Picture Butte, Alta., CANADA (July 8, 2006) -– American’s Kemp Richardson of Laguna Niguel, CA. and John French of Bloomfield Hills, MI. will meet in a final round showdown after winning their semi-final matches on Saturday at the Canadian Senior Match Play Championship conducted by the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA).
French pulled off two big upsets today by first ousting the third seeded Merv Dusyk of Red Deer, Alta., in his morning quarter-final match and then bested Norman Swenson of Linville, N.C. in the semi-finals. French finished off the No. 2 seed 1-UP after Swenson hit an errant drive and couldn’t recover to concede the final hole.
So far in match-play French, the No. 22 seed, has earned upset victories over the 11th, sixth, third and now second ranked seeds to qualify for the match-play final.
“I don’t really put much into seeds,” said French. “I certainly don’t feel like an under-dog. We’re all capable of winning this title, you just have to get into match-play and make it count.”
In the other semi-final match, Richardson needed 22 holes to edge Bob Lutz of Jerome, ID., USA. Both Richardson and Lutz battled back and forth the entire match with neither going more the 1UP on the other. On the 22nd hole Richardson made a birdie with Lutz making par.
“Bob is one heck of a player and it was a real battle between the two of us today,” said Richardson. “I’m very fortunate to be here, it’s what you come here to play for and now I am.”
Top seed American Steve Earsley of Stuart FL., ended his run in the quarter-finals this morning losing to Richardson. Earsley, who had owned the Picture Butte course this week being 10-under and five strokes ahead of any other competitor during the stroke play qualifying round, lost a key 17th hole which contributed to his defeat. With both Richardson and Earsley sitting just below the hole from eight feet out, Earsley missed the putt right while, Richardson holed out to go 1-UP leading to a final 2-UP score.
The final three Canadians all failed to advance into the semi-finals with No. 3 seed Dusyk, No 4 seed James Scissons of Saskatoon, Sask., and No. 7 seed Howard Broun of Calgary all losing their quarter-final matches. The last time a Canadian played in the final match was in 2001, when Scissons faced off against Todd Lusk of Baton Rouge, L.A. losing on the 19th hole.
Only two Canadians have ever captured the Canadian Senior Match-Play Championship with Robert Fugère of Hull, Que., and George Strokes of Victoria, B.C., earning the title in 1999 and 1997 respectively.
Richardson and French will battle tomorrow for a coveted exemption into the 2006 USGA Senior Men’s Championship contested September 16-21 at Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh Indiana. As part of the RCGA’s Pathway to Champions they will also receive exemptions into the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship and the Canadian Men’s Senior Championship held later this summer.
The final match will get under way at 8:30am (MDT) on Sunday morning.
The following is the final-round match up for Sunday, July 9, 2006
8:30 AM (8) Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, CA. vs. (22) John French, Bloomfield Hills, MI
The following are results for semi-final matches for Saturday, July 8, 2006.
(8) Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, CA def. (5) Bob Lutz, Jerome, ID - 22nd
(22) John French, Bloomfield Hills, MI def. (2) Norman Swenson, Linville, NC – 1UP
The following are results for quarter-final matches for Saturday, July 8, 2006.
(8) Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, CA def. (1) Steve Earsley, Stuart, FL – 2UP
(5) Bob Lutz, Jerome, ID def. (4) James Scissons, Saskatoon, SK – 1UP
(2) Norman Swenson, Linville, NC def. (7) Howard Broun, Calgary, AB - 19th
(22) John French, Bloomfield Hills, MI def. (3) Merv Dusyk, Red Deer, AB – 20th
- Stroke-play ranking in parenthesis
Conducted by the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA), the Senior Match-Play Championship consists of both stroke and match-play. The stroke-play portion of the event was played over 54 holes. After 54 holes the field was to 32 players qualifying for the match-play portion of the championship. A competitor’s qualifying score determined his position in the match-play draw. The first two rounds of 18-hole matches took place on Friday, July 7th with the quarterfinal and semi-final matches on Saturday, July 8th. The championship final will be on Sunday, July 9th. The competition was open to male amateur golfers who have reached the age of 55 by July 4th, 2006.
A full listing of players, match-play pairings, seedings and start times for the 2006 Canadian Senior Match-Play Championship can be found online at www.rcga.org.
ABOUT THE ROYAL CANADIAN GOLF ASSOCIATION
The Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA) is the governing body of golf in Canada, representing close to 400,000 members at over 1550 clubs across the country. Some of the RCGA’s core services include the Rules of Golf, handicapping and course rating, support of turfgrass and environmental research, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum and CN Future Links, Canada’s national junior golf program. In addition, the RCGA conducts Canada’s most prestigious golf championships. The Canadian Open and CN Canadian Women’s Open attract the best professional golfers in the world, while six regional junior championships, 10 national amateur championships and the CN Canadian Women’s Tour showcase the best of Canadian golf. For more information please visit www.rcga.org.