Orlando, Fla. – Stroke-play medalist Patrick Tallent, Chip Lutz, Paul Simson and Jeff Burda all punched their tickets into Wednesday afternoon’s semifinal round at the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, being conducted at the 6,691-yard, par-72 Lake Nona Golf & Country Club.
Tallent, 57, of Vienna, Va., defeated Frank Ford, III, 58, of Charleston, S.C., 2 and 1, while Lutz, 55, of Reading, Pa., eliminated Don Thames, 55, of Rancho Murieta, Calif., 5 and 4. Simson, 59, of Raleigh, N.C., knocked off Tim Miller, 63, of Kokomo, Ind., 3 and 2, and Burda defeated Greg Reynolds, 63, of Grand Blanc, Mich., also by the same 3-and-2 margin.
One semifinal will pit Tallent against Lutz. That match is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. EDT. Simson and Burda will follow at 2:15 p.m. This is the farthest all four players have advanced at the Senior Amateur.
Tallent, who lost in the first round at the 2009 Senior Amateur, capitalized on Ford’s bogey on the par-4 third hole to take an early 1-up lead and never trailed in the match. In fact, it was the first time in four matches that he didn’t have to play the 18th hole.
Tallent certainly was relieved to have regained his confidence from his stroke-play performance.
“I was much more comfortable today,” said Tallent, the 2009 co-medalist with Simson. “I just started hitting fairways and hitting greens like I did the first day and made a couple putts.”
Lutz, who turned 55 this past January, came to Lake Nona off a strong 2010 competitive season, winning the North & South Senior Amateur and the Sunnehanna Senior Amateur, and finishing second to Simson at the British Seniors Amateur. He attributed much of his Senior Amateur success to those summer competitions.
“I think those kinds of pressures this year have been helpful for me,” said Lutz, “because there’s nothing like being in that mix and being subjected to it enough that hopefully you get as comfortable as you can with it.“
Simson bogeyed the par-4 first hole to drop into an early 1-down deficit to Miller. It was Simson’s first deficit in 45 holes of match play. He quickly rallied, however, squaring the match at the third hole and eventually prevailing when Miller bogeyed 15 and 16.
“Number 16 is an easy hole to bogey at 461 yards,” said Simson, winner of the 2010 British Seniors Amateur. “He was kind to me there [and] made another bogey, but other than that it was ‘mano-a-mano.’ Punch, counterpunch. I’m just pleased and fortunate to be on top.”
Burda fell into an early 3-down deficit after three holes to Reynolds, the 2002 Senior Amateur champion. He was able to scrap his way back into the match and pull all square when Reynolds bogeyed the par-4 12th hole. Burda then took advantage of Reynolds’ bogeys on the ensuing two holes to build a 2-up lead. Two holes later, he was heading into the clubhouse with a comfortable victory.
“I just needed a little bit of help from him and I got it,” said a relieved Burda. “It’s just turned out [well]. I played solid on the back nine.”
Following the two semifinal matches on Wednesday, the 18-hole final will be played Thursday morning at 9 a.m. EDT.
The USGA Senior Amateur, open to golfers 55 and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Christina Lance is the USGA’s coordinator of championship communications. Contact her with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.