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VIDEO: Players to Watch at the U.S. Senior Amateur
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (August 25, 2017) - The 156-player field for the 63rd U.S. Senior Amateur Championship is set, and players will tee it up at the Minikahda Club as stroke play begins on Saturday with the biggest title in senior amateur golf up for grabs.

Related: 63rd U.S. Senior Amateur: A Closer Look at the Field
Related: U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifying Roundup

Here is a look at some of the key players to watch:

Tom Brandes
Tom Brandes
Tom Brandes, 61, of Bellevue, Washington, was the runner-up in the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur. He has competed in the U.S. Senior Open five times, most recently in 2016, and has represented Washington in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship four times. Brandes has won numerous Washington State Golf Association and Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) titles, and was inducted into the PNGA Hall of Fame in 2015.

Keith Decker
Keith Decker
Keith Decker, 57, of Martinsville, Va., was the only player to compete in all 11 USGA Men’s State Team Championship, playing for Virginia each year. He advanced to the Round of 16 in the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur. At the state level, Decker, who was inducted into the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame earlier this year, has won a record 28 Virginia State Golf Association titles, and is a seven-time Virginia Player of the Year. He was a two-time All-America honoree for Elon University.

Gene Elliott
Gene Elliott
Gene Elliott, 55, of West Des Moines, Iowa, has competed in more than 20 USGA championships. He was a quarterfinalist in the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur, and was the stroke-play medalist in the 1999 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. A 2012 inductee into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, Elliott is a three-time Iowa Amateur champion and two-time Iowa Open champion. He won the Porter Cup, one of the nation’s most prestigious amateur events, in 1998.

Brady Exber
Brady Exber
Brady Exber, 61, of Las Vegas, Nev., won the 2014 British Seniors Amateur Championship, and is also a past champion of the Senior Azalea, Dixie Senior, Lupton Senior, Yeamans Hall Senior, Crane Cup and Stocker Cup. He has made match play four times in the U.S. Senior Amateur, reaching the Round of 16 in 2013. Exber finished the 2014 season as the #1 player in the AmateurGolf.com Senior Rankings. He is a member of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame.

Jack Hall
Jack Hall
Jack Hall, 60, of Savannah, Ga., is coming off a win in the Golfweek Senior Match Play Championship last week, giving him his second major senior title of the year. Hall won the Timuquana Cup by five shots in May. Hall's other senior wins in the last few years include the Jones Cup, Canadian, Crane Cup, Gasparilla, and Lowcountry senior championships. He has also had four runner-up finishes this season, most recently at the National Senior Hall of Fame. He has risen to #2 in the AmateurGolf.com Senior Rankings.

Doug Hanzel
Doug Hanzel
Doug Hanzel, 60, of Savannah, Ga., is the #1 player in the AmateurGolf.com Senior Rankings. The 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion has won 10 national senior tournaments in the last two seasons, including this year's National Senior Hall of Fame, the Hesler, Coleman Senior, Golfweek POY Classic and Florida Azalea Senior. A graduate of Kent State University, where he played on the golf team and now has a golf scholarship in his name, Hanzel works as a pulmonologist, and was named Golf Digest’s top doctor golfer in 2008. He has qualified for the U.S. Amateur in five different decades, spanning from 1978 to 2015. He was the low amateur in the U.S. Senior Open in 2012 and 2013. He is a diabetic and plays golf with an insulin pump.

Todd Hendley
Todd Hendley
Todd Hendley, 58, of Greer, SC has won two national senior championships this summer, first taking the Chanticleer National Senior and then beating eight-time North & South champion Paul Simson in a playoff at the North & South Senior. He also qualified for the 2017 U.S. Senior Open after qualifying previously in 2013. Hendley has won two South Carolina Mid-Amateurs (at the age of 53 and 56) and two South Carolina Senior Amateurs.

Tim Jackson
Tim Jackson
Tim Jackson, 58, of Germantown, Tenn., won the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 1994 and 2001. He represented the USA in the Walker Cup in 1995 and 1999, and was the low amateur in the U.S. Senior Open in 2009, 2010 and 2011. His most recent national senior win was in last year's Coleman Senior at Seminole. He is a nine-time Tennessee Player of the Year and has served as president of the Tennessee Golf Association. Jackson is a 2012 inductee into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

Sean Knapp
Sean Knapp
Sean Knapp, 55, of Oakmont, Pa., has competed in more than 40 USGA championships. He is a two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinalist and reached the quarterfinals in the 1998 U.S. Amateur. He reached the Round of 16 in the 1995 U.S. Amateur before losing, 2 and 1, to eventual champion Tiger Woods. He is a 14-time Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Player of the Year and won the Pennsylvania State Amateur Championship in 1997.

Chip Lutz
Chip Lutz
Chip Lutz, 62, of Reading, Pa., is the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion. He has won the British Seniors Amateur Championship three times and the Canadian Senior Amateur on two occasions. The attorney played golf at the University of Florida and is a seven-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Player of the Year. He was the low amateur in the 2016 U.S. Senior Open at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.

Highlights of Chip Lutz Winning the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur


Bryan Norton
Bryan Norton
Bryan Norton, 58, of Mission Hills, Kan., is a two-time runner-up in USGA championships, falling in the championship match in the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur and 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur. He has competed in four U.S. Opens and three U.S. Senior Opens, finishing tied for 19th in 2009. He also won back-to-back Coleman Senior championships in 2014-5. Norton, who works in insurance, competed in the Open Championship in 1990 at St. Andrews, finishing tied for 31st.

Dave Ryan
Dave Ryan
Dave Ryan, 63, of Taylorville, Ill., is the reigning U.S. Senior Amateur champion. He is a six-time Illinois State Senior Player of the Year, and has competed in the U.S. Senior Open four times (last making the cut in 2015). During his Round-of-16 U.S. Senior Amateur match in 2016 with two-time champion Paul Simson, he made a hole-in-one on a par 4, the only such instance of one in the history of the championship.

Interview with Dave Ryan One Week Before His U.S. Senior Win


Paul Simson
Paul Simson
Paul Simson, 66, of Raleigh, N.C., is the 2010 and 2012 U.S. Senior Amateur champion. He also won the Canadian Senior Amateur and British Seniors Amateur in 2010. The All-America honoree from the University of New Mexico competed in the 1998 U.S. Open and earned low-amateur honors in the 2001 U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club in Peabody, Mass. He has won numerous national senior championships (including six North & South Seniors to go along with his two North & South Amateurs) and Carolinas Golf Association events over the years.

Matthew Sughrue
Matthew Sughrue
Matthew Sughrue, 57, of Arlington, Va., was the runner-up in the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur to Dave Ryan. He has also qualified for the last two U.S. Mid-Amateur championships. The 2016 Maryland Senior Player of the Year made a career change after 25 years in the insurance business, going to graduate school to study psychotherapy. He now works as a family therapist and sports performance coach, working with golfers, among other types of athletes.

Dave Szewczul
Dave Szewczul
Dave Szewczul, 63, is a Connecticut Hall-of-Famer whose numerous state tournament wins include last year's Connecticut Senior and last week's Connecticut Public Links at the age of 63. He also qualified for the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship at the age of 61. Szewczul has made match play in five of the last seven U.S. Senior Amateur Championships, making the quarterfinals in 2013 and the final 16 in 2014.

Patrick Tallent
Patrick Tallent
Patrick Tallent, 64, of Vienna, Va., is the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, and finished runner-up to Paul Simson in 2010. A former standout basketball player at George Washington University, Tallent was selected by the Washington Bullets (now Wizards) in the sixth round of the of the 1976 NBA Draft, but did not appear in a game. Now the managing director for Tallent Capital & Consulting, Tallent also won the 2015 British Seniors Amateur.

Frank Vana Jr.
Frank Vana Jr.
Frank Vana Jr., 55, of Boxford, Mass., has played in more than 30 USGA championships in his career. He is a two-time Massachusetts Amateur champion and nine-time Massachusetts Mid-Amateur champion. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame in 2016 and was named the Massachusetts Golf Association’s Player of the Decade in both the 1990s and 2000s. He is the youngest player in the championship this year, having turned 55 on August 21

George Zahringer
George Zahringer
George Zahringer, 64, of Saginaw, Mich., is the 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, the year after he finished as the runner-up in the championship, and also was runner-up in the 2008 U.S. Senior Amateur. The 10-time Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year played on the 2003 USA Walker Cup Team, and won the 2013 British Seniors Amateur Championship. Zahringer was the oldest player to qualify for the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship at Riviera.

- The United States Golf Association contributed to this report
ABOUT THE U.S. Senior Amateur

The USGA Senior Amateur is open to those with a USGA Handicap Index of 7.4 or lower, who are 55 or older on or before the day the championship begins. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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