Area golfers chipping in at Senior Open

When play opens at Seattle’s Sahalee Country Club Thursday for the U.S. Senior Open, several Plateau area golfers will have a bird’s-eye view of the action.

They will be among the more than 2,800 volunteers helping the PGA and United States Golf Association with the event that hosts the top 156 professionals and amateurs, 50 and older.

The Plateau group has been assigned the par-3, 175-yard 13th hole.

Play continues through Sunday and is expected to draw more than 125,000 spectators. It’s those spectators the local crew will be keeping back off the course, among other duties.

According to Bonney Lake’s Kathy Mannelly, who is serving as hole captain, her volunteers will be marshaling the 13th hole. They have the title of “inside the rope” people.

“There are two real things marshals do,” said Mannelly, who started working with the PGA and USGA on this volunteer project two years ago. “One is safety, both for the crowds and the players.”

On the narrow, tree-lined Hole 13, that means watching for slicing tee shots and wayward chips. They will also be running access to the tee box for golfers and manning the pedestrian gate and walkway that cuts across the fairway. Marshals also ensure players are not disturbed during play and enforce crowd control and golf etiquette among spectators.

Forty-five volunteers have been assigned to Mannelly for her portion of the course. They will work in 11-man, four-hour shifts. Some volunteers were also scheduled to spend time helping out with Monday, Tuesday and today’s practice rounds.

The group, Beth Hansen, Dixie Jameyson, Mary Kell, Sharon Swift and Doug Wagner from Enumclaw, Jan Shabro from Lake Tapps and Alice Brynestad from Buckley, went in Saturday to familiarize themselves with the course and responsibilities, and to enjoy a volunteer luncheon.

Enumclaw’s Greg Vesey, assistant hole captain, said it’s an opportunity to get up close to some of the world’s greatest golfers. He’s hoping to catch a glimpse of Seattle-born golfing great Fred Couples.

“He’s always been one of my favorites on the tour,” Vesey said. “I’ve never sought an autograph in my life, but that’s one I might seek.”

Vesey’s also hoping his time at the U.S. Senior Open will help him land a spot helping out at the 2015 U.S. Open at Tacoma’s Chambers Bay.

The U.S. Senior Open will be broadcast on ESPN and NBC Sports.

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