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Orthodontist qualifies for U.S. Senior Open Championship

Toledo, Ohio—Swinging among Fred Couples and Hale Irwin and some of the greats in golf history at the 32nd Annual U.S. Senior Open Championship is an orthodontist from Bethlehem, Pa.

Image: Senior Open: Dr. Viechnicki
Senior Open: Dr. Viechnicki will tee off as one of 25 qualifying amateurs in the U.S. Senior Open Championship July 28-31 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

Amateur golfer and ADA member Joseph Viechnicki is competing in this year’s senior open, which takes place July 28-31 at Toledo’s Inverness Club. The senior open is U.S. Golf Association’s premier over 50 event, and Dr. Viechnicki is one of only 25 amateurs who have qualified. Entries were open to any professional or amateur with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 3.4 and who turns 50 (Dr. Viechnicki is 58) on or before July 28. The event is a 156-player field with 78 golfers fully exempt, including 13 past champions.

Dr. Viechnicki has orthodontic practices in Bethlehem and Kutztown, Pa. He graduated from Temple University School of Dental Medicine in 1979 and completed his orthodontic residency in 1981. He is a past president of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley Orthodontic Society.

Dr. Viechnicki earned a spot in the senior open last month at the Country Club at Woodmore in Maryland, where he sank a four-foot birdie putt on the first sudden-death playoff hole to win a six-man playoff for the final spot. He shot an even-par 72, a 2-over-par 38 on the front nine, and was 3-over-par through 12 holes. There were birdie putts on the 13th hole (from 6 feet) and 15th hole (12 feet) and on the final hole, he chipped in for birdie from 60 feet.

“It was just my day,” Dr. Viechnicki told The Morning Call news of Allentown, Pa. “Things on the back nine just started to fall into place. I made a couple good swings and great putts, and obviously the chip-in helped.”

Dr. Viechnicki was the Saucon Valley Country Club of Bethlehem, Pa., club champ in 2000 but at 46 was too young to qualify for the senior open. He has tried to qualify four times since turning 50 but fell short until this year.

On July 28, he will compete with “champions whose careers and accomplishments we all have followed with great interest through the years: Fred Couples, Paul Azinger, Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Bruce Lietzke, Fuzzy Zoeller, Mark O’Meara, John Cook, Jay Haas, Larry Mize, Craig Stadler, Tom Kite, Tom Lehman, Bob Tway, Fred Funk, Loren Roberts, Corey Pavin, Peter Jacobsen, Mark Calcavecchia,” said Dr. Viechnicki. “These are some of the notables in the field.”

Fans in the gallery may include a few of Dr. Viechnicki’s dentist family members, including a brother, Dr. William A. Viechnicki, an orthodontist; his wife, Dr. Margaret T. Viechnicki, a general dentist; a son, Dr. Bryon J. Viechnicki, an orthodontic resident at the Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry; and a niece, Dr. Mary Viechnicki-Potter, a general dentist, and her husband, Dr. John L. Potter, a periodontist.

For more information on the 32nd Annual U.S. Senior Open Championship, visit www.usga.org.

Image: Competitor: Dr. Viechnicki displays his style on the links.
Competitor: Dr. Viechnicki putts on his home course, the Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa.