Bellingham, MA — A field of New England’s top senior amateurs traveled to New England Country Club on Wednesday to take part in a 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur Sectional Qualifier.
At stake were four qualifying spots that would earn competitors the right to compete at the Championship Proper set for September 17-22 at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri.
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When the final scorecards were signed, four competitors representing four different states were celebrating.
Leading the charge with a medalist score of even par 71 was Paul Quigley (Warren, R.I.), who is regarded as the winningest golfer in Rhode Island Golf Association history.
On Wednesday, Quigley – whose older brother Dana Quigley is a longtime member of the Champions Tour – got off to a fast start and was 2-under par through nine holes after making birdie on the 165-yard, par 3 4th and 521-yard, par 5 5th holes.
On the very challenging back nine at New England CC where the 60-player field made just 29 combined birdies, Quigley held strong and made two bogeys en route to his even-par finish.
Just two strokes back of Quigley were Bob Kearney (Houston, Texas), a decorated senior amateur from the Lone Star State, and local product Brian Secia (Nantucket, Mass.). Both of those competitors finished T2 with scores of 2-over par 73.
Kearney made the longest trek – from Houston to Bellingham – for todays’ qualifier. He took full advantage of the opportunity. He was even par through 16 holes before making a double bogey on the 17th hole. He managed par on the final hole to secure his T2 finish. Kearney is currently the No. 1 ranked senior player by GolfWeek.
Secia, who plays out of Miacomet Golf Club, is making a second straight appearance at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. He was 2-under par through his first eight holes.
Although he carded two double bogeys and two bogeys as the day wore on, his two additional birdies on the back nine – on the 11th and 13th holes – secured him the 2-over par 73 score and a repeat appearance at a USGA Championship.
Rounding out the field of four qualifiers is another notable senior amateur in Craig Steckowych (Greenland, N.H.), who has competed in more than 10 USGA Championships over his career. A multiple winner of New Hampshire Golf Association titles, Steckowych survived a one-for-five playoff to secure the fourth and final qualifying spot.
Kevin Carey (South Dennis, Mass.) and Bob Hamilton (Foxboro, Mass.) finished as first and second alternates, respectively.
The U.S. Senior Amateur Championship is open to any amateur who has reached the age of 55 as of Sept. 17, and whose Handicap Index does not exceed 7.4. WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?