BIRMINGHAM, AL (October 6, 2005) -– Retired insurance executive Mike Rice of Houston has been selected as the Southern Golf Association’s National Amateur of the Month for September. Rice, 65, became the oldest winner of the USGA Senior Amateur Championship in 18 years.
Rolling through a bracket of players up to 10 years younger at The Farm Golf Club in Georgia, the former SMU football player defeated reigning champ Mark Bemowski of Wisconsin, 1 up, in the title match. Rice overcame a 2-down deficit into the final nine holes, which he shot in 2-under-par. He scored the victory nursing a painful shoulder injury he incurred two days earlier in the tournament while playing a ball off of hard pan.
Rice beat out University of Georgia freshman Brian Harman for the award. Harman was co-medalist at the Ping/Golfweek Fall Preview in Oregon.
The monthly SGA award is selected from among amateur performances throughout the U.S. in all age groups by a national blue-ribbon panel of golf officials, coaches and journalists. Previous 2005 winners were Ryan Blaum, Aaron Price, Rhys Davies, Michael Sim, Webb Simpson and the US Walker Cup team.
The 103-year-old Southern Golf Association promotes amateur golf in a variety of ways, including the staging of the prestigious Southern Amateur Championship, the milestone 100th edition of which will be played next July at the Country Club of Birmingham. The tournament is ticketed for its second year on Fox Sports Net South and annually rewards its champ with a berth in the PGA Tour Bay Hill Invitational.