-- USGA Photo
CASHIERS, N.C. – Sun replaced rain at the 2013 USGA Senior Amateur Championship on Sunday and Wade Hampton Golf Club continued to show the characteristics that make it a formidable venue for this elite 55-and-over field.
Even though the second round of stroke-play qualifying won’t be completed until Monday – only 78 players finished 36 holes before darkness halted play for the day at 7:29 p.m. EDT – two players are in the clubhouse in good position for medalist honors.
Daniel Arvanitis, 60, of Manchester, N.H., fired a 1-under-par 71 and David Szewczul, 59, of Farmington, Conn, carded a second consecutive 73 on the 6,821-yard, par-72 layout to hold the overnight lead at 2-over 146.
They were two strokes ahead of Peach Reynolds, 59, of Austin, Texas. Reynolds carded an even-par 72 in his second round on Sunday.
First-round leader Chip Lutz, of Reading, Pa., who shot a 69 in the driving rain on Saturday, was still on the course when darkness suspended play. Also on the course was defending champion Paul Simson, 62, of Raleigh, N.C. Simson shot a first-round 73.
The second round is scheduled to resume at 7:50 a.m. on Monday, followed by the cut to the low 64 scorers for match play, which will commence later on Monday.
Only half the field completed their first rounds on Saturday when USGA officials halted play at 2:38 p.m. due to unplayable conditions.
“I got off to a good start,” said Arvanitis. “I was four under after six holes. It was really going well. Then I missed a couple of short ones.
“On the front side I made a birdie on No. 1, and I was thinking, ‘Geez, this is looking good.’ Then I gave a couple back. I made a 3-footer on the last hole. I was grinding so hard because I wanted to shoot under [par].”
With the match-play cut pushed back to later on Monday, Arvanitis and Szewczul can sleep a little easier on Sunday. Just don’t tell Szewczul that.
“It’s a step-by-step process in these things,” said Szewczul. “To get here is one thing, to make match play is another thing. You just don’t get too far ahead of yourself.”
Szewczul knows all about the fickleness of match play. In 2010, he lost, 1 down, to eventual runner-up Pat Tallent and last year he fell in the first round to George Zahringer, 1 down. But Szewczul, who is competing in his 24th USGA championship, has been playing well of late. He was the oldest qualifier at last month’s U.S. Amateur and even though he failed to make match play, just competing against the young kids gave him confidence coming into the Senior Amateur.
In Sunday’s second round, he was two under through 14 holes until back-to-back bogeys dropped him out of red figures.
“I had good rhythm going,” said Szewczul, adding that he missed eight birdie putts of 8 feet or less. “I drove it very well, which you have to do here. That took a lot of the pressure off and then you just have to put the ball in the right spot on the greens. I was able to do that today. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens.”
The weather-suspended first round resumed at 7:50 a.m. on the first official day of fall under chilly, but otherwise ideal conditions. Temperatures hovered in the 50s as the players got into position for the restart. As the day wore on, the mercury started to rise, but the scores didn’t fall.
“It was a little tough getting up this morning,” said Pat O’Donnell, 59, of Happy Valley, Ore., a quarterfinalist at the 2012 Senior Amateur, who backed a first-round 72 with an 80 for an 8-over 152 total. “Once we made the turn, it kind of heated up and some of the dew got off the ground. It was wet [at the outset].”
All of the players who finished their second rounds on Sunday endured a long day of golf. They were on the course when play was suspended yesterday afternoon and had to return this morning to complete their first rounds, before going right back out for their second rounds. Some played as many as 34 holes today.
“On one hand, you had to play 34 [holes], but at least you played in drier conditions than yesterday,” said Szewczul. “It’s a lot of holes, [but] if you have the right pace going, it’s fine. Yesterday was just nasty.”