Top golfers to compete for berth in U.S. Senior Open

Former Professional Golf Association Tour members Jay Don Blake and Brian Henninger will headline a stellar field in a qualifying round Monday at St. Clair Country Club in Belleville for the United States Senior Golf Championship.

Home of 1968 Masters Champion Bob Goalby and a place where PGA great Jay Haas and current Wake Forest University men’s golf coach Jerry Haas began their careers, the par 72 St. Clair Country Club course figures to provide a stern test for 35 players who will put their skills on the line for one coveted berth in the U.S Senior Open Championship.

The 2016 United States Senior Open is Aug. 8-14 at Scoito Country Club in Upper Arlington, Ohio.

The Senior United States Open qualifier marks the second year in a row St. Clair has been chosen to host a qualifying event of a major championship. It played host to a United States Women’s Open qualifier in 2015.

“We’d like to host them as often as we can,” Tom Sipula, golf professional at St. Clair Country Club, said. “St. Clair has a rich tradition in golf with Mr. Goalby being a Master champion with Jay Haas both on the PGA and Senior PGA Tours.

“It’s a good test of golf. It plays at right about 6,500 yards and I would think that’s what they’ll play at on Monday.”

Sipula said that spectators are welcomed to attend. But because it’s a USGA event, no carts will be allowed. Spectators will have to walk.

The field will consist of 35 players representing 13 states. One foreign player — amateur Srinu Anday from India — is also in the field which includes Blake and Henninger. Both of whom achieved success on the PGA and Senior PGA Tours.

Several local players including Butch Lewis and Walt Siemsglusz of Belleville are also in the field. The first tee time in the 18 hole qualifier is set for 7:30 a.m. with the final threesome set to begin its round at 9:31 a.m.

Dean Criddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean