57 players began the day competing at Bear Creek Country Club for two spots into the U.S. Senior Open Championship to be played at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, July 28-31.
Tom Sovay of Mukilteo, Wash. tied for medalist honors today after firing a round of even par 72 on the very difficult and challenging layout. Sovay is a very accomplished professional player and teacher who is based out of The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge. The 7-time Western Washington PGA Teacher of the Year and 4-time NWPGA Major winner is only 49 years old today but will turn 50 in time for next month’s championship. Sovay started his day with a bogey on the par-4 1st hole and made three other on Nos. 3, 6, and 9 but offset them with four birdies on holes Nos. 2, 8, 10, and 12.
Jim McNelis of Gig Harbor, Wash. will also be making his U.S. Senior Open debut after being first alternate at last years’ championship at Sahalee Country Club. McNelis opened with a 2-over 38 on the front nine and then bogeyed the short par-4 10th hole to go 3-over on his round but then found his stride and played the last six holes at 3-under par with birdies on Nos. 14, 15, and 18 to finish at even par 72 and punch his ticket to Toledo.
Bob Burton of Everett, Wash. will be first alternate after his round of 1-over par 73, while Jim Empey of Boise, Idaho claimed the second alternate position over Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. in a one hole playoff.
Sovay and McNelis will round out the field of 156 of the world’s best professional and amateur senior (over the age of 50) golfers who will compete in the U.S. Senior Open at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio., July 28 – 31.
There were 35 qualifying sites across the U.S. where anyone who is 50 or older and has a USGA Handicap Index of 3.4 or lower (or be a professional) can earn one of 72 non-exempt spots in the 156-player field.