BURLINGTON, Vt. -
Two Vermont Amateur golfers are headed out to compete in major national tournaments in August, back to back state amateur champ Evan Russell and three-time state senior amateur champ Chip Ward.
Russell, an Essex high grad, beat out two other players Tuesday in a 4th playoff hole to grab one of two available spots in next month's U.S. Amateur Championships in Atlanta, Georgia. Russell had the best final round of the day, a 3 under par 69, putting him in a three way tie for second place at the sectional qualifier in Westchester, New York. The winner of the event grabbed the other spot. This will be Russell's second straight trip to the U.S. Amateur championship. The qualification comes less than a week after Russell captured his second straight Vermont amateur championship in a five hole playoff.
South Burlington native and Plattsburgh State alum, Chip Ward, has been invited to the first ever Golfweek Senior National Match Play tournament in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The tournament invites only the top thirty two senior amateur golfers in the country. Ward, who belongs to the Burlington Country Club, increased his participation in the Society of Seniors National Tour this summer. Playing on that tour over the years has helped Ward's game to the point where he's now in the top twenty of the national rankings.
"It's having the opportunity to play against these national players and watched how they manage their game. It's not about how far they hit it. It's not about anything but consistency and keeping the ball in a good position," Ward said. "They're so talented that they're able to do that, and by observation some of that may have worn off over the years."
Ward's event takes place August 10-12 while Russell competes from August 11-17.