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Gagai qualifies for U.S. Senior Open tourney

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

COLUMBUS — John Gagai is like fine wine. He seems to get better with age.

As a young golfer, Gagai was medalist in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament when he played for St. Joseph. He later earned All-Southern Conference honors for Marshall University.

He has racked up 12 Ironton Country Club championships and once qualified for the Bing Crosby Pro-Am Tournament at Pebble Beach, Calif.

But the outstanding Ironton golfer has added another notch on his golf club after winning the U.S. Senior Open qualifer held last Monday at the Worthington Country Club to earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open field to be held July 8-14 at the Omaha Country Club in Omaha, Neb.

Gagai fired a 4-under par 67, one stroke better that Lee Houtteman of Glen Arbor, Mich., who had a 68.

A total of 83 golfers comprised the field.

Gagai recorded five birdies, 12 pars and just one bogey. The only bogey was on the 418-yard par 4 first hole.

The tournament will feature some of the great names in golf such as Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Nick Price, Brad Faxon, John Cook, Mark Calvavecchia, Jay Haas, Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, Fred Funk, Fred Couples, Peter Jacobsen and Hale Irwin.

The field will consist of 156 professionals and amateurs who are over the age of 50. It will be televised by ESPN2 and NBC.

Practice rounds will be Monday through Wednesday, July 8-10. The four-day tournament gets underway at 7 a.m. on Thursday and concludes on Sunday.

Players will be cut to low 60 and ties plus anyone within 10 strokes of the leader at the completion of the second round.

The course is a par 70, 6,711-yard layout. Three holes are more than 500 yards including the 548-yard No. 2 hole. The shortest hole is the 165-yard No. 11 par 3.

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The Ironton Country Club will host a benefit golf shamble Thursday, July 4. Anyone interested should contact the ICC at (740) 532-2511.