Peyre-Ferry, Yost qualify for USGA Senior OpenEGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. â€“ A seasoned professional and an unheralded baseball player turned amateur golfer earned the two open spots for the USGA Senior Open Championship in a qualifying round Wednesday at Hidden Creek GC (par 71, 6,808 yards).
Ken Peyre-Ferry, a professional from Marlton, N.J., and Vince Yost, an amateur from Harleysville, Pa., each carded a 2-under-par 69 to lead a field of 65 players attempting to qualify for the Senior Open, which will be held July 29â€“August 1 at Bellerive CC, in St. Louis, Mo.
Four players earned alternate status. Bob Hibschman, a professional from Hatboro, Pa., posted a 70 for the first alternate spot. Robin McCool, an amateur from Bethlehem, Pa. (71), Drew Panebianco, an amateur from Dresher, Pa (71), and Craig Kealey, a professional from Wallingford, Conn. (71), took second, third and fourth alternates in a four-man playoff for the three spots.
Yost took the low amateur award.
Peyre-Ferry characterized his 69 as "ho hum, boring." "I missed one fairway and one green, three-putted twice, bogeyed the last hole. Cut it well off the tee all day. Pulled it left into the trees on 18. Only bogey of the day.
"I hit it really solid," he added. "Ever since I quit playing for a living, Iâ€™ve played better."
Peyre-Ferry, 55, was the head professional at Little Mill CC for 23 years. He tried Senior Tour Qualifying School four times, made the finals twice, and missed qualifying one time by a stroke.
At the end of last August, he said, "I hung up my clubs. "I just quit. I became a real estate appraiser. Thereâ€™s a heck of a lot less stress and aggravation. I havenâ€™t practiced since last August. Didnâ€™t play all winter. Didnâ€™t go to Florida, first time in 20 years."
But this spring, the golf bug came back. He began playing a few holes in the evening in April and May, he said, and found "a desire to play by not being able to play." Now, he said, without practice, "Iâ€™m playing as well as I ever did.
"I thought Iâ€™d really like to qualify for the Senior Open." So now that he has, does he have any thoughts of another shot at the Senior Tour? The answer was quick and emphatic. "Absolutely not! No way!"
Yost, 51, a twice-a-week, 2-handicap golfer at Cedarbrook CC, who for 40 years concentrated on playing baseball rather than golf, said he was shocked to being headed for the Senior USGA Open.
"I came here with very low expectations," he said, since his life, until three years ago, revolved around baseball rather than golf. He pitched in Little League, high school, college, the semi-professional PennDel league and a 30-and-over league in Montgomery County, "until I had to ice my arm for two days every time I pitched."
Starting on the back nine on a course heâ€™d never played before, he went out in 2-under 33 and came back in even-par 26. He had 4 birds and an eagle. "I putted really well," he said. "Iâ€™ve never seen so much putting acreage. This is a putterâ€™s course."
Still somewhat dazed, Yost, president of a small technology business, had to ask where the Senior Open was, and when. When told it was later this month in St. Louis," he blinked and said, "I hope my investors are understanding."