Richardsons father, John, won the 1987 Senior Amateur at Saucon Valley (Penn.) Country Club at age 66. They are the first father-son winners in USGA history. John passed away a year after his win, but the 18th green flag from that championship is a framed keepsake for the family.
My father meant a lot to me, said Richardson. He was a great player, and he taught me everything. We used to play a lot of golf together. I always hoped Id have this chance. I am proud to have my name on this trophy.
The long-hitting Richardson won holes 15 and 16 by sinking 10-foot putts on each before the two players halved the 17th to end the match. He had won three consecutive holes to take a 2-up lead after eight. He won the sixth and eighth holes with birdies and was the equivalent of 1-under-par on the front nine.
Ploeger, however, won holes 11 and 14 with pars to square the match for the moment.
Richardson is also the second to concurrently hold the USGA Senior Amateur and the British Senior Amateur titles. He won the 2001 British Senior at Royal Portrush in Ireland with a 54-hole total of 217. The first to hold both titles was 2000 champion Bill Shean Jr. of Hillsdale, Ill.
Richardson also was the low amateur in the 1999 and 2000 U.S. Senior Opens, and just missed the cut at the 2001 Senior Open by a stroke. The 2000 Senior Open was held at Saucon Valley, where his father won the Senior Amateur.
I still play with the kids and can hit it with those guys who are playing on the Senior Tour, so I dont feel like I am this old, but I guess I am, said Richardson, who set the pace with a 2-under 69 on the first day of stroke play.
Richardson led in each of his five matches heading to the final, leading in each by the 9th hole. He was not extended to the 18th hole in any of his matches.
I thought that when I won hole 14 I had a chance, said Ploeger, who suffered a mild heart attack before the 2000 championship and then lost his first round match. Hes a great champion. He hits the ball so long hes tough to beat.
In four of his six matches Ploeger won the first hole of each and never trailed. He birdied the second hole to take an early lead on Richardson as well, but couldnt hold it.