2011 Senior Amateur Storylines September 7, 2011 By Michael Trostel, USGA

Course: Designed by Lester George and two-time USGA champion Marvin "Vinny" Giles III in 2001, Kinloch Golf Club will play to par 72 at 6,829/6,760 yards. 

Who is Eligible: The USGA Senior Amateur Championship is open to amateurs age 55 and older who have a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 7.4. 

Field: 156 players qualified from 2,287 entries 

2010 Championship: Paul Simson defeated Pat Tallent, 2 and 1, in the final at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando, Fla. 

Oldest Player: Jack Vardaman, 71 (4/22/1940); Mike Rice, 71 (8/6/1940) 

States Represented (41): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia 

Countries Represented (2): United States, Canada 

Players Who Qualified for the 2011 U.S. Senior Open (7): Hunter Nelson, Joe Viechnicki, Tony Green, Doug Pool, Dave Ryan, John Grace, Pat Tallent 

USGA Champions in the Field (11): Mike Bell (2006 USGA Senior Amateur); Mark Bemowski (2004 USGA Senior Amateur); Marvin "Vinny" Giles III (1972 U.S. Amateur, 2009 USGA Senior Amateur); Stan Lee (2007 USGA Senior Amateur); George "Buddy" Marucci Jr. (2008 USGA Senior Amateur); Greg Reynolds (2002 USGA Senior Amateur); Mike Rice (2005 USGA Senior Amateur); Kemp Richardson (2001, 2003 USGA Senior Amateur); Fred Ridley (1975 U.S. Amateur); Paul Simson (2010 USGA Senior Amateur); George Zahringer III (2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur)

USA Walker Cup Team Members in the Field (7): Duke Delcher (1997); Marvin "Vinny" Giles III (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975); John Grace (1975); George "Buddy" Marucci Jr. (1995, 1997); Fred Ridley (1977); Martin West (1973, 1979); George Zahringer III (2003) 

USA Walker Cup Team Captains in the Field (3): Marvin "Vinny" Giles III (1993); George "Buddy" Marucci Jr. (2007, 2009); Fred Ridley (1987, 1989) 

USA World Amateur Team Championship Team Members in the Field (3): Marvin "Vinny" Giles III (1968, 1970, 1972); Fred Ridley (1976); Martin West (1972) 

USA World Amateur Team Championship Captains in the Field (2): Marvin "Vinny" Giles III (1992); Fred Ridley (2010) 

Individual Player Notes: 

Mike Bell, 64, of Indianapolis, Ind., won the 2006 USGA Senior Amateur at Victoria National G.C. in his home state. In 2003, Bell had double-bypass open-heart surgery on March 13th and qualified for U.S. Senior Open on June 2nd, less than three months later. 

Mike Booker, 56, of The Woodlands, Texas, is a melanoma cancer survivor and founded the "Mike and Pat Booker Melanoma Research Endowment," which has raised nearly $500,000 in research funds. He is a four-time winner of the Houston City Amateur in three different decades.  

Casey Boyns, 55, of Pacific Grove, Calif., has caddied for over 20 years at Pebble Beach and has twice won the California Amateur there. 

David Cannon, 61, of Salt Lake City, Utah, has eight siblings and 10 children of his own. 

"Bullit" Bob Coleman, 66, of The Villages, Fla., flew for 28 years as a fighter pilot with the U.S. Air Force. He won 13 club championships at eight different Air bases. During a combat mission in Southeast Asia, Coleman was informed via radio that he was a new father – "Remarkably, I did not crash when I was told!"  

Andrew Congdon, 57, of Great Barrington, Mass., is a 23-time club champion at Wyantenuck C.C. 

James Curell, 58, of Boone, Iowa, made two holes-in-one on the same day at Boone Golf and Country Club in 1989. He had artificial heart valves installed in 2005. 

Duke Delcher, 55, of Bluffton, S.C., was a member of the 1997 Walker Cup Team and has played in 21 USGA championships. 

Armen Dirtadian, 58, of Tucson, Ariz., has starred in over 50 musicals as an actor and singer. He has starred as Tevye in seven productions of "Fiddler on the Roof" and toured China in 2010 singing "The Best of Sinatra." 

Mike Dixon, 55, of Trinidad, Colo., played baseball collegiately at Oklahoma State and Colorado State. He played semi-pro ball in Nebraska and led the league in hitting in 1978. He plays all sports left-handed except golf, in which he swings right-handed and putts left-handed. 

John Empanger, 56, of Chaska, Minn., is the second in his family to play in the USGA Senior Amateur. His father, John, played in the 1981 and 1982 championships.  

Alan Fadel, 56, of Toledo, Ohio, is the vice president of the Ohio Golf Association and continues to be involved with the local chapter of The First Tee in Toledo. 

Carter Fasick, 59, of Milford, Mass., claims to have owned a race horse that ate blueberry muffins and drank beer, but still managed an occasional win. Fasick has won the Massachusetts State Four-Ball four times with his brother, Jon. 

Kent Fransden, 60, of Lebanon, Ind., is the current president of Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., which has hosted six USGA championships. In 2007, Fransden was a recipient of the USGA's Ike Grainger Award, which recognizes volunteers who have given 25 years of service to the Association. 

Marvin "Vinny" Giles III, 68, of Richmond, Va., won the 2009 USGA Senior Amateur, 37 years after his 1972 U.S. Amateur victory, establishing a record for the longest span between USGA victories. Giles has 16 holes-in-one, including an ace on the par-4 17th at Oakmont (Pa.) C.C, believed to be the only recorded hole-in-one on that hole. He also won the 1975 British Amateur and has been low amateur at both the U.S. Open and Masters Tournament. Giles is a co-designer of Kinloch Golf Club. 

John Grace, 63, of Fort Worth, Texas, finished runner-up at the 1974 U.S. Amateur and 2009 USGA Senior Amateur and was a member of the 1975 Walker Cup Team.  

James Grainger, 55, of Charlotte, N.C., is the grandson of Isaac "Ike" Grainger, former USGA president. Grainger made the field for the 2011 Senior Am by winning a four-for-one playoff on the first hole. The other three players made birdies, but Grainger topped them with an eagle. He also caddied for Kelly Shon, who advanced to the round of 16, in the 2010 U.S. Women's Amateur at Charlotte C.C., his home course. 

Bill Henry, 60, of Cranford, N.J., is a financial advisor by trade who also performs as a professional magician and comedy mind reader at upscale corporate events.  

Thomas Hofman, 59, of Santa Clarita, Calif., has coached high school basketball for 25 years, winning over 550 games. He was named the California State High School Basketball Coach of the Year in 2007. Once, on a par-5 hole, he hit his drive in a lake, and after dropping,, tried to go for the green but hit it in another water hazard in front of the green. With the ball half-submerged, Hofman took off his shoes and socks and played the shot, holing it for a birdie.  

Chip Howell, 56, of Anniston, Ala., has been the Alabama Golf Association Director since 1980. He was the mayor of Anniston from 2000-08 and played in the Pro-Am at the inaugural Players Championship in 1974. 

Mike Jackson, 58, of Canada, had a seven-day stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL during training camp before the 1973 season.

Bob Kain, 62, of Cleveland, Ohio, is a strategic advisor for CAA Sports and the former president and CEO of IMG. He is married to Rosalynn Sumners, a three-time national-champion figure skater who won a silver medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics. 

Jack Kearney, 56, of Peachtree City, Ga., is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and currently works as a pilot for Delta Airlines. His home base is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where his son/caddie, Patrick, also works as an air traffic controller. 

Keith "Reggie" Keister, 61, of Orlando, Fla., made two holes-in-one on the same hole – the 3rd at Rio Pinar C.C. in Orlando, Fla., - three months apart in 2002. Keister also tracks Monarch butterflies, having released over 1,000 Monarchs into the environment. 

Tim Kelley, 55, of Ashland, Va., won the Richmond City Amateur on Father's Day 2009 – beating his son, Brock, 2 and 1, to claim the title. 

Stan Lee, 58, of Tumbling Shoals, Ark., is the 2007 USGA Senior Amateur champion. He is an avid baseball historian and has been to all but four Major League ballparks. Lee's brother, Louis, is also playing in this championship.  

Todd Lusk, 68, Baton Rouge, La., plays competitive bridge and has played in two National Bridge Championships. 

Chip Lutz, 56, of Reading, Pa., won the Canadian Men's Senior Championship and the British Seniors Open Amateur Championship earlier this year. He will attempt to equal the feat of Paul Simson from 2010, who won both those championships as well as the USGA Senior Amateur. Lutz is the middle of three brothers, who are all named John - though they have different middle names. His younger brother goes by Putter, while his older brother goes by Wedge. 

Greg Lynn, 63, of Edmond, Okla., is the head women's golf coach at Oklahoma Christian University. He is also a purple belt in karate. 

George "Buddy" Marucci Jr., 59, of Villanova, Pa., has played in 41 USGA championships. He won the 2008 USGA Senior Amateur, played on the 1995 and 1997 USA Walker Cup Teams and captained the 2005 and 2007 USA Walker Cup Teams. 

David Merrell, 60, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., spent 10 years traveling the world to teach Systema, a Russian martial art. 

Dan Meyers, 55, of Oro Valley, Ariz., is president of The First Tee of Tucson. 

Don Misheff, 55, of Silver Lake, Ohio, played golf with Lebron James at Firestone Country Club. It was James' first time playing and he drove the golf cart onto a green. Misheff caddied for his daughter, Erin, during the 2011 Ohio Women's Amateur, which she won. Last year, he purchased the Sun Ridge Canyon Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.  

Michael Moore, 58, of Puyallup, Wash., is the father of three-time USGA champion Ryan Moore. He considers caddieing for Ryan at the 2002 U.S. Open and the 2011 Masters Par-3 Contest two of his golf highlights. Moore is also an avid bowler, having bowled several 300 games in competition. 

Gary Murdoch, 62, of Juneau, Alaska, maintains a 3-handicap playing at Mendenhall Golf Course, in Juneau. The longest hole on the front nine is 191 yards. The back nine has three holes, measuring a total of 660 yards that you play three times, with one par-4. He only uses a driver if the wind blows more than 30 mph. The fairways are mowed-down wetlands grass. At high tide, the streams crossing some of the fairways go from a yard wide up to 30-40 yards wide. He travels four to six times a year to other golf courses, playing 27 to 36 holes a day. During the winter he plays on a golf simulator in his garage. 

Jim Myers, 66, of Oceanside, Calif., had a productive July. Early in the month, he shot his age in a round with friends. On the 16th, he climbed Half Dome at Yosemite National Park. 

Pat O'Donnell, 57, of Happy Valley, Ore., hit a pedestrian walking down the highway with a wild, hooked 6-iron when he was 14 years old. The man suffered a broken wrist but accepted a six-pack of beer as restitution. Interestingly, the only two USGA championships he has played in (1972 U.S. Amateur and 2009 USGA Senior Amateur) were both won by Marvin "Vinny" Giles III. 

Mike Owsik, 56, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., owns and operates a driving range and is one of 11 siblings. 

Steve Poulson, 56, of Draper, Utah, is a video game programmer for Sony PlayStation's "Twisted Metal" series. He has made four holes-in-one – all in tournaments that he won. 

Tom Preston, 64, of Mesa, Ariz., is an avid baseball card collector who owns two course records at golf clubs in Arizona – including a 59 at Painted Mountain Golf Resort in 1980. 

Greg Reynolds, 64, of Grand Blanc, Mich., won the 2002 USGA Senior Amateur, defeating Mark Bemowski. Two years later, the same pair met in the final again with Bemowski prevailing this time. Reynolds was paired with Arnold Palmer in the 2005 U.S. Senior Open – The King's final USGA championship. 

Peach Reynolds, 57, of Austin, Texas, and his son, Jay, were contestants on a Golf Channel reality show called "Highway 18" in the fall of 2008. Before becoming a realtor, Reynolds spent the first 15 years of his career making high quality hand-made kaleidoscopes. 

Mike Rice, 71, of Houston, Texas, is the 2005 USGA Senior Amateur champion and the oldest player in this year's field. 

Fred Ridley, 59, of Tampa, Fla., is a past president of the USGA (2004-05) and the 1975 U.S. Amateur champion. Ridley played on the 1977 USA Walker Cup Team and served as captain of the 1987 and 1989 squads. 

Bob Rowland, 67, of Danville, Calif., worked the manual scoreboard at Cherry Hills Country Club in the 1960 U.S. Open, when Arnold Palmer birdied six of the first seven holes of the final round on the way to his historic comeback victory. In the same championship, Rowland caddied for amateur Charles Coody during the practice rounds. Coody asked Rowland to caddie for him in the championship, but he said no, hoping for a pro who might pay more.  

James Saivar, 66, of San Diego, Calif., qualified for his first USGA event, the 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur, at age 65. He is believed to be the oldest qualifier for the championship.  

Jay Sessa, 55, of Garden City, N.Y., is a fourth generation funeral director for a family business that started in 1883. 

Robert Shelton, 59, of Lafayette, La., defeated Dr. Gil Morgan in a playoff to win the Cotton States Invitational in 1970.  

Bob Sherman, 69, of Santa Fe, N.M., lettered in three sports at the University of Iowa and played defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1964-65. As a division director and national sales manager at Merrill Lynch, Sherman hired Dr. Bob Rotella, the renowned golf psychologist, to work with his management group to have the proper mindset for success in business. 

Paul Simson, 60, of Raleigh, N.C., is the defending champion of the USGA Senior Amateur. Simson has 10 career holes-in-one – one more than his mother, Jane, who also has a double-eagle. 

Pete Snyder, 59, of Encinitas, Calif., is nine-time club champion at Colonial C.C. in Fort Worth, Texas, for tennis and was ranked #1 in Texas for 25-and-over in doubles for many years. Snyder is also an accomplished piano player and can speak four languages. 

Greg Stirman, 58, of Sugar Land, Texas, was the director of player services for the 2005 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur played at Shadow Hawk Golf Club. 

Pat Tallent, 58, of Vienna, Va., was the runner-up at the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur. During the 2004 U.S. Senior Open at Bellerive, Tallent notched a hole-in-one at the 6th hole during the first round and finished the championship as low amateur. Tallent was an All-American basketball player at George Washington University. 

Richie Tolly, 60, of Laguna Hills, Calif., played in the Scottish Senior Amateur this summer and because of a blister on his right foot, played the championship wearing a golf shoe on his left foot and a flip-flop on his right foot.  

Gary Van Sickle, 57, of Wexford, Pa., has been a senior writer at Sports Illustrated since 1996, mostly covering golf. He has won several awards from the Golf Writers Association of America and International Network of Golf. His son, Mike, was a first-team All-American golfer at Marquette University, winning the Byron Nelson Award, and is now pursuing a career in professional golf. 

Jack Vardaman, 71, of Washington, D.C., was slated to be inducted into Washington and Lee Athletic Hall of Fame this September 9-10, but because of a conflict with the Senior Amateur he has deferred induction for a year. Vardaman also has a house in Hot Springs, Va., and played many rounds of golf with Sam Snead in his time there. He still plays regularly with J.C. Snead, Sam's nephew. 

Emile Vaughan, 55, of Pike Road, Ala., made an eagle before he made his first birdie. As a 9-year-old, he holed a 5-iron from about 130 yards on a par-5 for a three. He was so excited he made an 11 on the next hole. 

Jon Verity, 68, of Beaufort, S.C., won the club championship at Browns Run Country Club as an 18-year-old, beating his father in the final. The course was built on Verity's great-grandfather's farm. 

Joe Viechnicki, 58, of Bethlehem, Pa., He is an orthodontist, and his wife, son, brother, niece and her husband are also dentists. Even his caddie in the 2011 U.S. Senior Open was a dentist.  

Pat Vincelli, 65, of Rosemont, Minn., qualified to be a military police officer in the Army with the highest physical training score and the lowest discipline mark out of 300 servicemen. He also had poetry published at age 16. 

Martin West III, 63, of Rockville, Md., is a two-time member of the USA Walker Cup Team (1973 and 1979) and played in 19 U.S. Amateurs, with his best finish being fourth place in 1972.  

Steven Whittaker, 58, of Becker, Minn., putts side-saddle when inside 10 feet. He built a 50-foot-wide and 30-foot-high rock climbing wall for the students at the high school in Minnesota where he teaches physical education. 

George Zahringer III, 58, of New York, N.Y., has played in 44 USGA championships and was a member of the 2003 USA Walker Cup Team. He won the 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur. 

Storylines compiled by Michael Trostel, curator/historian for the USGA Museum. Email him at mtrostel@usga.org.