Steve Rogers

Bowling Green’s Steve Rogers has qualified to play in his fourth career U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, to be held Aug. 28-Sept. 2 at Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.

Bowling Green’s Steve Rogers claimed one of the 156 coveted spots in the upcoming 66th U.S. Senior Amateur golf championship set for the end of the month.

Rogers was – literally – the last man in for the U.S. Senior Am after earning the third and final qualifying spot by shooting a 3-over par in the last of 46 qualifying tournaments Aug. 12 at The Grove in College Grove, Tenn.

“It’s sort of a surprise that I was able to get the last spot,” Rogers said. “It was just my day, I guess.”

Rogers was among 74 players battling for those three spots to earn a place in the field for the U.S. Senior Am set for Aug. 28-Sept. 2 at Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.

The size of the field was daunting enough, not to mention Rogers – who turns 66 in October – was in some cases a full decade older than the competition.

One thing in Rogers’ favor – experience. Rogers had qualified for the U.S. Senior Am three times previously, with the last coming in 2017. Since then, he’d been stuck on 19 career USGA/R&A (Royal and Ancient) events.

“It’s been sort of a goal – I’ve been stuck on 19 since 2017, which is the last time I played in a U.S. Senior Am,” Rogers said. “So I thought, ‘well, I’m not going to get my goal of 20,’ but I was fortunate enough to make this one.”

Rogers said he bogeyed the final two shots at The Grove to earn his spot in the U.S. Senior Am. His 75 normally wouldn’t have been good enough, but it wasn’t a normal day.

“Conditions were very difficult that day,” Rogers said. “It was very windy and the course played very long. Some of the best players in that event did not break 80.”

Now Rogers once more will get the opportunity to see where he ranks among the nation’s top 156 amateur men age 55 and up whose handicap index does not exceed 7.4.

Tournament play in Michigan will consist of two rounds of stroke play to winnow the 156-player field to 64, followed by match play on the 6,901-yard, par-72 Country Club of Detroit course.

“I’m looking forward to the event because if I make match play, which I have the previous times, it qualifies me to play in the British Senior Amateur at Royal Dornoch in Scotland, which is one of the best courses in the world,” Rogers said. “I was runner-up in the event in the British Senior Am in 2012, so I’d like to get back there and play in that event.”

Now that he’s reached the 20-USGA tournament milestone he’s been chasing, Rogers is ready to push for his next goal of surviving stroke play in the U.S. Senior Am and making it to match play to earn a shot at playing in Scotland.

“USGA events, you’re competing against all the best in the whole country rather than just one state,” Rogers said. “It’s always a challenge.”

Rogers’ best finish in a U.S. Senior Am was his first time playing in the event, when he fell in match play to eventual champion Paul Simson in the 2012 event at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, N.J.

Rogers also played in the 2013 U.S. Senior Am held at Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C., and the 2017 event held at The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.

Since qualifying to play in the super senior division when he turned 65, Rogers has been on a roll. He’s posted top-five finishes in four super senior-division tournaments since December.

“I am playing well,” Rogers said. “It’s been a good year. When I turned 65, I was able to start playing what they call super senior events. I played in a number of those, got beat in the playoffs in the last one in West Virginia. I had a three-shot lead going into the final round then lost in the playoffs, so my game’s been good this year.

“I was runner up this past week in Louisville in the state super senior. I lost by a stroke, shot 75-70-145, and the winner was 144.”{&end}

– Follow sports editor Jeff Nations on Twitter @Jeff_NationsBG or visit bgdailynews.com.

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