ST. LOUIS, MO (September 21, 2016) -- Boy was it a tight afternoon at the U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Warson Country Club. Both semifinal matches went the distance and in the case of one a little more.
29-seed Dave Ryan was the first man through to the finals after a 1 up win over top-seed Tim Jackson. Ryan, a three-time Illinois Senior Amateur winner, jumped on top of Jackson early with wins on each of the first two holes and never let Jackson get back to even.
“I don't know what to say. I'm at a loss for words,” said Ryan, who lives 90 minutes from Old Warson. “To be honest with you, I'm a little shocked. I was fortunate to beat him (Jackson) and Paul Simson. Those are two tough guys to take down.”
Jackson, a two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur winner, got within 1 down via a win on the 15th hole but Ryan was able to hold on down the stretch thanks to a series of halves. Ryan closed the match out with a clutch uphill nine-footer.
“It was uphill and I just had to hit it,” Ryan said. “Fortunately, it went in. That's a tough hole.”
In the title match set to begin at 8:30 a.m. CDT Ryan will face No. 14 Matthew Sughrue who defeated 31-seed Kevin Cahill in 19 holes.
Throughout the entirety of the match neither player led by more then a 1 up tally.
Cahill captured the opening hole and held a slim lead until Sughure squared it on the 6th with a birdie. Two other times in the match Cahill grabbed a 1 up lead but each time Sughrue captured the ensuing hole to tie the match.
On the 14th Sughrue finally took his first lead, only to watch as Cahill claimed Nos. 15 and 16 to regain a 1 up lead.
Needing to win one of the last two holes to extend the match, Sughrue waited until the 18th to square the match and then won the tilt with a par on the first extra hole.
After winning the match Sughrue was informed that he had received an exemption into the 2017 U.S. Senior Open, "I'm glad you didn't tell me beforehand. I wouldn't have been able to take [the club] back on that last shot. I made one Senior Open (2013) and I had a tough week on the golf course and I think it was overwhelming for me. I never played in front of 40,000 people before. I vowed that if I ever got a chance again, I would be ready for that. I wanted to try to prove myself again at a Senior Open and now you're telling me I'm in. I'm just thrilled.”
All quarterfinalist are exempt to next years U.S. Senior Amateur and semifinalists are exempt into the next two.
By reaching the the finals Sughrue and Ryan are exempt for the next three championships, plus next years U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur. Furthermore, the winner is exempt to the U.S. Senior Amateur for the next ten years, the next two U.S. Amateur and Mid-Amateur's while also getting into the U.S. Senior Open and into sectional U.S. Open qualifying.
-The USGA contributed to this story