Larry Ringer planned to celebrate qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open by going to the chiropractor.
Ringer, 54, the head professional at the Country Club of Woodmore in Mitchellville, overcame back pain to shoot a 4-under-par 68 on his home course yesterday to earn medalist honors at the 18-hole sectional qualifier. David Oakley of Orlando shot a 70 to qualify for his fifth consecutive Senior Open.
Sixty golfers competed for two spots at the 20th annual U.S. Senior Open, which will be held July 8-11 at the Des Moines Golf & Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa.
The misty, cool weather did not help Ringer's back troubles, which began when he bent down to pick up his tee on No. 4 and felt a pop.
"My back's killing me real bad," Ringer said. "I birdied two. Birdied three. I got 2 under par. I said, `Oh my, this is a [great] time to have this happen.' "
After his two birdies, Ringer made par on the next six holes to make the turn at 2 under. He bogeyed No. 10, but recovered with birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 15. He negated a bogey on 17 with his final birdie on No. 18. Ringer sank a 50-foot putt on No. 13 that made three breaks before it finally fell.
This will be Ringer's third Senior Open. Ringer qualified for his first in 1995 and was exempt in 1996. He did not attempt to qualify in 1997 and was the first alternate here last year.
Oakley, 54, was especially thrilled to qualify this year after learning earlier in the morning that his brother, Peter, had qualified in Reading, Pa. Since Peter turns 50 later this week, it will be the first time the brothers have played together in a Senior Open.
George Clenney of Woodbridge withdrew from the tournament on the fourth hole and was taken by ambulance to Doctors Hospital in Lanham. According to tournament officials, Clenney was suffering from kidney stones and was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon.