68th U.S. Senior Amateur: Inside the Field

By David Shefter, USGA

| Aug 23, 2023 | Truckee, Calif.

68th U.S. Senior Amateur: Inside the Field

WHO’S HERE – Among the 156 golfers in the 2023 U.S. Senior Amateur field, there are:

Oldest Competitors: Pete McDade (76, born 5-10-1947), Paul Simson (72, 5-10-51), Alan Mew (70, 12-17-52), Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (70, 2-20-53)

Youngest Competitors: Mike Henry (55, 7-2-68), Keith Salamon (55, 4-30-68), Carlos Aranda (55, 4-15-68), Pete Betzhold (4-8-68), Craig Buckley (3-29-68)

Average Age of Field: 60.3

Field breakdown by age:

Age 55-59: 75
Age 60-64: 59
Age 65-69: 18
Age 70-72: 4

U.S. States Represented – There are 37 states represented in the 2023 U.S. Senior Amateur: California (18), Florida (17), Georgia (8), North Carolina (8), Pennsylvania (7), Texas (7), Massachusetts (6), Ohio (6), New York (5), Illinois (5), Colorado (4), Iowa (4), Michigan (4), Missouri (4), Washington (4), Alabama (3), Oregon (3), South Carolina (3), Virginia (3), Arizona (2), Kentucky (2), Maryland (2), New Jersey (2), Alaska (1), Connecticut (1), Hawaii (1), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (1), Nebraska (1), Nevada (1), New Mexico (1), Oklahoma (1), Utah (1), Wisconsin (1), Wyoming (1).

International – There are eight countries represented in the 2023 U.S. Senior Amateur: United States (142), England (5), Canada (4), Costa Rica (1), Republic of Ireland (1), New Zealand (1), Paraguay (1) and Scotland (1).

USGA Champions (14): Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (1986 U.S. Amateur), Nathaniel Crosby (1981 U.S. Amateur), Gene Elliott (2021 U.S. Senior Amateur), Doug Hanzel (2013 U.S. Senior Amateur), Tim Hogarth (1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links), Sean Knapp (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur), Jack Larkin Sr. (1979 U.S. Junior Amateur), Chip Lutz (2015 U.S. Senior Amateur), Bob Royak (2019 U.S. Senior Amateur), Dave Ryan (2016 U.S. Senior Amateur), Paul Simson (2010, 2012 U.S. Senior Amateur), Rusty Strawn (2022 U.S. Senior Amateur), Todd White (2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball) and Jeff Wilson (2018 U.S. Senior Amateur)

USGA Runners-up (12): Tom Brandes (2015 U.S. Senior Amateur), Sherill Britt (2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball), Jerry Gunthorpe (2021 U.S. Senior Amateur), Doug Hanzel (2022 U.S. Senior Amateur), Tim Hogarth (2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur), Sean Knapp (2018 U.S. Senior Amateur), Roger Newsom (2019 U.S. Senior Amateur), Bryan Norton (2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur, 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur), Pat O’Donnell (2013 U.S. Senior Amateur), Paul Simson (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur), Rick Stimmel (1997 U.S. Mid-Amateur) and Matthew Sughrue (2016 U.S. Senior Amateur)

Walker Cup USA Team Members (3): Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (1987), Nathaniel Crosby (1983), Todd White (2013)

Walker Cup GB&I Team Members (1): Jody Fanagan (1995)

Walker Cup USA Captains (1): Nathaniel Crosby (2019, 2021)

Most U.S. Senior Amateur Appearances (2023 included): Paul Simson (16), Chip Lutz (13), Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (12), Doug Hanzel (11) and Dave Ryan (11)

Players from California (18): Scott Anderson (Bakersfield), Craig Buckley (Temecula), Greg Cesario (San Marcos), Craig Davis (Chula Vista), Don Dubois (Newport Beach), Jeffrey Gipner (Oceanside), Randy Haag (Orinda), Tim Hogarth (Northridge), Dennis Martin (Los Angeles), Mark Morgan (Shingle Springs), Mark Sanchez (Kentfield), Greg Sato (South Pasadena), Mark Sear (Los Angeles), James Sewell (Cameron Park), Michael Smith (Laguna Niguel), Craig Steinberg (Agoura Hills), Jeff Wilson (Fairfield), Jeff Wright (Benicia)

Played in 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur (47): Stewart “Buddy” Alexander, Buddy Allen, Tom Brandes, Jon Brown, Dave Bunker, Greg Cesario, Craig Davis, Jim Doing, Gene Elliott, Jeff Frazier, Wayne Fredrick, Luc Guilbault, Jerry Gunthorpe, Randy Haag, Doug Hanzel, Steve Harwell, Roger Hoit, Curtis Holck, John Hornbeck, John Husband, Stephen Jensen, Tom Jereb, Rupert Kellock, Sean Knapp, Tom Lape, Jack Larkin Sr., David Levan, Chip Lutz, Miles McConnell, Jeff Mallette, Victor Minovich, Mark Morgan, Roger Newsom, Joe Palmer, Michael Peterson, Lee Porter, Bob Royak, Dave Ryan, Greg Sato, Paul Simson, Craig Steinberg, Chris Storck, Rusty Strawn, Matt Sughrue, James Volpenhein, Jeff Wilson, Michael Zoerhoff

Played in 2023 U.S. Senior Open (6): Mike Finster, Doug Hanzel, Tom Lape, Miles McConnell, Rusty Strawn, Brad Wayment

Played in 2023 U.S. Amateur (2): Gene Elliott, Rusty Strawn

Played in 2023 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (2): Jack Larkin Sr., Todd White


Louis Brown, 60, of Marietta, Ga., is a former golf professional who was the 1989 rookie of the year on the Australian Tour and a past money leader on the Canadian Tour. He also played briefly on the Korn Fery and PGA tours before becoming a financial advisor and regaining his amateur status. He played his collegiate golf at the University of Georgia.

Nathaniel Crosby, 61, of Jupiter, Fla., is competing in his second USGA championship in 27 years. Crosby captained the last two USA Walker Cup teams to victories at Royal Liverpool in 2019 and Seminole in 2021. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., and a year later was the low amateur in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Crosby was a member of victorious USA teams in both the 1983 Walker Cup Match and the 1982 World Amateur Team Championship. He currently serves as chairman of a network of small travel societies that are tied to rank-worthy golf clubs in vacation and second-home destinations. Crosby is the son of the late legendary American singer and entertainer Bing Crosby, who played in the 1942 U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot Golf Club.

Jim Doing, 63, of Verona, Wis., is in his 26th year teaching voice at the University of Wisconsin. He has sung more 75 operatic roles in an international career where he has performed in several countries, including England, France, Germany, Italy and Qatar. His son, John, is the percussionist in the hit show Hamilton on a Broadway national tour. Jim is competing in his fourth USGA championship, having played in the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur and the 2021 and 2022 U.S. Senior Amateurs. In 2019, he was chosen Wisconsin State Golf Association Senior Amateur Player of the Year.

Gene Elliott, 61, of West Des Moines, Iowa, claimed his first USGA title by rallying to defeat Jerry Gunthorpe in the championship match of the 2021 U.S. Senior Amateur at the Country Club of Detroit. He has competed in 38 USGA championships, including eight U.S. Amateurs and 15 U.S. Mid-Amateurs, and has reached match play in all five U.S. Senior Amateurs starts. Elliott won the 2021 R&A Senior Amateur Championship and was inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. The owner of a sanitation and street equipment company underwent successful open-heart surgery 22 years ago.

Jody Fanagan, 58, of the Republic of Ireland, posted a 3-0 record in the 1995 Walker Cup as Great Britain and Ireland defeated a USA side led by Tiger Woods at Royal Porthcawl in Wales, 14-10. Twice Fanagan teamed with three-time major champion and 2022 U.S. Senior Open winner Padraig Harrington in foursomes, defeating Trip Kuehne and Kris Cox, 5 and 3, and then Woods and John Harris, 2 and 1. In Sunday singles, he beat Jerry Courville Jr., 3 and 2. Fanagan, who won the 2022 Irish Senior Amateur, is a director of Fanagan Funeral Directors.

Chris Fieger, 60, of Denver, Pa., and Chris Storck, 56, of Reading, Pa., are both members of LedgeRock Golf Club in Mohnton, Pa. It is the same club that 2015 champion and former Reading resident Chip Lutz was an original member. Storck played in last year’s championship at The Kittansett Club. This will be the third U.S. Senior Amateur for Fieger (2019 and 2021).

Doug Hanzel, 66, of Savannah, Ga., is competing in his 11th U.S. Senior Amateur and 41st USGA championship. The retired pulmonologist claimed the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur and was the runner-up to Rusty Strawn a year ago at The Kittansett Club. Hanzel played his college golf at Kent State and has a scholarship named in his honor there. He is the only player to make match play in the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur in the same year (2012), while also earning low-amateur honors in the U.S. Senior Open. He was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2019.

Michael Henry, 55, of Bloomington, Ill., is the son of a career U.S. Air Force pilot and attended nine different schools from preschool to high school. He was a preferred walk-on at Western Illinois University but didn’t become a scratch player until he was in his 30s. He works as an analyst for State Farm Insurance at its headquarters in Bloomington. 

Joe Hillman, 57, of Zionsville, Ind., was a member of the 1987 Indiana University national championship men’s basketball team under legendary coach Bob Knight. As a prep player at Hoover High in Glendale, Calif., Hillman averaged 41.4 points per game as a senior and 26.6 points during his three-year varsity career. During the 1986-87 season, he averaged 13 minutes per game while backing up All-American Steve Alford and Keith Smart, who hit the game-winning shot in the 1987 title game against Syracuse. Hillman had a team-high six assists in the title game. Also a standout baseball player, Hillman was drafted in the 25th round by the Oakland Athletics in 1988, and he hit .310 for the Southern Oregon A’s in the short-season Pioneer League. He played one more minor-league season at Modesto before going overseas to Australia and England to play professional basketball. In 1999, Hillman suffered a hand injury from a 60-ton hydraulic press, forcing doctors to perform multiple surgeries. This will be Hillman’s second USGA championship following the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur.  

Roger Hoit, 59, of Delray Beach, Fla., is not only an accomplished competitor, but also an amateur photographer whose work was exhibited in a show entitled “The Eyes of Africa,” at the DeCastellane Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y. He produces images across a variety of mediums, including SLR, drone, and iPhone. Hoit captained the tennis team at NCAA Division III Amherst College. He’s competed in a pair of U.S. Senior Opens and won 30-plus club championships.

John Husband, 63, of Canada, will be making his third start in the U.S. Senior Amateur. A year ago, he played at The Kittansett Club with a torn media-collateral ligament in his knee that he suffered three months prior to the championship. Husband is the VP of Sales for an IT solutions company.

Stephen Marland, 56, of England, first came to the U.S. in the mid-1980s to play soccer at American University, where the team lost to UCLA in an eight-overtime thriller in the national title game. Injuries forced him to switch to competitive golf and the now resident of Houston, Texas, will compete in his first U.S. Senior Amateur. Marland qualified for the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay.

Pete McDade, 76, of Apollo Beach, Fla., is the oldest player and qualifier in the field. This will be his second U.S. Senior Amateur; the first came 19 years at Bel-Air Country Club, site of this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur. McDade got the last available spot in the qualifier at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Fla., and carded a 68 a day after shooting a 77 in his practice round. McDade won the Dixie Senior Amateur in 2006.

Roger Newsom, 59, of Virginia Beach, Va., is a full-time ophthalmic surgeon who performs 20-30 eye surgeries per week. He was the runner-up to Bob Royak in the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C. He has competed in 10 USGA championships, including three U.S. Senior Opens (2014, 2019, 2021). Newsom has won the State Open of Virginia twice (2008, 2011) and won the 2014 Virginia State Golf Association Senior Open. His brother, Tim, is the director of golf at Riverfront Golf Club, in Suffolk, Va.

Alvaro Ortiz, 55, of Costa Rica, remains the oldest player to make the cut in the Latin America Amateur Championship at age 48 in 2017 at Panama Golf Club. He held the 54-hole lead in the championship before finishing tied for fourth. Ortiz is a 25-time Costa Rican national champion. He played collegiately at Texas Wesleyan.

Bob Royak, 61, of Alpharetta, Ga., won the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C. This year, he will play alongside his younger brother, Paul Royak, of Tampa, Fla. Bob is a four-time Georgia State Golf Association Senior Player of the Year. He also won the 2021 Georgia Mid-Amateur and 2020 Senior Jones Cup. Both Bob and Paul played collegiately at the University of Tampa. Outside of golf, Royak has been involved with the Russian Orphan program to help find forever families for children. Royak and his wife hosted two brothers on three occasions and visited St. Petersburg nine times.

Jack Schlotterback, 55, of Naples, Fla., made two holes-in-one during the same round on Feb. 11 of this year at the Golf Club of the Everglades. His last ace came 38 years ago in the Waterloo (Iowa) Open when he was 17. He played collegiately at Mount Mercy University in Iowa and spent 10 years as a club professional and played one season on the Sunbelt Senior Tour in 2017 before regaining his amateur status. 

William “Bud” Schultz, 64, of Hingham, Mass., has qualified for his second U.S. Senior Amateur. He is a former tennis professional who reached as high as No. 38 in the world and competed in all four grand-slam events (Australian Open, US Open, Wimbledon and French Open). He only picked up golf after turning 50 because it didn’t “hurt” the way tennis did on the body. Schultz co-founded an urban tennis program called Tenacity that uses the sport as a hook to get buy-in for literacy and life-skill development. It served more than 5,000 kids from grades 4 through high school in the Boston public schools. In 2014, he hiked the Appalachian Trail, trekking more than 2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine from March 3 to July 12 with his wife, Elaine.

Mark Sear, 59, of Los Angeles, Calif., should feel right at home at Martis Camp. That’s because he’s a member and a five-time club champion. This will be his first U.S. Senior Amateur and third USGA championship, having previously qualified for a U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur. While Sear wasn’t at Martis Camp when the U.S. Junior Amateur was contested there in 2013, the event did inspire him to purchase a home on the property in 2017. He also is a past champion of the prestigious San Francisco City Championship (1991).

L.D. Simmons, 64, of Charlotte, N.C., is a mental skills coach who works with juniors, college players, amateurs and professionals. He also has served as a volunteer assistant coach at Davidson College, his alma mater. He earned a law degree from Vanderbilt University and practiced law for a number of years before getting involved with sports psychology.

Paul Simson, 72, of Raleigh, N.C., is a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur champion (2010 and 2012) and the runner-up in 2017. He owns a 36-12 match-play record in the championship, including a perfect 14-for-14 mark in the Round of 64. Simson, a native of Chatham, N.J., played his college golf at the University of New Mexico before moving to North Carolina and joining the insurance business. Simson also won the Canadian and British senior amateur titles in a magical 2010 season. This will be his 67th USGA championship.

Michael Smith, 58, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., is a former NBA and college basketball player who has spent the past 27 years as a television analyst for both the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. He was a consensus second-team All-American at Brigham Young University before being drafted in the first round (13th overall) by the Boston Celtics in the 1989 NBA Draft. He played three seasons with Boston and one with the Clippers in 1995, while also playing overseas. At BYU, he was the 1988 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, and finished as the school's all-time leader in rebounds (922) and second in points (2,312) behind only Danny Ainge. His first introduction to golf was from Hall of Famer Larry Bird. The father of 10 will be competing in his first USGA championship. At 6 feet, 10 inches, he is the tallest golfer to compete in a USGA championship this year, surpassing 6-foot-9 Texas sophomore Tommy Morrison, who played in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur.

Rohn Stark, 64, of Kapalua, Hawaii, spent 16 seasons in the NFL as a punter, 13 of which were with the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts. He also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks before retiring after the 1997 season. He was first-team All-Pro in 1983 and second-team All-Pro in 1992, and a four-time Pro Bowler. He also played in Super Bowl XXX for the Steelers. At Florida State, he was a first-team All-American in 1980, and owns the highest net average for a single game at 59.5 yards in 1992. At FSU, he also was a decathlete and was drafted in the second round (34th overall) in the 1982 NFL Draft. When he retired from the NFL, he moved his family to Maui and got involved in the real estate business. While his home was not affected by the recent devastating fires in Lahaina, he lost cable and internet service. Stark was a member at Kapalua and played professionally in the Aloha Section of the PGA before regaining his amateur status just a few months ago. He also played some golf with U.S. Senior Amateur competitor Joe Hillman when he was a member at Wolf Run during his Indianapolis Colts days. This is his first USGA championship.

Rusty Strawn, 60, of McDonough, Ga., claimed the 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur by defeating 2013 champion Doug Hanzel in the 18-hole final at The Kittansett Club. In 2022, Strawn also won the Trans-Mississippi Senior and Florida Senior Azalea, and was the runner-up to Sherrill Britt in the North & South Senior at Pinehurst. He played his college golf at Georgia Southern with 2016 U.S. Senior Open champion Gene Sauers. He is a chief executive officer of an insurance firm.

Matt Sughrue, 64, of Arlington, Va., made a major career decision following 25 years in the insurance business as a CEO. The 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up went to grad school at Virginia Tech to become a psychotherapist. His thesis was on Chronic Adult Male Homelessness, and Sughrue served as the family therapist at SERVE, a 90-bed homeless shelter for families in Manassas, Va. He’s now in private practice, where he assists elite athletes with their mental approaches to their sports. That group includes golfers, swimmers and baseball players to help them perform their best in competition. Sughrue also was the runner-up in the 2015 British Senior Amateur at Royal County Down and finished fourth two years later at Sunningdale.

Ken Whalley, 61, of Topsfield, Mass., has had a defibrillator implanted inside his chest to measure his heart rhythm since he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition in 2006. This will be his first U.S. Senior Amateur, but he qualified for the 2005 U.S. Amateur at Merion and has competed in three U.S. Mid-Amateurs. He played his collegiate golf at Duke University.

Todd White, 55, of Spartanburg, S.C., is a high school history teacher who won the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in 2015 with Nathan Smith. White, a member of the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team, will be competing in his 35th USGA championship. He was a semifinalist in the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Conway Farms and on two other occasions has advanced to the quarterfinals. White also qualified for the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. This is his first U.S. Senior Amateur.

Jeff Wilson, 60, of Fairfield, Calif., is the general sales manager of a Toyota dealership. Wilson regained his amateur status in 1997 after bouncing around several mini tours. In 2018, he won the U.S. Senior Amateur with a 2-and-1 victory over defending champion Sean Knapp. He tied for 31st in the 2018 U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor and became the second player to earn low-amateur honors in both the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open, joining Marvin “Vinny” Giles III. Wilson, who was low amateur in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, has competed in 40 USGA championships, including four U.S. Opens.

Jeff Wright, 58, of San Francisco, Calif., has lived a remarkable life that included 30 years as a singer/songwriter opening for such acts as Hall & Oates, Train and Sugar Ray. He’s also a former model who once was one of the country’s top golf recruits being courted by virtually every Division I program in the country. He originally committed to attend Georgia Tech while flying in a helicopter over Augusta National Golf Club before switching allegiances to Arizona State. He then transferred to UC Irvine and discovered an affinity for writing music and playing the guitar. He also modeled for magazines and stores such as Target. He then had a fall from grace, which included a divorce, and spent time living out of his car in California before putting his life back together. This will be his second U.S. Senior Amateur start after playing in 2021.

Compiled by USGA senior staff writer David Shefter. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.