You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.


  • 15th Rat Race draws record field
    The 15th annual River City Rat Race saw a record number of registrants with 1,145 finishers in the 5-kilometer and 10K races.The race is one of the few fall races that does not take place on a Saturday morning.
  • Solunar
  • Embracing the Rat Race
    For Cathy Pusey, the River City Rat Race has always been a signature event in her schedule.
Senior City Championship
When: Monday and Tuesday
Where: Orchard Ridge Country Club
Defending champion: John Wray
Past champions
2012: John Wray
2011: Tom Wood
2010: John Wray
2009: Sam Till Jr.
2008: Mark Rietdorf
2007: Bill Argus
2006: Chip Novak
2005: Sam Till Jr.
2004: Chip Novak
2003: Sam Till Jr.
2002: John Wray
2001: Jon Fuller
2000: Jon Fuller
1999: Woody Klepfer
1998: Skip Lesh
1997: John Churchward
1996: Dave Mock
1995: John Churchward
1994: Jim Reecer
1993: Jim Reecer
1992: Ron Von Burg
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
John Wray enters the Senior City Championship on Monday at Orchard Ridge Country Club as defending champion.

Senior City boasts talent

74-man field includes 2 three-time champions

Fort Wayne’s best senior golfers will tee it up Monday in the Senior City Championship.

There will be 74 players – the typical field for the event that has taken place since 1992 – and winning will mean overcoming two difficult obstacles.

The first is one of Fort Wayne’s finest courses, Orchard Ridge Country Club, and the second is some of the most talented players in the state during a two-day, stroke play event.

“The Ridge offers a great test,” said Mike Riecke, president of the Senior Golf Association of Fort Wayne. “It’s in great shape. We’re excited to be back there and be playing it again this year. I think it’s going to be a great shootout. It will be an exciting competition.”

The favorites for the tournament this year are clear.

They are John Wray, who is the defending champion, Sam Till Jr. and Steve Vernasco.

Wray has won the Senior City three times – in 2002, 2010 and 2012 – and only one other man can boast that.

That’s Till, who has also won three times, in 2003, 2005 and 2009, to go with his four victories in the Fort Wayne Golf Association’s City Tournament.

“Wray, he’s won this at Orchard Ridge twice,” Riecke said. “He’s comfortable on the golf course, and you have to consider him one of the favorites.”

Till, however, is one of the best senior players in the entire nation.

Just last month, he won the Indiana Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship, shooting a two-day total of 5-under 139 and defeating Dyer’s Terry Werner in a playoff at Anderson Country Club.

He has played in several national tournaments, including the United States Golf Association’s Senior Amateur, for which Wray also qualified last year. Till won the U.S. Senior Challenge in Birmingham, Ala., in 2012, and his list of accolades is long.

“You can absolutely never count out Sam Till,” Riecke said. “He is probably the fiercest competitor I’ve been around in Fort Wayne, and he’s won (this tournament) three times also. I think he’s going to be a handful.”

As for Vernasco, he won the FWGA’s City Tournament in 1989, 1999 and 2002, and he’s always a good bet to be in contention.

“He’s not won the Senior yet but has proven he can beat everyone in town,” Riecke said.

The champion of 2011, Tom Wood, should also be a factor. So will Mark Childs, Mike Roberts and Mike Carpenter.

Other former champions in the field include Skip Lesh and two-time champion Jon Fuller.

The tournament begins at 11 a.m. and tee times run through noon.