Medalist Jim Holtgrieve Wins First-Round Match September 30, 2012 By Brian DePasquale, USGA

Patrick Tallent (left) congratulates Jim Holtgrieve at the conclusion of their match on the 15th hole where Holtgrieve posted a 4-and-3 victory. (John Mummert/USGA)

West Caldwell, N.J. – Jim Holtgrieve, 64, of St. Louis, the stroke-play medalist, won his first-round match Monday to lead a group of 32 players into the second round of match play at the 2012 USGA Senior Amateur Championship at the par-71, 6,838-yard Mountain Ridge Country Club.

Two of the top five seeds were eliminated by players who advanced from stroke play through an 11-for-9 playoff earlier in the day. Pat O’Donnell, 58, of Happy Valley, Ore., downed No. 2 seed Stan Kinsey, 58, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., 1 up. Jim Knoll, 60, of Sunnyvale, Calif., chipped in on the 18th hole to defeat reigning British and Canadian Senior Amateur champion Chip Lutz, 57, of Reading, Pa., 1 up. 

The 2012 USGA Senior Amateur Championship continues with the second and third rounds of match play Tuesday. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played Wednesday. The championship is scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Thursday, starting at 9 a.m. EDT.

The USGA Senior Amateur, for players 55 and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Holtgrieve, a two-time USA Walker Cup captain, birdied three holes on the outward nine to build a lead and posted a 4-and-3 victory over Patrick Tallent, 59, of Vienna, Va. Holtgrieve, the 1981 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, hit an 8-iron to five feet on the 142-yard seventh and sank a short birdie putt on the par-5 ninth.

Pat never lays down for anybody, said Holtgrieve about his opponent, the 2010 Senior Amateur finalist. He’s a hard fighter. I putted real well. I answered his bell a lot.

Unfortunately, Lutz did not have an answer for Knoll’s knockout punch. With Lutz looking at a six-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th, Knoll was just short of the green, 70 feet away. His chip with a 60-degree wedge broke left and disappeared into the hole to cap the upset.

I pinched it and I hit it perfect, to be truthful, Knoll said. I hit a low, driving shot and it checked on its second bounce and it rolled out.

Knoll, the No. 60 seed who parred two holes in the morning playoff to get into match play, birdied the par-5 9th and made par at No. 11 to take a 2-up lead. After Lutz closed the gap by winning the par-4 13th, the players halved the next four holes.

I scrambled and scraped it around, said Knoll, who was as pleased with the day as he was when he made the cut at the 2007 U.S. Senior Open. I tried to make him honest. I didn’t want to give him any holes winning with pars.

O’Donnell, the No. 63 seed, twice came from behind on the inward nine. He captured No. 17 with par to square the match and carded a bogey to win the final hole after nearly hitting his tee shot out of bounds. O’Donnell hit his second shot from a bush with a 7-iron to get back into the fairway. Meanwhile, Kinsey twice had his approach shot to the green fall short and roll back, leading to a double bogey.

[I] keep trying and keep grinding, said O’Donnell, who is playing in his second Senior Amateur. I never give up.

Defending USGA Senior Amateur champion Louis Lee struggled early in his match against Martin West, 64, of Rockville, Md., before recording a 3-and-2 win. Lee surged ahead with birdies on holes 7 and 9, and built a four-hole lead with a par at No. 12.

After that [the ninth] I felt pretty good, said Lee, 56, of Heber Springs, Ark., who meets Mountain Ridge club champion Jay Blumenfeld, 60, of Parsippany, N.J., in the next round. But that’s the ebb and flow of match play; you get and you give. Marty helped me some and I helped him some, but I’m glad to get out of that because he’s a tough competitor and even when he’s not playing his best, he’s tough to beat.

Mike Rice, the 2005 Senior Amateur champion, defeated Michael Stephens, 2 and 1. He trailed by one hole on the outward nine, but won four of the next six. He earned a conceded birdie on the 470-yard eighth, the longest par 4 on the course, by hitting a 230-yard 3-wood close to the hole, then went ahead with a two-putt birdie on No. 9.

It was raggedy golf for the first seven holes and then I hit it as good as a 72-year-old guy can, said Rice, the oldest player in the field.

Past Senior Amateur champions Paul Simson, 61, of Raleigh, N.C., Mark Bemowski, 66, of Mukwango, Wis., and Greg Reynolds, 65, of Grand Blanc, Mich., also advanced.

Douglas Hanzel, 55, of Savannah, Ga., continued his success in this year’s USGA championships by beating Brady Exber on the 21st hole. Hanzel was the low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open and made match play at the U.S. Amateur and Mid-Amateur.

West Caldwell, N.J. – Results of Monday’s first round of match play at the 2012 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, played at 6,838-yard, par-71 Mountain Ridge Country Club.

Round of 64

(Upper Bracket)

Jim Holtgrieve, St. Louis, Mo. (136) def. Patrick Tallent, Vienna, Va. (149), 4 and 3

Gerardo Ramirez, San Antonio, Texas (146) def. Jeff Burda, Modesto, Calif. (146), 2 and 1

Stephen Sharpe, Greensboro, N.C. (144) def. Doug Ritter, Davie, Fla. (148), 5 and 4

Mike Rice, Houston, Texas (148) def. Michael Stephens, Carmel, Ind. (144), 2 and 1

Joe Russo, Sewell, N.J. (149) def. Stephen Fox, Huntington, W.Va. (141), 20 holes

Leif Carlson, Apple Valley, Minn. (147) def. Robert Baker, Little Rock, Ark. (145), 1 up

Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C. (141) def. Steve Rogers, Bowling Green, Ky. (149), 1 up

Kevin Carey, South Dennis, Mass. (145) def. Grady Brame Sr., Hammond, La. (147), 5 and 4

Louis Lee, Heber Springs, Ark. (140) def. Martin West, Rockville, Md. (149), 3 and 2

Jay Blumenfeld, Parsippany, N.J. (146) def. Doug Potter, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (146), 5 and 4

Donald Detweiler, Raleigh, N.C. (148) def. Terry Werner, Dyer, Ind. (143), 2 up

David Jacobsen, Portland, Ore. (148) def. David Talcott, Edgewood, Wash. (145), 6 and 5

Jim Knoll, Sunnyvale, Calif. (149) def. Chip Lutz, Reading, Pa. (140), 1 up

Sam Till Jr., Fort Wayne, Ind. (146) def. Emile Vaughan, Pike Road, Ala. (146), 2 and 1

Mike Gravley, Greer, S.C. (148) def. Jim Rollefson, Franklin, Wis. (143), 3 and 1

Steven Ford, Trappe, Md. (148) def. Casey Boyns, Monterey, Calif. (145), 20 holes

(Lower Bracket)

Pat O’Donnell, Happy Valley, Ore. (149) def. Stanley Kinsey, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (137), 1 up

Owen Joyner, Spring, Texas (146) def. Gary Vanier, Pleasant Hill, Calif. (146), 3 and 2

George Zahringer, New York, N.Y. (148) def. David Szewczul, Farmington, Conn. (143), 1 up

James Pearson, Charlotte, N.C. (144) def. Ron Vannelli, Edison, N.J. (148), 2 up

Mark Bemowski, Mukwonago, Wis. (140) def. Greg Osborne, Lititz, Pa. (149), 3 and 2

Douglas Hanzel, Savannah, Ga. (146) def. Brady Exber, Las Vegas, Nev. (147), 21 holes

Hunter Nelson, Houston, Texas (148) def. Rick Woulfe, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (141), 22 holes

Randal Lewis, Alma, Mich. (145) def. Dennis Vaughn, Germantown, Tenn. (147), 3 and 1

Steve Golliher, Knoxville, Tenn. (139) def. Neil Spitalny, Chattanooga, Tenn. (149), 2 and 1

John Ervasti, Brooklyn, N.Y. (146) def. David Mooty, Eden Prairie, Minn. (146), 3 and 1

Gary Hardin, Fort Worth, Texas (148) def. John Grace, Fort Worth, Texas (143), 3 and 2

David Pulk, Williamsburg, Va. (148) def. Roger Brown, Scottsdale, Ariz. (144), 2 up

Graham Cooke, Canada (140) def. Don Marsh, Johns Creek, Ga. (149), 1 up

Douglas Pool, Las Vegas, Nev. (146) def. Douglas Farr, Monroe, La. (147), 6 and 4

Curtis Skinner, Lake Bluff, Ill. (143) vs. Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (148), 19 holes

Greg Reynolds, Grand Blanc, Mich. (145) def. Mike Booker, The Woodlands, Texas (148), 2 and 1

West Caldwell, N.J. – Pairings for Tuesday’s second round of match play at the 2012 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, played at 6,838-yard, par-71 Mountain Ridge Country Club.

Round of 32

(Upper Bracket)

7:30 a.m. - Jim Holtgrieve, St. Louis, Mo. (136) vs. Gerardo Ramirez, San Antonio, Texas (146)

7:38 a.m. - Stephen Sharpe, Greensboro, N.C. (144) vs. Mike Rice, Houston, Texas (148)

7:46 a.m. - Joe Russo, Sewell, N.J. (149) vs. Leif Carlson, Apple Valley, Minn. (147)

7:54 a.m. - Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C. (141) vs. Kevin Carey, South Dennis, Mass. (145)

8:02 a.m. - Louis Lee, Heber Springs, Ark. (140) vs. Jay Blumenfeld, Parsippany, N.J. (146)

8:10 a.m. - Donald Detweiler, Raleigh, N.C. (148) vs. David Jacobsen, Portland, Ore. (148)

8:18 a.m. - Jim Knoll, Sunnyvale, Calif. (149) vs. Sam Till Jr., Fort Wayne, Ind. (146)

8:26 a.m. - Mike Gravley, Greer, S.C. (148) vs. Steven Ford, Trappe, Md. (148)

(Lower Bracket)

8:34 a.m. - Pat O’Donnell, Happy Valley, Ore. (149) vs. Owen Joyner, Spring, Texas (146)

8:42 a.m. - George Zahringer, New York, N.Y. (148) vs. James Pearson, Charlotte, N.C. (144)

8:50 a.m. - Mark Bemowski, Mukwonago, Wis. (140) vs. Douglas Hanzel, Savannah, Ga. (146)

8:58 a.m. - Hunter Nelson, Houston, Texas (148) vs. Randal Lewis, Alma, Mich. (145)

9:06 a.m. - Steve Golliher, Knoxville, Tenn. (139) vs. John Ervasti, Brooklyn, N.Y. (146)

9:14 a.m. - Gary Hardin, Fort Worth, Texas (148) vs. David Pulk, Williamsburg, Va. (148)

9:22 a.m. - Graham Cooke, Canada (140) vs. Douglas Pool, Las Vegas, Nev. (146)

9:30 a.m. - Curtis Skinner, Lake Bluff, Ill. (143) vs. Greg Reynolds, Grand Blanc, Mich. (145)