TAYLORVILLE, ILLINOIS | Dave Ryan learned to play golf on a nine-hole course in central Illinois. Par was 33, later expanded to 35. The greens and tees were irrigated. Sort of.
Forget all the impediments and obstacles at Taylorville Country Club, Ryan loved this little course, which may explain how he grew up to become a national champion.
In 2016, Ryan won the U.S. Senior Amateur. He was 62 years old. In a three-year period, 2016 through 2018, he amassed a spectacular U.S. Senior Am record, winning once and losing twice to former national champions (Sean Knapp and Chip Lutz) making Ryan arguably the best senior amateur golfer that most observers have never heard of. Today, in his mid-60s, he remains a factor in the U.S. Senior Am, designed for golfers who are at least 55 years old.
If you play against Ryan, you might call him “Deadly Dave.” Otherwise, you can call him “Plain Old Dave.”
Ryan is a quiet, serious guy. He is plain-spoken and thoughtful. There is an unimposing manner about him. Playing golf, he seems to sneak up on his opponents. If he talks at all, it’s for sure that he means what he says. He grew up in Taylorville, a rural town of 10,000 where he still lives with his wife Amy, that is bursting at the seams with quiet folks.
On the other hand, the high school mascot is a tornado. As if to verify that identity, a real-life tornado roared through Taylorville on Dec. 1, 2018, an event that disrupted ordinary life. In addition to becoming weather expe...
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