White's Even-Par 144 Good Enough For Medalist at Martis Camp

By David Shefter, USGA

| Aug 27, 2023 | Truckee, Calif.

White's Even-Par 144 Good Enough For Medalist at Martis Camp

What Happened

Another beautiful day greeted the competitors for the second and final round of stroke play in the 68th U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Martis Camp Club. Weather-wise, the contestants could not have asked for better conditions – gentle breezes, temperatures reaching into the low 80s with no humidity, and not a cloud in the sky.

The Tom Fazio-designed golf course, however, proved for a second consecutive day to be no pushover. The longest course in championship history – it measured 7,251 yards on Day 2 – yielded just two sub-par scores on Sunday, a day after just six players bettered the par of 72. Thick rough and adjusting to the altitude attributed to a scoring average of 78.8.

Medalist Todd White, 55, of Spartanburg, S.C., didn’t break par either day, but a pair of even-par 72s were good enough to best a quartet of players by one stroke. It was the highest total by a medalist in the U.S. Senior Amateur since 2004 at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.

The cut for match play came at 11-over 155 with 10 players having to return on Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. PDT for a playoff that will begin on the par-3 17th hole to determine the final six spots in the draw.

A pair of Senior Amateur runners-up from Virginia – Matt Sughrue (2016), of Arlington, and Roger Newsom (2019), of Virginia Beach – were in the group that finished at 1-over-par 145 that also included Randy Haag, of Orinda, Calif., and Steve Harwell, of Mooresville, N.C., who just missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-4 closing hole at Martis Camp that would have given him a share of medalist honors.

Bob Royak, of Alpharetta, Ga., the 2019 champion, was at 2-over 146 with Jon Brown, of Adel, Iowa, and Joe Jaspers, of Huntersville, N.C.

This was the first time White, a history teacher at Spartanburg High School, who captured the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball title with 2013 USA Walker Cup teammate Nathan Smith in 2015 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, had ever earned medalist honors in 35 USGA championship appearances, including nine U.S. Amateurs and eight U.S. Mid-Amateurs, where he was a semifinalist in 2012 at Conway Farms outside of Chicago.

Just a few days before arriving at Martis Camp, White qualified for next month’s U.S. Mid-Amateur at Sleepy Hollow Country Club and stroke-play co-host Fenway Golf Club in Westchester (N.Y.) County. He also recently won the South Carolina Amateur in a field that included several college players and high-quality mid-amateurs.

“This is very nice,” said White, who helped the 2013 Walker Cup Team to victory at National Golf Links. “It’s very satisfying.

“It’s nice to have won the medal in the stroke play. But everyone knows, this is two tournaments in one. Everyone starts with a clean slate tomorrow, so it really doesn’t matter what the number is beside your [match-play] seed. Just ask [four seed] Virginia when they played my [13th-seeded] Furman Paladins in basketball in the NCAA tournament [in March]. The number beside the name doesn’t matter.”

2019 runner-up Roger Newsom played 3-under-par golf over his final 12 holes to post a 36-hole total of 1-over-par 145. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

2019 runner-up Roger Newsom played 3-under-par golf over his final 12 holes to post a 36-hole total of 1-over-par 145. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

Coming off two bogeys on No. 12 and 13, White regrouped nicely by stuffing a gap wedge on the 145-yard, par-3 14th to 8 feet to set up a birdie. He then laced a 5-iron approach to the 546-yard, par-5 15th that led to routine two-putt birdie.

“From there it was just fairway, green and get it into the house,” said White. “I feel good. I’ve been playing well. The confidence is there. It’s just a matter of keeping everything in front of me and not getting too far ahead of myself, and playing golf the way that I have, really, for the last four weeks.”

Newsom, 59, a full-time ophthalmologist who performs up to 25 surgeries a week, had not been playing much golf this summer. He won the Coleman Senior at Seminole in the spring and was the runner-up to 2021 U.S. Senior Amateur champion Gene Elliott at the C.B. Macdonald Invitational at National Golf Links of America.

But after a slow start for the second consecutive day, Newsom played 3-under-par golf over his final 12 holes to post an even-par 72. Starting on No. 10, he birdied Nos. 16 and 17 and the par-5 fourth on Martis Camp’s outward nine.

“That’s just what USGA golf is, and if you let that kind of golf bother you, then you are in trouble,” said Newsom, who dropped a 1-down decision in the 2019 final to Royak at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C. “You just have to keep grinding.

“When I was a kid, I caddied for [two-time U.S. Open champion] Curtis Strange back in Virginia. And we used to joke that he could crush granite with his eyelids. That’s what I did.”

Fellow Virginian Sughrue, 63, a sports psychologist, arrived at Martis Camp fresh off losing, 1 down, in the title match of the Virginia State Senior Championship, which features two rounds of stroke play and a 32-player draw. He overcame a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 10th and a bogey on No. 11 to post a 74 to back up his 1-under 71 on Saturday.

“I started out with a three-putt on the first hole,” said Sughrue. “I had a long putt for my third shot and that’s not a good feeling. But I hit a really solid drive on two, which is a tough driving hole, and I felt really good about that. Then on three, I knocked it to about 5 feet and I made 2. And then I was off to the races.”

Harwell, 60, a quarterfinalist in 2019 and winner of this year’s North Carolina Senior Amateur, made two birdies and two bogeys over his first five holes and then was 1 over the rest of the round.

“It’s pretty long and I’m not that long of a hitter,” said Harwell of Martis Camp. “But it’s been good. Honestly, I’ve been hitting it good and not putting myself in a lot of difficult positions.”

Haag, one of the first-round co-leaders, couldn’t duplicate his seven-birdie performance from Saturday, but a 3-over 75 was more than good enough to qualify for match play. This is his eighth U.S. Senior Amateur, having advanced to match play in six of those appearances. On Sunday, The Olympic Club member could muster just one birdie against four bogeys, including a pair of 6s on par 5s.

“It was a sloppy round for me today,” said Haag, who has good friend and fellow Olympic member Brad Frederickson as his caddie. “My bogeys were sand wedges into the greens. Then I three-putted the par 5 on the back (15) for par and missed a 3-footer on 16 [for birdie]. You don’t make them all every day, but as I was thinking, you just have to get into match play. It’s [now] a whole new tournament.”

What’s Next

The Round of 64 on Monday will begin at 8:30 a.m. PDT. On Tuesday, the Rounds of 32 and 16 will be contested, followed by the quarterfinals and semifinals on Wednesday. The 18-hole final is scheduled for Thursday morning. Admission is free and spectators are encouraged to attend.

North Carolinian Steve Harwell managed his way around difficult Martis Camp quite proficiently during stroke play. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

North Carolinian Steve Harwell managed his way around difficult Martis Camp quite proficiently during stroke play. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)


  • Doug Hanzel continued his remarkable streak of making the match-play draw in all 11 of his U.S. Senior Amateur starts. Hanzel, of Savannah, Ga., won the championship in 2013 at Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C., and was the runner-up a year ago at The Kittansett Club in Marion, Mass. His overall match-play record is 27-9.

  • Other U.S. Senior Amateur champions to advance to match play were Gene Elliott (2021), Dave Ryan (2016), Bob Royak (2019), Jeff Wilson (2018) and Chip Lutz (2015). Past USGA champions to qualify were Tim Hogarth (1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links) and Jack Larkin Jr. (1979 U.S. Junior Amateur).

  • Stewart (Buddy) Alexander, the 1986 U.S. Amateur champion is among the 10 golfers in Monday’s playoff along with 2021 U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up Jerry Gunthorpe and Paul Royak, the younger brother of Bob Royak.  

  • Two-time U.S. Senior Amateur champion Paul Simson, 72, of Raleigh, N.C., and defending champion Rusty Strawn were among the notables to miss the cut. It’s only the second time in 16 starts that Simson failed to qualify for match play, where he owns a 14-0 mark in the Round of 64.

  • Other past USGA champions who failed to advance were Sean Knapp (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur) and  Nathaniel Crosby (1981 U.S. Amateur).

  • Crosby, the son of legendary crooner Bing Crosby, is gathering quite a few frequent-flier miles over these two weeks. He flew from his home in Jupiter, Fla., to Northern California for the U.S. Senior Amateur and then will depart for Scotland to attend the Walker Cup Match at St. Andrews this weekend. Crosby captained the victorious 2019 and 2021 Walker Cup Teams and played on the winning 1983 side at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake).

  • Alan Mew, 70, of England, came within a shot of shooting his age. A late bogey on the par-3 17th hole gave him a 1-under 71, one of two sub-par scores on Sunday. Currently, he’s the only player 70 or older to make the cut. Stewart Alexander, 10 months his junior, is in the playoff.

  • Mike Henry, of Bloomington, Ill., had the best turnaround of the championship, recovering from a first-round 84 to shoot a 2-under 70 and make match play.

  • Despite a disappointing 83 on Sunday, first-round co-leader Mike Finster still managed to make the cut. He carded a 70 on Saturday.

  • Martis Camp member Mark Sear advanced to match play with a two-round total of 6-over 150.

  • RJ Nakashian, who carded an opening-round 77, and Don Dubois both withdrew from the championship on Sunday with injuries. Dubois, who opened with a 78, played four holes before pulling out.


“I don’t know how many of them will follow. Hopefully some of the golf team members will, and hopefully my administration will. It’s nice to go back in there and let them see that this didn’t happen by chance. Hard work pays off. That’s a lesson that extends from golf into the classroom.” – Todd White when asked if his students back at Spartanburg High would be following his progress

“I probably won’t change my strategy that much, if at all. But I have played enough USGA events to know that they will switch up the golf course a little bit in match play. You could show up on a tee box and go, ‘Wow, we’re up here today.’ And that’s just part of the excitement of the game. You just have to adapt.” – Matt Sughrue on how he’ll approach match play

“There are a lot of hard holes out there. Playing in the morning, the ball doesn’t go as far, and it takes you a little while to figure that out because you don’t have the warm air to launch it. On this course, because the ball can go so far, your deviation of a miss can be pretty extreme.” – Randy Haag on how Martis Camp played during the morning wave

“It’s pretty long and I’m not that long of a hitter. But it’s been good. Honestly, I’ve been hitting it good and not putting myself in a lot of difficult positions.” – Steve Harwell on the challenge of Martis Camp

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org