Mark Bemowski, who won the 2004 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship and was a runner-up on two other occasions, lost his 22-month battle with pancreatic cancer on Sept. 21. The Mukwonago, Wis., resident was 72 years old.
Bemowski was one of the most decorated amateurs in Wisconsin history, claiming six Wisconsin Amateur titles. In 2005, he won the Wisconsin State Amateur and Wisconsin State Senior Amateur title in the same year.
A graduate of Menomonee Falls High School in the Milwaukee suburbs, Bemowski cut his teeth as a caddie at North Hills Country Club. He claimed his first Wisconsin State Amateur title in 1976 and added victories in 1981, 1984, 1997, 1999 and 2005. One of his most impressive achievements was making the cut in 40 consecutive Wisconsin State Amateurs.
When he turned 55, Bemowski began to dominate the senior circuit, reaching three U.S. Senior Amateur finals between 2002 and 2005. He lost to Greg Reynolds in the 2002 championship match, 4 and 3, at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.
Two years later at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif., he avenged that defeat with a 4-and-3 victory over Reynolds. In 2005 at The Farm Golf Club in Rocky Face, Ga., Mike Rice denied Bemowski of consecutive titles with a 1-up victory in the championship match.
“He’s the best amateur ever in the state of Wisconsin, no doubt,” Ron Hurab, a longtime friend who played on the Milwaukee Area Technical College golf team with Bemowski in 1968 and 1969, told Gary D’Amato of Wisconsin Golf. “He could have made it on the [PGA] Tour but he didn’t have the money or desire to do it.”
Bemowski is survived by his wife, Sandy, and daughters Jennifer and Becky. Funeral arrangements are pending.
David Shefter is the senior writer and content manager for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.