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McCoy and Jenkins tied at British Senior Amateur
Photo courtesy of Royal & Ancient
Photo courtesy of Royal & Ancient

Mike McCoy will thank the luck of the draw if he goes on to win his first R&A Senior Amateur Championship.

Along with superb golf, the 2023 US Walker Cup captain has benefitted from fortuitous tee times to reach the top of the leaderboard.

The 59-year-old is tied for the lead on four-under-par 136 with Scotland’s Robert Jenkins. They hold a two-shot lead over England’s Warren Bladon.

McCoy, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, played the first round on the Championship Course late in the afternoon, and returned a bogey-free four-under-par 66 in calm conditions to take the sole first-round lead. His 7.22am tee time on the Struie layout in round two meant he finished before strong winds over the Dornoch links forced a two-hour suspension of play.

McCoy was back in his hotel room after a level-par 70 while many in the field were just trying to get balls to sit still on greens. Officials were forced to suspend play when that became impossible due to gusts of wind in excess of 35 mph. Play was officially suspended at 2:27pm and didn’t resume until 4:30pm.

Very satisfied

Needless to say, if you’d told the 2013 US Mid-Amateur champion before he traveled to Dornoch that he’d be sitting on four-under 136 after 36 holes and leading the championship, he’d have taken that in a heartbeat. Especially after playing both rounds with unfamiliar clubs when his regular set failed to arrive at Inverness Airport.

“I’d have been satisfied if you said to me beforehand that I’d be four-under after two rounds here,” McCoy admitted. “Very satisfied.”

A different challenge

McCoy wasn’t as sharp over the Struie course in round two as he was over the Championship layout in the opening round. Twice he got to five-under but returned to where he started with a round that featured three bogeys and three birdies.

“I didn’t play quite as well today,” McCoy admitted. “The Struie course is a wee bit more confining than the Championship course. I played two practice rounds and I’m glad I did because it’s a different challenge. The greens are smaller and a bit more severe.

“I hit a lot of good shots today, but I left a few out there. There wasn’t much wind to begin with, it got strong in the middle of the round and then calm again. It’s picking up now and I’m glad I’m finished for the day.”

Strong showing for the Americans
Six other Americans join McCoy in the top-10, including Rusty Strawn (4th), U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up Jerry Gunthorpe (t-5), Doug Clapp (t-8th), Roger Newsom (t-10), Steve Harwell (t-10) and Lee Porter (t-10).

Eagle takes Jenkins into contention

Royal Troon member Jenkins was one of many forced off the course by the strong winds. He’d just eagled the 527-yard, par-5, 13th hole when play was suspended.

“The wind was so strong that I hit a drive and a 9-iron to eight feet, which is outrageous on a par-5,” said the 55-year-old who is making his championship debut.

“I needed it too because I’d just bogeyed the 11th and 12th because of the wind. That eagle got me back on track.

“I had chances over the last four holes after we went back out, but I’m happy with my two rounds. It’s the best I’ve hit the ball this year. I hit a lot of fairways, which obviously helps around these courses.”

1996 Amateur Champion in contention

Bladon also benefitted from a favorable draw. He was in the first group off on the Championship Course in round two with a 7:11am tee time. He offset four bogeys with seven birdies, including a back nine of four-under 31.

The 56-year-old is bidding to become the first player to win the Senior Amateur and the Amateur Championship, which he won in 1996.

Results: British Senior Amateur
1IAMike McCoyW. Des Moines, IA150066-70-69-78=283
2NCLee PorterGreensboro, NC100069-73-78-70=290
T4EnglandSteve SansomeEngland70072-74-72-74=292
T4EnglandWarren BladonEngland70071-67-79-75=292
3FLMiles McConnellTampa, FL70071-72-74-74=291

View full results for British Senior Amateur

ABOUT THE British Senior Amateur

The British Senior Amateur, called the "Seniors Amateur Championship" in the United Kingdom, was launched by The R&A in 1969 to help select a Great Britain & Ireland side to play in the World Senior Amateur Team Championship. Though the British Senior Amateur, played for the first time at Formby, was an instant success, the team event did not survive beyond 1969. Charlie Green has been the most successful player in the history of the event, winning six times in seven years beginning in 1988. Like the U.S. Senior Amateur, players must be over the age of 55 to play. Notable courses played over the years include Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Royal Aberdeen, and Walton Heath.

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