Pat ODonnell, USGA Senior Amateur qualifier, Happy Valley golfer, Creekside Golf Club, OGA sectional qualiier

SALEM - Pat O'Donnell of Happy Valley led the field by five strokes, with a 2-under-par 69 (35-34), at an Oregon Golf Association sectional qualifier for the USGA Senior Amateur, held at Creekside Golf Club earlier this month.

O'Donnell and qualifier runner-up Bob Harrington of Portland (74:35-39) now advance to the 57th USGA Senior Amateur, which is scheduled Sept. 10-15 at Kinloch Golf Club in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia.

It didn't look as if O'Donnell would finish atop the leaderboard after he started his round with a double-bogey from deep in high grass on the first hole.

But, as the premiere senior golfer in the region, the reigning Senior Men's Player of the Year and Oregon Senior Amateur champion quickly regained his composure and fired consecutive birdies on holes 3, 4 and 5, to cruise to one-under par at the turn. Other than that first hole blemish, he completed his round with a total of five birdies and 12 pars.

O'Donnell, who last qualified for the USGA Senior Amateur in 2009, advanced to the quarterfinals that year. He is coming off one his best seasons ever. Last year, in addition to winning the Senior Amateur, he won the Oregon Senior Stroke Play for the fourth straight year. He also tied for third at the Oregon Senior Open, tied for fourth at the Oregon Mid-Amateur, and was a part of the winning Broadmoor team at the OGA Team Championship.

O'Donnell's run in Senior Stroke Play came to an end on Aug. 14 of this year, when he tied for eighth place at the 2011 tournament with an 11-over-par 224 (rounds of 77, 73 and 74) for 36 holes at Emerald Valley Golf Course. Chris Maletis of Portland, the 2010 runner-up, won this year's tournament with a 4-over-par 217 (71, 74 and 72).

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