Past Champions Advance in Senior Amateur


Two past champions, O. Gordon Brewer and Bill Ploeger have advanced to Thursdays semifinals at the USGA Senior Amateur Championship at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis, MO.
Brewer, 64, of Pine Valley, N.J., the winner in 1994 and 1996, won his Wednesday quarterfinal match over Bill Baloh of Herminie, Pa., in 20 holes. Ploeger, 61, of Columbus, Ga., the 1999 champion, beat Cliff Cunningham of Monroe, N.C., 3-and-2.
E. Thomas Jung, 56, of Chicago, a semifinalist from 2000, outlasted John Lindholm of Grand Blanc, Mich., in 19 holes. And Kemp Richardson, 55, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., defeated Robert Kulp of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3-and-2.
Play continues Thursday with the semifinal and final rounds of the championship.
Brewer is hoping to become the second player to win three Senior Amateurs. But he feels fortunate to be playing at all after six weeks of radiation to treat a brain tumor that was found to be benign. His last treatment was just 10 days before this championship.
There was no question I was going to play, said Brewer, who is playing in his 39th USGA championship. I played golf through the radiation treatments, but I was fatigued. Im just fortunate that (the tumor) is benign. Its been treated, and Im told the prognosis is very good.
Brewer, a retired vice president of finance, will face Ploeger, an insurance executive, who won the first two holes and never trailed in his quarterfinal match.
I feel good and Im playing great, said Ploeger, who suffered a mild heart attack shortly before last years championship, where he lost in the first round of match play. Ive made a lot of 5-foot putts this week. The greens here are perfect, so if you miss a putt, you know its your own fault.
Richardson, a stockbroker, is trying to follow in his fathers footsteps. His father, John, won the 1987 Senior Amateur. Kemp, however, has his own credentials. He was low amateur at the 1999 and 2000 U.S. Senior Opens and missed the cut at this years Senior Open by just one stroke.
I still play with the kids at tournaments, and I can hit it right with them, said Richardson, who has not been extended to the 18th hole in any of his four matches here. I dont feel that old, but I guess I am.
Jung, a 56-year-old retired stockbroker, lost his semifinal match in extra holes last year. Wednesday, he won with a par-4 on the first extra hole.
The USGA Senior Amateur, for golfers age 55-and-older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Quarterfinal Results
O. Gordon Brewer, Pine Valley, N.J. (156) def. Bill Baloh, Herminie, Pa. (152), 20 holes.
Bill Ploeger, Columbus, Ga. (147) def. Cliff Cunningham, Monroe, N.C. (152), 3-and-2.
E. Thomas Jung, Chicago, Ill. (156) def. John Lindholm, Grand Blanc, Mich. (151), 19 holes.
Kemp Richardson (145), Laguna Niguel, Calif. def. Robert Kulp, Winston-Salem, N.C. (147), 3-and-2.
Semifinal Pairings
8:00 a.m. ' O. Gordon Brewer, Pine Valley, N.J. (156) vs. Bill Ploeger, Columbus, Ga. (147).
8:15 a.m. ' E. Thomas Jung, Chicago, Ill. (156) vs. Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (145)
Championship final is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.