Top amateur golf moments of 2018, No. 19: Open qualifiers
The Old Course at St. Andrews (Photo illustration)
The Old Course at St. Andrews (Photo illustration)

At AmateurGolf.com, we admit to loving the amateur sector of this game for the stories, the depth of the players, the remarkable courses, the history of the tournaments and the sheer love of the game displayed by amateur golfers. As 2018 comes to a close, we’ve gathered the year’s best stories for a countdown to the end of the season. Be sure to come back each day to relive the moments that made amateur golf great this year.

Click here to see the whole list as it is revealed

Four names stood out at the Senior Open Championship at the Old Course at St. Andrews in July. They belonged to four standout senior amateurs from the U.S. Interestingly, the story of their qualifying for the event – on the day after the Open Championship concluded at Carnoustie – was one of AmateurGolf.com’s most-read stories of the year.

Gene Elliott, the recent Golfweek Senior Tournament of Champions winner who is also currently the top player in the AmateurGolf.com Senior Rankings, was among those who earned himself a spot in the big event. With his wife on the bag, Elliott, fired a 1-over 73 at Fairmont St. Andrews in the morning wave of players, then had to wait and watch as the rest of the field came in. Elliott fell into a seven-man playoff for the final four spots and advanced. He was one of two amateurs to make it out of his qualifier, joining Swede Mats Dornell, who was also part of the playoff.

Though they traveled together, Elliott and fellow American amateur Mike McCoy did not play the same qualifier. McCoy, another senior legend and former U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who won the Trans-Miss Senior earlier this year, teed it up at Lundin Links and made it through with a 2-under 69. He had two birdies on the day – one of which came at the 17th – and 16 pars.

The final U.S. amateur to qualify, Ryan Howison, also advanced through a playoff. Playing at Ladybank Golf Club, Howison, a 51-year-old reinstated amateur, made it through a five-for-four playoff after posting a 1-under 70.

(As for the final American, Chip Lutz, he earned his way into the field through an exemption for being the low amateur to finish 72 holes at the 2017 Senior Open.)

For all the heroics it took three of the four to get in the field, there were no real amateur headlines once the championship began – but for the one that none of the eight total amateurs in the field made the 36-hole cut. Elliott was closest, finishing as part of a nine-way tie for 73rd at 2 over – one outside the cutline.

Here’s betting the whole experience stands out just as much on Elliott & Co.’s 2018 look back as it does on ours.

ABOUT THE Senior British Open Qualifying

18-hole stroke play qualifier held at three sites on the Monday before the Senior British Open Championship. The Senior British Open has been part of the European Seniors Tour since 1987 and from 2003 is included in the Champions Tour as one of the five major world events in senior golf.

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