NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (Sept. 14, 2014) — A week after being forced to withdraw from the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship with gastroenteritis, Alan Fadel, 59, of Toledo, Ohio, shot a 5-under-par 67 on Sunday for a 36-hole total of 7-under 137 to earn medalist honors in the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, being conducted at the par-72, 6,770-yard Big Canyon Country Club.
Fadel, who required IV fluids and a trip to the hospital last week, almost didn’t make the trip to Newport Beach.
“My wife was apprehensive about coming out here,” said Fadel. “I had another attack on Tuesday. It only lasted an hour-and-a-half and that’s when we knew it was a viral thing. I watched what I ate. Today is the first time I have had lunch before I played.”
Hesitation about his health aside, Fadel is glad he made the trip.
Fadel who carded 14 birdies and seven bogeys in 36 holes of stroke play, has plenty of experience and familiarity with the field in the Round of 64.
“I have played against a lot of these guys quite often and I have a lot of respect for a lot of them,” said Fadel. “There are some guys like Vinny (Giles, a two-time USGA champion) who are in their 70s and you just don’t know. I am just happy to be here.”
The cut came at 5-over 149, with a 15-for-13 playoff to determine the final match-play berths. The playoff will start at 7:15 a.m. PDT on Monday.
The U.S. Senior Amateur consists of 36 holes of stroke play, after which the field will be reduced to the low 64 scorers for match play. Six match-play rounds will determine the champion, with the 18-hole final set for Thursday at 8:30 a.m. PDT.
Earning medalist honors has already made the week a success for Fadel, who works as a financial advisor.
“It is a dream come true to do anything at a USGA event,” he said. “I have been playing in USGA events since I was a kid. This is very special to me.
“I want to continue to play the way I have been playing,” said Fadel. “This is a lot of fun. I do have confidence right now. When you have confidence, sometimes good things happen.”
Saturday’s first-round leader and two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, Tim Jackson, 55, of Germantown, Tenn., shot even-par 72 on Sunday to finish as runner-up, one stroke back. Jackson started the day on the inward nine and carded bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11 before rebounding for birdies on Nos. 1 and 2.
“You get through this piece of it and tournament starts tomorrow, said Jackson. “There are a lot of good players in the field and this golf course, you can birdie all of these holes and you can make bogeys on them. It’s going to be a good match-play course.”
Tom Brandes, 58, of Bellevue, Wash., and Chris Hall, 56, of Mableton, Ga., rebounded from 1-over-par 73s on Saturday to shoot 6-under 66s on Sunday to finish at 5-under 139.
Longtime friends Chip Lutz, 59, of Reading, Pa., and David Nelson, 58, of Reno, Nev., were paired together and served as mutual inspiration on their way to finishing tied with Scott Mayne, 55, of Harrisburg, Pa., at 4-under.
“It is always nice when you are playing with someone and you have a good comfort level,” said Nelson. “You are pulling for them and they are doing the same. You know it’s genuine.”
The U.S. Senior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Notables who failed to qualify for match play included 2008 champion George “Buddy” Marucci, past Walker Cup competitors Duke Delcher and Mike Peck, 2014 British Seniors champion Brady Exber, 2013 semifinalist Buzz Fly, and Senior Amateur runners-up Frank Abbott (2003), Philip Pleat (2011) and Curtis Skinner (2012).