Medalist Randal Lewis during his first match (USGA)
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. — It was a close call for the top seed on Monday at Hidden Creek Golf Club as medalist Randal Lewis needed two extra holes with Lee Sandlin to advance, while second-seed Doug Lacrosse lost on the 19th hole to Patrick Murphy after being 2-up with two to play.
Lewis, the top-seed in stroke play qualifying by two strokes, was two-up on Sandlin through eight, but lost three of the next five holes to go 1-down with five to play. Lewis immediately squared the match with a par on 14, and the pair halved the next five holes before Lewis won the second extra hole with a par.
“I was getting tired at the end, thinking if this goes any more holes, I’m going to be worn out completely,” Lewis told the USGA. “It was a good match.”
Lewis, the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur winner from Alma, Mich., will face Jack Kearney of Peachtree City, Ga. in Tuesday morning's round of 32.
Meanwhile Lacrosse, of Tampa, Fla., saw his dormie-2 lead slip away as Murphy, of Provo, Utah, parred the 17th and 18th to beat Lacrosse's bogey and double-bogey. Then Murphy hammered the nail in with a birdie on the first extra hole, sending Lacrosse home in disappointment.
Another match needing extra holes was the duel between defending champion Pat Tallent and Kevin Cahill of Waukesha, Wisconsin. With a par victory on the 19th hole, Cahill prevented Tallent from repeating at the U.S. Senior Amateur, advancing to the second round to face Brian Rothaus of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania.
Last year's runner-up, Bryan Norton of Mission Hills, Kan., won his opening-round match against Doug Stiles of Athens, Ga. by a count of 2-and-1. Norton was 4-up through 10 as Stiles crawled his way back to within two with two to play before being closed out on the 17th.
Other notable advancing players include 2015 North & South Senior winner Paul Simson, who is also a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur winner (2010, 2012). Simson had a tough match-up in round one, having to face 2013 champion Doug Hanzel, though Simson secured an easy 5-and-4 victory.
Simson commented on playing Hanzel, who he considers a good friend.
“I don’t like playing my buddies, because we all know how difficult it is to win,” Simson told the USGA. “I played pretty well and finally made a few putts. In something like this, I look for improvement every day, and as long as I’m improving, I think I’m pretty tough to beat.”
The current No. 1 ranked senior amateur according to the AmateurGolf.com Senior Rankings, Bob Kearney of Houston, Texas, defeated Ed Byman of Raleigh, N.C. 2-up to move into the second round where he'll square off with Steven Liebler of Irmo, S.C.
More to come from the USGA later this evening.
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 14 national
championships conducted annually by the
USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
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