Local golf pro qualifies for U.S. Senior Open
Dave Alvarez will be spending more time on the links than at his desk at River Valley Ranch the next two weeks.
The General Manager and Golf Director at the Carbondale golf course was one of two Coloradians accepted to play in the 2002 U.S. Senior Open.
The four-day tournament, which has 3,101 entries this year, includes some legendary names of the sport on the playing list.
Some of the former winners scheduled to be on hand when the tournament tees off on June 27 are Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Hale Irwin.
The tournament will be played at Caves Valley Golf Club in Baltimore, Md.
Alvarez earned his way in the national event by shooting a 1-under round of 70 at Monday’s state Senior regional tournament at the Colorado Springs Country Club.
There were 113 golfers at the Colorado state qualifying tournament, and all 113 were vying for the two available national berths to the national tournament.
Kirk Padgett of Colorado Springs was the other Colorado golfer to advance from the state regional to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open. He earned the second berth after breaking a three-way tie at the third playoff hole.
Alvarez finished the 18-hole state tournament with three birdies in the last four holes.
This is the third time Alvarez has qualified for a spot at the Senior Open. In the 1980s, the 55-year-old Alvarez qualified and played in the regular U.S. Open three times.
“I’ve been lucky,” Alvarez said of the skills he’s had to be accepted to either event.
He said there’s going to be a lot of good, young players who have just reached 50 at the tournament, and “it’s going to be tough.”
The United States Golf Association, who administers the event, reduced the minimum age to enter the Seniors tour to 50 from 55 after the 1980 tournament.
Alvarez said his goal is to make the first-round cut into the final two days of the tournament and be paired with the legends of the game.
He said pairings for the opening round of the tournament are based on each golfer’s PGA tournament money winnings for the year and that most of the entries are paired initially with other state qualifiers.
Alvarez has carried a PGA membership card for 28 years, and has been at River Valley Ranch since 1997.
Prior to moving Carbondale he served as the Director of Golf at the Maidstone Country Club in East Hampton, N.Y. and at Fisher’s Island Country in New London, Conn.
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The 40th annual Demon Invitational track and field meet takes place Saturday, May 15 at Stubler Memorial Field.