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U.S. Senior Challenge at Kingsmill offers something different

U.S. Senior Challenge at Kingsmill offers something different

At the end of May, team golf got its annual moment in the spotlight as the NCAA men’s and women’s national championships were broadcast over two weeks on Golf Channel. Mike Quinlan, executive director of the U.S. Senior Challenge, wants to note the connection between those tournaments and what’s about to happen at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, next week.

“What we’re trying to model now is this is exactly like a college tournament, just like everybody watched on TV where you have teams playing against each other and also at the same time, you’re vying to be the individual champion of the tournament,” Quinlan said.

Outside of two-man best-ball tournaments, the U.S. Senior Challenge, to be played June 4-6, is one of very few opportunities a senior amateur has to compete in a national team competition. State teams are made up of four individuals, with the best three scores counting toward the team total in each of three rounds. While one team champion is crowned, individual champions will be named in each of four age divisions: senior, super senior, legends and super legends. World Amateur Golf Ranking points are also awarded.

The format, Quinlan said, is exactly what makes the U.S. Senior Challenge such an interesting draw for competitive senior amateurs.

“My belief is that this event is super unique,” he said. “You can sort of relive your college glory days and travel with three other guys on your team and have a really fun week, because even if you did really poorly one day, you’re always wanting to be part of that team score, to have one of the low three scores.”

Part of the reason for the void in amateur team golf on the national level has to do with the discontinuation of the U.S. Golf Association’s State Team Championship in 2017. That tournament, which featured three-person teams from each state, however, was not just for seniors.

The U.S. Senior Challenge dates to the mid-1980s but has matured into its current format. The Sun Country Amateur Golf Association, in cooperation with the U.S. Senior Challenge Board of Directors and Golfweek, handles tournament operations, and the event is elevated by a dedicated USGA Boatwright Intern from the SCAGA.

Quinlan’s involvement increased in 2016, when former executive director Jim Bianco was looking to pass the torch. Quinlan, who had been heavily involved in the board of the directors, picked it up. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident helped bring in the SCAGA,…


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