U.S. SENIOR AMATEUR
65th U.S. Senior Amateur: Inside the Field
August 21, 2019 | Durham, N.C.
By Brian DePasquale, USGA
The 65th U.S. Senior Amateur Championship will be contested Aug. 24-29 at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C., with 156 of the best players 55 years of age and older competing to have their named engraved on the Frederick L. Dold Trophy. Here is a statistical and biographical look at the competitors in the 2019 field:
Oldest Competitors: Marvin “Vinny” Giles III (76, born 1-4-43), Ed Brooks (70, born 7-19-49), Frank Wrenn (69, born 12-9-49), Keith Crimp (69, born 1-23-50), Peter Van Ingen (69, born 7-20-50), Paul Simson (68, born 5-10-51)
Youngest Competitors: Paul Jett (55, born 7-7-64), Raymond Hajjar (55, born 6-15-64), Paul Royak (55, born 6-8-64), Tom Whaley (55, born 6-2-64), Doug Gradwell (55, born 5-13-64), William Mitchell (55, born 4-17-64), Matt Haynes (55, born 4-2-64)
Average Age of Field: 59.42
U.S. States Represented – There are 38 states represented in the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur: California (16), Florida (14), North Carolina (9). Texas (8), Virginia (7), Pennsylvania (7), Georgia (7), New York (6), South Carolina (6), Illinois (5), Michigan (5), Tennessee (4), Arizona (4), Colorado (4), Iowa (4), Massachusetts (4), Ohio (4), Nevada (4), Kansas (3), Washington (3), Wisconsin (3), Alabama (2), Arkansas (2), Indiana (2), Missouri (2), New Jersey (2), Oklahoma (2), Utah (2), Alaska (1), Connecticut (1), Hawaii (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Minnesota (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (1), New Mexico (1) and Vermont (1).
International – There are four countries represented in the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur: United States (151), England (2), Canada (2) and Italy (1).
USGA Champions (11): Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (1986 U.S. Amateur), Marvin “Vinny” Giles III (1972 U.S. Amateur, 2009 U.S. Senior Amateur), Doug Hanzel (2013 U.S. Senior Amateur), Sean Knapp (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur), Louis Lee (2011 U.S. Senior Amateur), Chip Lutz (2015 U.S. Senior Amateur), George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. (2008 U.S. Senior Amateur), Michael McCoy (2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur), Dave Ryan (2016 U.S. Senior Amateur), Paul Simson (2010, 2012 U.S. Senior Amateur), and Jeff Wilson (2018 U.S. Senior Amateur)
Players in Field with Most Senior Amateur Appearances (2019 included): Marvin “Vinny” Giles III (22), Paul Simson (13), George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. (11), Chip Lutz (10), Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (9), Doug Hanzel (8) and Dave Ryan (8)
Played in 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur (34): Stewart “Buddy” Alexander, Edward Armagost, Greg Condon, Craig Davis, Gene Elliott, Trevor Foster, Marvin “Vinny” Giles III, Robert Gregorski, Randy Haag, Doug Hanzel, Craig Hurlbert, Tom Jereb, Bradley Karns, Sean Knapp, Chip Lutz, Joseph Malench, George “Buddy” Marucci Jr., Dirk Maust, Michael McCoy, Joe Palmer, Buddy Patch, Jerry Rose, Bob Royak, Dave Ryan, Tim Sheppard, Paul Simson, Matthew Sughrue, Scott Sullivan, Walter Todd, Frank Vana, Terry Werner, Jeff Wilson, Mitch Wilson, Ned Zachar
Played in 2019 U.S. Senior Open (8): Roger Hoit, Kevin King, Sean Knapp, Michael McCoy, Mark Morgan, Roger Newsom, Bob Royak, Jeff Wilson
Played in 2019 U.S. Amateur (3): Sean Knapp, Michael McCoy, Jeff Wilson
Played in 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (5): Gene Elliott, Randy Haag, Doug Hanzel, Michael McCoy, Bob Royak
Played in 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur (9): Gene Elliott, Sean Knapp, Mark Knecht, Michael McCoy, Joe Palmer, Dave Ryan, Craig Steinberg, Matthew Sughrue, Jeff Wilson
Walker Cup USA Team Members (5): Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (1987), Duke Delcher (1997), Marvin “Vinny” Giles III (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975), George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. (1995, 1997) and Michael McCoy (2015)
Walker Cup USA Captains (2): Marvin “Vinny” Giles III (1993), George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. (2007, 2009)
Stewart “Buddy” Alexander, 66, of Auburn, Ala., won the 1986 U.S. Amateur Championship and has competed in 41 USGA championships. 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 Championships and was named national coach of the year by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) three times. He has played in two U.S. Opens (1987, 1994). His son, Tyson, qualified for the 2017 U.S. Open, and his father, Skip, competed in six, making the Alexanders one of just three families to have had three generations compete in the championship.
Ricky Anderson, 58, of Jupiter, Fla., is a firefighter and EMT for the Broward County Sheriff Fire Rescue and has worked in the business for 31 years. He shared medalist honors with a 72 in the Lake Worth, Fla., sectional qualifier and will play in his first USGA championship. He has earned gold medals at the International Firefighters Games and Florida State Firefighters Games.
Bob Bailey, 58, of Yorktown, Va., is competing in his first USGA championship. He won this year’s Virginia State Golf Association Amateur Four-Ball with partner Robert Nussey Jr. as the duo shot a championship-record 13-under 59 that included two eagles. Bailey, who works as a consultant after retiring as a certified financial planner and bank president, played his junior golf at Langley Air Force Base. He was chosen in the eighth round of the 1980 MLB January Amateur Draft as a third baseman from Louisburg (N.C.) College and played two years at Old Dominion University.
Jeff Benton, 55, of Litchfield Park, Ariz., is playing in his first USGA championship and is a district manager for Barnes & Noble. He is part of an athletic family. His daughter, Kaylee, earned All-America honors at the University of Arkansas and was a semifinalist in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur. He caddied for his daughter in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek. His grandfather, Jim, was an NFL All-Pro receiver with the Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams in the 1940s. Jeff, who played baseball at Central Arkansas University, was chosen 2018 Arizona Golf Association Senior Player of the Year and is a four-time runner-up in the Arizona Senior Amateur Stroke Play.
Rob Campbell, 56, of Newbury Park, Calif., is competing in his second USGA championship but first since the 1995 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Campbell is an American Airlines pilot and is building a Van’s RV14, an aerobatic two-seater with a cruising speed of approximately 200 miles per hour. He advanced to the Round of 16 in this year’s Southern California Golf Association Senior Match Play after reaching the quarterfinals in 2018.
Greg Cesario, 55, of San Marcos, Calif., is playing in his first USGA championship in 36 years. He competed in the 1981 U.S. Junior Amateur and 1983 U.S. Amateur. Cesario is a regional staff manager for an American golf club and apparel manufacturer. He was reinstated as an amateur in 2011 after playing as a professional for eight years on the PGA, Nike, Asian and South African tours. He was a two-time All-American (1986, 1987) at Arizona State University and two-time USGA champion and five-time PGA Tour winner Billy Mayfair was one of his teammates.
Dean Channell, 58, of Cary, N.C., has competed in seven USGA championships, including two U.S. Amateurs and the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur. Channell, who works as a financial advisor for a securities company, tied for second in the North Carolina Senior Amateur and tied for eighth in the National Senior Amateur Hall of Fame this year. He was chosen All-Metro Conference in tennis at Virginia Tech in 1982.
Rick Cloninger, 62, of McDonough, Ga., will compete in his fifth U.S. Senior Amateur after carding a 1-under 69 to earn medalist honors in the Asheville, N.C., sectional qualifier. Cloninger, who was born in Charlotte and was an NAIA All-America quarterback at Wofford College, advanced to the Senior Amateur semifinals in 2014 and Round of 16 in 2015. He also tied for 40th in the 2008 U.S. Senior Open. He has won two Carolinas Golf Association Senior Amateur titles (2012, 2013) and the 2003 CGA Mid-Amateur. Cloninger, who works in the construction industry, has served on the board of directors for the South Carolina Golf Association.
Craig Davis, 57, of Chula Vista, Calif., won this year’s Seniors Amateur, conducted by The R&A, when he made a 5-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole at North Berwick Golf Club in Scotland. He advanced to the quarterfinals in last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur at Eugene Country Club. Davis, who is a software engineer for an aerospace company, has played in five USGA championships, including the 2012 U.S. Senior Open. Davis, who was chosen 2018 Southern California Golf Association Senior Player of the Year, played from 1980-83 at the University of Arizona , where one of his teammates was John Ashworth, who founded the Ashworth golf apparel company.
Duke Delcher, 63, of Bluffton, S.C., has played in four U.S. Senior Amateurs and advanced to match play on three occasions. Delcher, who has competed in 27 USGA championships, including the 1994 U.S. Open, was a member of the victorious 1997 USA Walker Cup Team and won the Sunnehanna Amateur in that same year. He and his wife, Linda, operate a real estate agency. Delcher also co-founded the Players Amateur that features a celebrated list of champions, including Rickie Fowler and Ben Curtis.
Gene Elliott, 57, of West Des Moines, Iowa, has competed in 32 USGA championships and has reached match play in his two U.S. Senior Amateurs (Round of 32, 2017 and Round of 16, 2018). Elliott was the runner-up to Craig Davis in this year’s Seniors Amateur, conducted by The R&A. Davis won on the third playoff hole after each player finished at 9-under 207. Elliott, who has played in 14 U.S. Mid-Amateurs and was a quarterfinalist in 2006, owns a sanitation and street equipment company, and recovered from open-heart surgery 19 years ago. He was inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.
Brady Exber, 63, of Las Vegas, Nev., has advanced to match play in five of six U.S. Senior Amateurs played. He won the 2014 Seniors Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A, and was runner-up two years later. Exber, who is a member of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame, has competed in 25 USGA championships, including a tie for 41st in the 2007 U.S. Senior Open. He is a past president of the Southern Nevada Golf Association (2006-10) and a minority owner of the MLB’s Houston Astros.
Jim Gallagher, 65, of Charlotte, N.C., has competed in two U.S. Senior Amateurs (2013, 2016). Gallagher, who earned a B.S. in economics from the University of North Carolina and an MBA from the University of Virginia, recently retired from Bank of America, where he handled mergers and acquisitions for lower middle market companies. Gallagher, who has two artificial knees and two artificial hips, is a reading tutor to second-grade students.
Marvin “Vinny” Giles, 76, 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 is also a three-time U.S. Amateur runner-up. Giles, who has played in 54 USGA championships, 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 (1970, 1973) and nine U.S. Senior Opens, finishing as low amateur in the latter on three occasions. Giles is one of two players (with Jeff Wilson) to be low amateur in the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open. He also was a member of three World Amateur Team Championship-winning teams for the USA.
Greg Goode, 61, of Salina, Kan., is the retired president of Salina Area Technical College, where he led the school through the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process. Prior to his appointment in 2009, he was vice president of student services at the Community College of Aurora in Colorado and worked at four other institutions. Goode, who is playing in his first USGA championship, was chosen 2018 Kansas Golf Association Senior Player of the Year and won the 2017 KGA Senior Four-Ball.
Tony Green, 67, of Kingsport, Tenn., has played in two U.S. Senior Opens (2006, 2011) and two U.S. Senior Amateurs (2009, 2011). He advanced to the Round of 16 in 2011 at Kinloch Golf Club. Green, who worked for a financial company, was born in Waynesville, N.C., and attended Western Carolina University. He won his fourth Tennessee Golf Association championship (State Super Seniors Open) in June.
Randy Haag, 60, of Orinda, Calif., has competed in 32 USGA championships and reached the Round of 16 with partner Jason Anthony in this year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. He has played in four U.S. Senior Amateurs and reached match play three times. He advanced to the quarterfinals in five U.S. Mid-Amateurs and competed in three U.S. Senior Opens. Haag, who employs a side-saddle putting style, was the low amateur and won the silver medal in The Senior Open, conducted by The R&A, in 2010 and 2011.
Raymond Hajjar, 55, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is a plastic surgeon and an assistant professor of surgery at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is competing in his second USGA championship but first in 39 years. He advanced to the Round of 32 in the 1980 Junior Amateur, held at Pine Lake Country Club, in Orchard Lake, Mich. Hajjar won the 1980 Division 2/Class B high school state individual title and led Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook High to the championship.
Doug Hanzel, 62, of Savannah, Ga., won the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion. He was a semifinalist in 2012 and twice a quarterfinalist (2016, 2018). 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. He has qualified for the U.S. Amateur in five different decades and has competed in 35 USGA championships. He was the low amateur in the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Senior Opens. In 2013, he became the 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.
Steve Harwell, 56, of Mooresville, N.C., has played in 13 USGA championships and twice advanced to the Round of 16 in the U.S. Mid-Amateur (1993, 2010). Harwell, who works in a life insurance company’s finance division and was NAIA All-America selection at Guilford College, has won four championships in 2019. He captured the North Carolina Senior Amateur with a 54-hole score of 213 (3-under), the National Senior Amateur Hall of Fame and Carolinas Golf Association Four-Ball. Harwell also won the George L. Coleman Invitational by one stroke over Chip Lutz and Jeff Knox at Seminole Golf Club on April 27.
Congrats to Walter Todd, Mike Gravley (Medalist), Paul Jett and Steve Harwell for qualifying for the @USGA #USSeniorAm at @OldChathamGC in August! 🏆 S/O to @SCGA1929 for hosting!— Carolinas Golf Assoc (@CGAgolf1909) July 22, 2019
Qual. Results 👉https://t.co/NMitAnuPuy pic.twitter.com/wrva4fKLqt
Paul Jett, 55, of Southern Pines, N.C., was the superintendent at Pinehurst No. 2 for 15 years and managed the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens and 2008 U.S. Amateur. Jett, who is currently a territory sales manager for a turf and ornamental company, carded a 68 in the Lexington, S.C., sectional qualifier on July 22. He was also the superintendent at Duke University Golf Course and assistant at Pinehurst Nos. 1 and 4. Jett, who won the 1982 South Carolina Class 4A state high school championship, earned his B.S. in turfgrass management from Clemson University. He is the youngest player in the Senior Amateur field.
Kevin King, 62, of Bluffton, S.C., was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection at the University of North Carolina in the late 1970s. Despite several hip, shoulder and ankle surgeries, he has competed in 20 USGA championships, including the 1977 U.S. Open and this year’s U.S. Senior Open at the Warren Course at Notre Dame. King, who works as a realtor in the Hilton Head area and is a private pilot, played on PGA Tour Champions in 2007.
Robby Kirby, 59, of Charlotte, N.C., is competing in his second USGA championship. He also played in the 1997 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Kirby, who is a commercial real estate broker who handles office and industrial leasing, shot a 71 to earn one of six spots in the Asheville, N.C., sectional qualifier. Kirby, who earned a management degree from Appalachian State University where he was the basketball manager, won the 2017 North Carolina Senior Four-Ball and 1993 Charlotte City Amateur.
Sean Knapp, 57, of Oakmont, Pa., won the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur and was the runner-up to Jeff Wilson in 2018 at Eugene Country Club. Knapp, who caddied at Oakmont Country Club, has competed in 49 USGA championships, including 15 U.S. Amateurs. He has played in 17 U.S. Mid-Amateurs and advanced to the semifinals in 2008 and 2010. Knapp lost to eventual champion Tiger Woods in the Round of 16 of the 1995 U.S. Amateur and tied for 60th in the 2012 U.S. Senior Open. Knapp, who is a 14-time Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Player of the Year, is a member of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania athletic hall of fame.
Kelly Knievel, 58, of Las Vegas, Nev., is the son of the late stunt performer, daredevil and entertainer Evel Knievel. Kelly, who manages a construction business, owns his father’s memorabilia and intellectual property. He is playing in his second USGA championship and first since the 2000 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Knievel shared medalist honors with a 72 in the Boise, Idaho, sectional qualifier and captured the lone spot in a four-hole playoff with Scott Vermeer at Ridgecrest Country Club. Knievel won this year’s Nevada State Senior Amateur with a 54-hole score of 213 (3-under) at Reflection Bay Golf Club.
Bill Land, 63, of Lafayette, La., has won three United States Racquetball Association national championships. He claimed the USRA age 25+ title twice (1984, 1986) and the age 30+ crown in 1987. Land, who played baseball at Northwestern State University, in Natchitoches, La., from 1977-79, spent one season in the Class A New York-Penn League. He is playing in his second USGA championship and first since the 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Land has won two Louisiana Golf Association Four-Ball championships (1999, 2000) and two LGA Senior Four-Ball titles (2011, 2017).
Louis Lee, 63, of Heber Springs, Ark., won the 2011 U.S. Senior Amateur, the second-youngest champion in the event’s history, and his brother, Stanford, captured the championship in 2007. They are one of five sets of brothers who have won USGA championships. Lee defeated his brother in the quarterfinals en route to the 2011 title. Louis, who worked in the insurance business for 35 years, teaches leadership training for a coaching group. He earned All-Southeastern Conference honors at LSU in the late 1970s and was later inducted into the National Senior Amateur Golf Hall of Fame.
Chip Lutz, 64, of Reading, Pa., won the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur. Lutz, who has a 25-8 match-play record in the championship, has also advanced to the semifinals on four occasions (2010, 2011, 2013, 2018). He also has won the Seniors Amateur, conducted by The R&A, three times and the Canadian Senior Amateur twice. He and Paul Simson are the lone players who have claimed all three championships. 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.
Dennis Lynch, 58, of Smithtown, N.Y., is a retired Suffolk County police officer who worked for the department for 31 years. Lynch, who grew up near Bethpage State Park, played on the Bethpage High School team in the late 1970s and honed his game while working as an officer on the midnight shift. Lynch, who previously competed in the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links, qualified for last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur but had to withdraw before the competition due to a pinched nerve. He has served on the Metropolitan Golf Association Executive Committee and has won two MGA Mid-Amateurs (2009, 2010).
George “Buddy” Marucci Jr., 67, of Villanova, Pa., won the 2008 U.S. Senior Amateur, 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 the captain in two USA victories (2007, 2009). Marucci, who has worked for Fox Sports as an on-course golf analyst, has competed in 54 USGA championships, including 10 U.S. Senior Amateurs.
Michael McCoy, 56, of Norwalk, Iowa, competed in his 60th USGA championship earlier this month at the U.S. Amateur. He advanced to the semifinals in his first U.S. Senior Amateur last year at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club. McCoy 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 when he defeated Bill Williamson, 8 and 6, in the 36-hole final at the Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.). A member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team, McCoy works in the insurance business and is a member of the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.
Billy Mitchell, 55, of Roswell, Ga., is a performance health coach who has trained PGA Tour players Stewart Cink and Roberto Castro and LPGA Tour players Mariah Stackhouse and Dori Carter. Mitchell, who has also consulted college teams, won the Georgia State Golf Association Public Links championship twice (2010, 2011) and was runner-up in the 2011 GSGA Amateur. Mitchell, who won the 2016 Georgia Senior Open, has played in seven USGA championships.
Roger Newsom, 55, of Virginia Beach, Va., is a board-certified eye surgeon and ophthalmologist specializing in laser and refractive cataract surgery. He has competed in five USGA championships, including two U.S. Senior Opens (2014, 2019). Newsom has won the State Open of Virginia twice (2008, 2011) and the 2014 Virginia State Golf Association Senior Open. His brother, Tim, is the director of golf at Riverfront Golf Club, in Suffolk, Va.
Bryan Norton, 60, of Mission Hills, Kan., has been the runner-up in two USGA championships. He lost to Nathan Smith in the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur (by concession due to injury) and fell to Patrick Tallent, 2 and 1, in the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur. Norton has competed in 25 USGA championships, including four U.S. Opens and three U.S. Senior Opens. Norton, who works for an insurance brokerage firm and has won three Kansas Amateurs, tied for 31st in The Open Championship at St. Andrews in 1990.
Edward Parnell, 59, of Altamonte Springs, Fla., has played in seven USGA championships, including the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur. Parnell, who is a mortgage banker, was born in Winston-Salem, N.C., and played his first golf at Old Town Club, where his instructor was two-time U.S. Amateur champion E. Harvie Ward. Parnell’s father, Charlie, attended Wake Forest University, where he played with 1954 U.S. Amateur and 1960 U.S. Open champion Arnold Palmer.
Gary Pugh, 58, of Asheboro, N.C., is playing in his first USGA championship. He birdied No. 18 following two consecutive bogeys to avoid an 8-for-1 playoff for the last of six spots in the Asheville, N.C., sectional qualifier. Pugh, who has worked in the textile/apparel industry for 36 years and owns a rental property company, finished eighth in this year’s North Carolina Senior Amateur. Pugh, a North Carolina State University graduate, won an American Legion state baseball championship in 1978.
Jerry Rose, 60, of Sarasota, Fla., advanced to the quarterfinals of last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur and has played in five USGA championships. Rose, who works as a business consultant after retiring from General Electric, played at Brigham Young University from 1976-80, and one of his teammates was former PGA Tour player and golf television analyst Bobby Clampett. Rose has finished as runner-up in two state amateurs (Utah, 1980; Idaho, 1984) and is a two-time Minnesota senior player of the year.
Bob Royak, 57, of Alpharetta, Ga., will play in the same USGA championship as his brother, Paul, for the first time since 2004 when they competed in the U.S. Mid-Amateur. The brothers grew up in Guilderland, N.Y., and each played golf at the University of Tampa. Bob has competed in 15 USGA championships, including three U.S. Amateurs and two U.S. Senior Opens (2012, 2019). Royak, who is vice president for an executive search firm, was chosen 2017 Georgia State Golf Association Senior Player of the Year after winning the GSGA Senior Amateur.
Paul Royak, 55, of Tampa, Fla., is competing in the same USGA championship as his older brother, Bob, for the first time since 2004. They each played in the U.S. Mid-Amateur, held at Sea Island Golf Club. Paul, who was born in Guilderland, N.Y., and was a member of the University of Tampa golf team in 1985-86, has played in three USGA championships, including the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in 2015. Royak, a member of the Gasparilla Invitational executive committee, is a real estate broker and previously spent six years as operations manager for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Dave Ryan, 65, of Taylorville, Ill., won the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. He has played in seven U.S. Senior Amateurs and advanced to the semifinals in 2017. On his way to the 2016 title, he recorded the first double eagle in championship history when he made a hole-in-one on a par 4 in his Round-of-16 match against Paul Simson. Ryan, who grew up on a nine-hole course and is a six-time Illinois State Senior Player of the Year, has competed in 26 USGA championships. He has played in four U.S. Senior Opens and made the 36-hole cut in 2015 at Del Paso Country Club.
Tim Sheppard, 58, of East Peoria, Ill., spent most of his adult life lifting weights, body building and playing softball. He won a Toughman Contest in 1986 before taking first in a body building show four years later. In the early 1990s he began playing competitive golf. He has competed in nine USGA championships and advanced to match play in his two U.S. Senior Amateurs (2016, 2018). Sheppard, who is a self-employed insurance salesman, was the 2018 Chicago District Golf Association Senior Player of the Year. He is the first player to win all three CDGA-administered senior championships – Illinois Senior Amateur Stroke Play, Illinois Senior Match Play and Senior Amateur Four-Ball.
Paul Simson, 68, of Raleigh, N.C., has competed in 63 USGA championships, including 15 U.S. Amateurs. Simson won the 2010 and 2012 U.S. Senior Amateurs and is one of 14 players to win the title on multiple occasions. He is third all-time with 33 match-play victories and has played in 12 Senior Amateurs. He was the runner-up to Sean Knapp in the 2017 Senior Amateur and was the low amateur in the 2001 U.S. Senior Open. He and Chip Lutz are the lone players to have won the U.S. Senior Amateur, the Seniors Amateur, conducted by The R&A, and the Canadian Senior Amateur championships.
Jerry Slagle, 55, of Southlake, Texas, is playing in his first U.S. Senior Amateur. Slagle, who competed in the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur and 2018 U.S. Senior Open, finished third in this year’s Seniors Amateur, conducted by the The R&A, following a final-round 65 at North Berwick. Slagle, who played college baseball at UAB in the mid-1980s, was a 1990 World Long Drive finalist and won two regional championships. His daughter, Taylor, has competed on the Symetra and Cactus Tours.
Vern Spurlock, 62, of Fort Worth, Texas, is a past president of the Texas Golf Association (2008-09) and served on the board for 15 years. In his role he was able to assist in establishing the Legends Junior Golf Tour. Spurlock, who has played in four USGA championships, including the 2011 U.S. Senior Open, is a managing director for a financial services company and has worked for the group for more than 30 years.
Craig Steinberg, 61, of Agoura Hills, Calif., is playing in his second U.S. Senior Amateur and reached the Round of 32 in 2017. Steinberg has competed in 27 USGA championships, including two U.S. Senior Opens (2008, 2014). He has also advanced to the U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinals twice (1988, 1999). Steinberg has degrees in optometry and law and has combined the two disciplines in his career. In addition to owning his own optometry practice, Steinberg serves as general counsel for the American Optometric Society and American Board of Clinical Optometry.
Matt Sughrue, 59, of Arlington, Va., has played in three consecutive U.S. Senior Amateurs, including a runner-up finish to Dave Ryan in 2016 and a quarterfinal finish the following year. Sughrue, who has competed in 17 USGA championships, was the runner-up in the 2015 Seniors Amateur, conducted by The R&A. An insurance professional for more than 25 years, Sughrue changed course to become a psychotherapist. He earned a master’s degree in human development and marriage & family therapy from Virginia Tech in 2012 and wrote his thesis on chronic adult male homelessness. Sughrue is also a performance coach for athletes, including golfers, swimmers and baseball players.
Lionel Sutton, 55, of La Grange, N.C., is a safe shoe distributor who services five states and employs a shoe mobile. He is competing in his first USGA championship. Sutton was the runner-up in the 2016 Carolinas Mid-Amateur and finished fourth in this year’s North Carolina Senior Amateur. He has won four Wayne County amateur championships and four senior county titles.
Walker Taylor, 57, of Wilmington, N.C., is competing in his first U.S. Senior Amateur. He has played in seven USGA championships, including two U.S. Amateurs (1997, 2002). Taylor, who handles insurance for an international sales and marketing company, has competed in three international Ironman events (2013, France; 2014, Colorado; 2015, Denmark). He started in golf in the City of Wilmington Coastal Junior Program (now First Tee of Wilmington).
Terry Tyson, 64, of Perrysburg, Ohio, was chosen in the 16th round of the 1976 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians and played in their minor league system for five years at the Class A and AA levels. Tyson, who is a retired medical device sales representative and overcame prostate cancer in 2010, was an all-conference shortstop and batted .344 as a senior at the University of Toledo. Tyson is a two-time Toledo Metro Golf Association player of the year (2017, 2018).
Frank Vana Jr., 57, of Boxford, Mass., has played in two U.S. Senior Amateurs, advancing to the semifinals in 2017 and Round of 16 last year. Vana, who has competed in 31 USGA championships, is a two-time Massachusetts Amateur champion and 10-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. Vana, who grew up on a family-owned driving range, was a three-sport college athlete (football, golf, hockey) and is a member of the Assumption College athletic hall of fame.
Don Walsworth, 55, of Leawood, Kan., was reinstated as an amateur in 2003 after spending 14 years as a touring professional, including stints on the Asian Tour and Web.com (now Korn Ferry) Tour. Walsworth, who is the president of a publishing company, has competed in seven USGA championships, including two U.S. Opens. He tied for 44th in 1994 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. Walsworth, who won the 1986 Pac-10 Conference title while playing at Stanford University, also qualified for the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.
Pete Williams, 60, of Juno Beach, Fla., is a captain of a United Airlines Boeing 777 and has accumulated more than 24,000 flight hours in 34 years of service. Williams primarily flies to Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Mumbai and Tel Aviv. He has played in two U.S. Senior Opens (2010, 2014) and advanced to match play in the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur. Williams has twice been chosen Florida State Golf Association Senior Player of the Year (2014, 2018).
Jeff Wilson, 56, of Fairfield, Calif., is the general sales manager at an automobile dealership. He abandoned a professional golfer’s life, bouncing around mini tours, for a more stable career path. Wilson, who was reinstated as an amateur in 1997, won the 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur, a 2-and-1 victory over defending champion Sean Knapp. He tied for 31st in last year’s U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor and became the second player to earn low-amateur honors in both the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open, joining Marvin “Vinny” Giles III. Wilson, who was low amateur in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, has competed in 34 USGA championships, including four U.S. Opens.
Mitch Wilson, 61, of Kalamazoo, Mich., is the head men’s golf coach at Kalamazoo College, an NCAA Division III program. Wilson has played in six USGA championships, including four U.S. Senior Amateurs. He started seriously playing golf in his junior year at Central Michigan University after being cut from the baseball team as a sophomore. One of his college teammates was Randal Lewis, the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and 1996 Mid-Amateur runner-up.
Frank Wrenn, 69, of Greenville, S.C., was one of the last players added to the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur field as the first alternate from the Alpharetta, Ga., sectional qualifier. Wrenn, who was born in Durham, N.C., and played golf at Wake Forest University, is a corporate investment banker. He qualified for the 2004 U.S. Senior Open and won this year’s National Senior Hall of Fame Tournament’s Super Seniors Division. He founded the Chanticleer National Four-Ball Invitational, held at Greenville Country Club.
Ned Zachar, 57, of Bedford, N.Y., reached the semifinals of last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club. Zachar, who has played in five USGA championships, is a partner in a financial management firm and serves as secretary of the Metropolitan Golf Association. He won the 1980 Iowa Class AA individual high school state title, led Cedar Rapids Regis High to the championship and went on to play at Iowa State University.