Chris Miller during his one season playing for the University of Oregon. During a 31-17 loss to Idaho State as a sophomore, Coppedge set a single-game Montana record for most pass attempts (62) and completions (35), marks that still rank third and fifth, respectively, all-time. He eventually joined the golf team as a senior at Oregon, playing alongside 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur competitor Tim Hval.
Craig Davis, 56, of Chula Vista, Calif., was named 2018 Southern California Senior Player of the Year and 2017 Southern California Senior Runner-Up Player of the Year. He won the 2017 Southern California Senior Amateur, the 2017 Southern California Senior Match Play, and most recently the 2018 Southern California Senior Amateur. This is Davis’ fifth USGA championship, dating to the 1978 U.S. Junior Amateur, where he advanced to the Round of 64.
Bart Dornier, 56, of Metairie, La., qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur in his first attempt, in 1979. The 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur, in which he advanced to match play, was the first USGA championship he has qualified for since, with many attempts in between. He has had major involvement with the game over the years, serving in co-chairman positions for the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans since 2010. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Louisiana Golf Association.
James “Jimmy” Dunne, 61, of New York, N.Y., attempted to qualify for the U.S. Mid-Amateur on Sept. 11, 2001. Dunne only completed four holes before finding out the World Trade Center was under attack. Dunne’s investment-banking firm, Sandler O’Neill, was located on the 104th floor of the South Tower. Sixty-six Sandler O’Neill employees died that day, among them Chris Quackenbush, Dunne’s best friend and golf partner. Nine years later, Dunne was playing a round at Shinnecock Hills when he made a hole-in-one on No.11 and set a course-record score of 63. The ball that Dunne had been using was marked with a “Q” to honor and remember Quackenbush. Dunne continues to work at Sandler O’Neill as the senior managing principal, and his legacy will continue to live on through the foundation he started, which is committed to paying for the schooling of the 76 kids who lost their parents that tragic day. This is Dunne’s first USGA championship appearance.
Gene Elliott, 56, of West Des Moines, Iowa, has competed in more than 20 USGA championships, making it to the Round of 32 in last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur. He was a quarterfinalist in the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur and was the medalist in the 1999 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Last year, Elliott won the Canadian Senior Amateur Championship. A 2012 inductee into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, Elliott is a three-time Iowa Amateur champion and two-time Iowa Open champion. He won the Porter Cup, one of the nation’s most prestigious amateur events, in 1998.
Lloyd Fisher, 58, of Dade City, Fla., has competed in four U.S. Amateurs, four U.S. Mid-Amateurs, three U.S. Amateur Public Links, and the last three U.S. Senior Amateurs. Fisher will be busy moving from his Florida home to Arizona just three days before the start of the championship. He works as a private pilot and enjoys riding his Harley Davidson.
Lee Flemister, 58, of Rockville, Md., won the 2018 Maryland State Golf Association Senior Four-Ball, was runner-up in the 2017 Middle Atlantic Golf Association Senior Amateur, and was the runner-up in the 2015 Maryland State Golf Association Senior Amateur. This is Flemister’s second USGA championship after partnering with Don Phattiyakul in the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. He is a master clockmaker by trade and claims the meticulous and precise work carries over to his golf game.
Robert Funk, 55, of Canyon Lake, Calif., is coming off a 60th-place finish in the 2018 U.S. Senior Open. Following ankle surgery on his left foot in 2015, he qualified for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. In 2016 he underwent ankle surgery on his right foot but still finished tied for 14th in the Crane Cup and third in the Kelly Cup. Funk was the low amateur in the 2017 U.S. Senior Open.
Marvin “Vinny” Giles, 75, of Richmond, Va., is the oldest player in the U.S. Senior Amateur field. He won the 1972 U.S. Amateur and the 2009 U.S. Senior Amateur. He’s also a three-time U.S. Amateur runner-up. Giles, a member of the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame, was a four-time member of the USA Walker Cup Team and served as captain in 1993. He has competed in two U.S. Opens and eight U.S. Senior Opens, finishing as low amateur in the latter on three occasions. He is one of two players (with Jeff Wilson) to be low amateur in the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open.
John Grace, 70, of Fort Worth, Texas, was a member of the victorious 1975 USA Walker Cup Team and has competed in 44 other USGA championships. Grace was the runner-up in the 1974 U.S. Amateur to Jerry Pate and in the 2009 U.S. Senior Amateur to Vinny Giles. This will be his seventh U.S. Senior Amateur. He is a member of the Texas and Michigan golf halls of fame.
Bill Hadden, 60, of Manchester Village, Vt., was runner-up in the 1989 U.S. Mid-Amateur, losing to his former prep school roommate, James Taylor. Taylor’s father, Buzz, was later a USGA president. That year, Hadden defeated future U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Danny Yates in the Semifinals. The 1983 Northeast Amateur champion is a Connecticut native who competed in the 1984 U.S. Open, and was inducted into the state’s golf hall of fame in 2007.Hadden works as a financial advisor.
Doug Hanzel, 61, of Savannah, Ga., is the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion. A graduate of Kent State University, where he played on the golf team and now has a golf scholarship in his name, Hanzel is a retired pulmonologist. In 2008, Golf Digest magazine named him as the top doctor golfer. He has qualified for the U.S. Amateur in five different decades, spanning from 1978 to 2015. He was the low amateur in the U.S. Senior Open in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, he became the first – and still only player – to qualify for match play in the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur. He is a Type 1 diabetic and plays golf with an insulin pump.
Chris Hartenstein, 56, of Austin, Texas, has competed in four USGA championships, making it to Round of 32 in the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur. He has won the Austin Men’s City Senior Championship four times (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017) and notes the most influential person in the game is Mark Coward, who is also in the field. Hartenstein’s daughter played golf at Wake Forest University and his father, Chuck, posted a 17-19 record with a 4.52 ERA for five Major League Baseball teams from 1965-1977.
Tim Jackson, 59, of Germantown, Tenn., won the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 1994 and 2001. He represented the USA in the Walker Cup in 1995 and 1999 and was the low amateur in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 U.S. Senior Opens. He is a nine-time Tennessee Player of the Year and has served as president of the Tennessee Golf Association. Jackson was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Sean Knapp, 56, of Oakmont, Pa., won the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur, defeating Paul Simson, 2 and 1, in the final. It was Knapp’s 43rd USGA championship and the first time he had advanced past the Semifinals. He reached the Round of 16 in the 1995 U.S. Amateur before losing, 2 and 1, to eventual champion Tiger Woods. He is a 14-time Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Player of the Year and won the Pennsylvania State Amateur Championship in 1997. He also teamed with four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith and Mike Van Sickle to win the 2009 USGA Men’s State Team for Pennsylvania.
Ken Lee, 57, of Franklin, Tenn., advanced to the Quarterfinals of the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur, his first USGA championship appearance. A reinstated amateur, Lee played on mini-tours in the 1980s and is now the COO of Trophy Suites Modular Skyboxes.
Chip Lutz, 63, of Reading, Pa., won the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. He also has won the Seniors Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A, three times and the Canadian Senior Amateur on two occasions. An insurance attorney, Lutz played golf at the University of Florida and is a seven-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Player of the Year. He also was the low amateur in the 2016 U.S. Senior Open at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.
George “Buddy” Marucci Jr., 66, of Villanova, Pa., won the 2008 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, but is perhaps best known for taking Tiger Woods to the 36th hole of their championship match in the 1995 U.S. Amateur at Newport (R.I.) Country Club. He played on the USA Walker Cup Team in 1995 and 1997 and served as captain for the winning sides in 2007 and 2009.
Michael McCarthy, 60, of Bethesda, Md., is the uncle of Denny McCarthy, who competes on the PGA Tour and was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team, and Ryan McCarthy, who qualified for the 2018 U.S. Amateur. McCarthy’s passion is coaching varsity girls' basketball at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., where he has worked for 23 years, winning 12 consecutive ISL AA championships and more than 500 games. He was named the 2015 Washington Post Coach of the Year.
Michael McCoy, 54, of Des Moines, Iowa, has competed in 53 USGA championships, including 18 U.S. Amateurs. He was the low amateur in the 2014 and 2015 U.S. Senior Opens and in 2013 was the second-oldest winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. McCoy, a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team, works in the insurance business and is an Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member.
Roland Morris Jr., 61, of Greenwich, Conn., has tried to qualify for USGA championship for 30 years. He has lost the qualifying spot in several playoffs, including one year when he received the call the week of the 1997 U.S. Mid-Amateur as first alternate but was unable to change his plans to make it to the championship. Ken Bakst instead took the spot as second alternate and won the title, earning an invitation to the Masters.
And that’s all she wrote. Congratulations to our medalist Hunter Nelson for qualifying as the only player under par today. And good luck to all of our qualifiers at the @USGA #USSeniorAm pic.twitter.com/KtgHRm6p6R— TexasGolfAssn (@TexasGolfAssn) July 30, 2018
Hunter Nelson, 65, of Houston, Texas, competed in the 1993 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club as well as seven other USGA championships, including the 2011 U.S. Senior Amateur, where he made it to the Round of 16. Nelson qualified for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball earlier this year with teammate Jimmy Burke, but had to withdraw due to a family emergency. They would have been the oldest side in the field.
David Nocar, 56, of Millersville, Md., was a quarterfinalist in the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur. Nocar’s next-best finish in a USGA championship is the 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur when he reached the Round of 16, the same year he won the Maryland State Amateur. Nocar serves an assistant golf coach at Severna Park High School.
Pat O’Donnell, 64, of Happy Valley Ore., is competing in his eighth U.S. Senior Amateur and seventh consecutive, with his best finish coming in 2013 when he lost in the championship match to Doug Hanzel. He is a nine-time Oregon Golf Association Senior Stroke Play champion and five-time Oregon Golf Association Senior Amateur champion. O’Donnell was named both Oregon Golf Association Player of the Year and Pacific Northwest Player of the Year twice.
John Pate, 58, of Santa Barbara, Calif., has competed in 21 USGA championships, including two U.S. Senior Amateurs. He has won the Southern California Amateur, the Southern California Mid-Amateur, the Stocker Cup and the California State Senior Amateur twice. Pate’s older brother is PGA Tour Champions player Steve Pate
John Pierce, 56, of San Antonio, Texas, made it to the Quarterfinals in last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur in his championship debut. Pierce was named the 2016 San Antonio Senior Amateur Player of the Year, and was runner-up in the Texas Senior Amateur the same year. He has recorded eight holes-in-one.
John Plotkin, 57, of Carlsbad, Calif., has not played in a USGA championship since 2000 and it is the 37-year anniversary since he first qualified for one. Plotkin competed for Fresno State University, where he was MVP during his junior and senior seasons and advanced to the NCAA Division 1 Championships on three occasions.
Michael Rowley, 56, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., is the owner and founder of Straight Down Clothing Co., a golf and lifestyle brand based out of his hometown. Rowley has competed in one U.S. Amateur, two U.S. Senior Amateurs and four U.S. Mid-Amateurs.
Dave Ryan, 64, of Taylorville, Ill., won the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur championship, 2 up, over Matthew Sughrue, at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis, Mo. He is a six-time Illinois State Senior Player of the Year and has competed in the U.S. Senior Open four times. During his Round-of-16 Senior Amateur match in 2016 against two-time champion Paul Simson, he made a hole-in-one on a par 4, the only known such feat in the history of the championship.
Paul Schlachter, 69, of Pittsburgh, Pa., has competed in 10 USGA championships. He was the 2007 Golfweek Senior Player of the Year. He has been named West Penn Golf Association’s Senior Player of the Year 11 times, and is a four-time Pennsylvania Golf Association Senior Player of the Year. Schlachter has won the Pennsylvania Amateur once and the Pennsylvania Senior Amateur four times.
Paul Simson, 67, of Raleigh, N.C., has competed in more than 40 USGA championships, including the U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur, U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open and USGA Men’s State Team Championship. He was the low amateur in the 2001 U.S. Senior Open. Simson was a co-medalist in the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur and a co-medalist in the 2006 U.S. Senior Amateur. He was also a semifinalist in the 1991 and 1998 U.S. Mid-Amateurs, and captured the 2010 and 2012 U.S. Senior Amateur titles. Last year, he lost in the championship match to Sean Knapp.
Matthew Sughrue, 58, of Arlington, Va., was the runner-up in the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur to Dave Ryan and reached the Quarterfinals last year. The 2016 Maryland Senior Player of the Year made a career change after 25 years in the insurance business, going to graduate school to study psychotherapy. He now works as a family therapist and sports performance coach, working with golfers, among other athletes.
Brian Tennyson, 56, of Fernandina Beach, Fla worked as the vice president of strategic planning and investor relations for Papa John’s Pizza for several years before qualifying for the PGA Tour in 1995. As a professional golfer, he won the 1987 Philippine Open and the 1987 India Open. As an amateur, Tennyson registered eight collegiate victories at Ball State, and was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame. A reinstated amateur, he has competed in 12 USGA championships.
Frank Vana Jr., 56, of Boxford, Mass., has played in more than 30 USGA championships in his career, making it to the Semifinals in last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur. He is a two-time Massachusetts Amateur champion and nine-time Massachusetts Mid-Amateur champion. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame in 2016 and was named the Massachusetts Golf Association’s Player of the Decade in both the 1990s and 2000s.
Ronald Vannelli, 70, of Edison, N.J., in 2005 became the only player at age 57 to be named the Metropolitan Golf Association and New Jersey State Golf Association Player of the Year. Vannelli has qualified for 14 USGA championships, all since turning 50. He shot 1 under his age (69) in this year’s Senior Amateur qualifier at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, N.J.
Larry Watts, 59, of Springfield, Ore., qualified for the 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club, the site of this year’s championship, shooting 1 under par to earn co-medalist honors. Watts is the golf coach at Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., and is a caddie at two other courses in the area. His younger brother, Brian, formerly coached at Oregon State and Army.
Jeff Wilson, 55, of Vallejo, Calif., has competed in four U.S. Opens, the most recent in 2008, and earned low-amateur honors in 2000. This year, Wilson was the low amateur in the U.S. Senior Open, joining Vinny Giles as the only players to earn low-amateur honors in the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open. Wilson has competed in 11 U.S. Amateurs, earning medalist honors in 2000 and 2010. He has played in eight U.S. Mid-Amateurs and been the medalist three times (2000, 2001, 2004).
Mitch Wilson, 60, of Portage, Mich., started seriously playing golf in his junior year at Central Michigan University after being cut from the baseball team as a sophomore. He competed in the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur, making it to match play, and ultimately being defeated by Paul Simson in 19 holes. Wilson is also currently the head men’s golf coach at Kalamazoo College.
Kirk Wright, 57, of Oklahoma City, Okla., is a retired battalion chief with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, he spent 30 years on the job. Wright was on duty when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed on April 19, 1995. He is competing in his second USGA Championship, after representing Oklahoma in the 2014 Men’s State Team Championship. Wright has three first-place finishes and two runner-up finishes in the last six years at the Oklahoma Senior State Amateur Championship.
Guy Yamamoto, 56, of Waipahu, Hawaii, won the 1994 U.S. Amateur Public Links after attempting to qualify 11 times. He was quarterfinalist in the 1991 U.S. Mid-Amateur and competed in the 1995 Masters Tournament. Yamamoto was inducted into the Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame in 2014.