47th Annual NCGA Public Links Championship
Spyglass Hill GC
April 2-3, 2012
April 3, 2012
by Spencer Sorensen
PEBBLE BEACH – “Shocked.”
That’s the one word Trent Tessler used to describe how he felt after winning the Public Links Championship on Tuesday. Despite only being two shots off the lead going into the day the San Jose resident couldn’t imagine himself hoisting the Lloyd Del Nore Perpetual Trophy.
“I was holding my game together with duct tape and bailing wire,” said Tessler. “I didn’t think I’d win. My game really isn’t that sharp, but somehow it happened,” he said with a chuckle.
It happened because of outstanding play around the greens as Tessler didn’t have any three-putts over 36 holes and several up-and-downs. His one-over 73 was the second best score of the day as the only score lower was a 72 by Dillon Soldwisch. In fact no under-par scores were registered in the Championship Flight either days this year, the first time that has happened in a long time.
Tessler doesn’t compete in many NCGA events, but always makes time for the Public Links and he has some history with it too. Ten years ago in 2002 Tessler finished alone in second after posting a two-day total of 141 (three-under par) coming in one behind champion Logan Goettsch who shot a 140. Tessler is quick to point out that it’s strange how he shot eight strokes better that year yet still didn’t win. He also was on the bag for his good friend Arron Oberholser in 1995 for his Public Links victory. Oberholser, now playing full-time on the PGA Tour, grew up with Tessler in San Mateo and both of them later went on to play golf at San Jose State together.
“I have been trying to win [an NCGA major] for I can’t tell you how long,” said Tessler. “It’s very cool to win, that’s the best way I would describe it.”
Finishing two shots behind Tessler’s 149 total (76-73) were Russell Nygard and first-round leader Ricky Stockton. Nygard playing in the last the group bettered Monday’s score by one-shot shooting a 75 for his 151 total. Stockton, who has held the first-round lead of this tournament twice before once again couldn’t cash-in on an NCGA Public Links title as he followed yesterday’s 74 with a 77.
In the President’s Flight Jim Miller, who finished third at this event last year, had a net under-par score for the second day in a row.
“I just played steady golf, I had no double bogeys yesterday or today,” said Miller. “I avoided the big numbers.”
His net scores of 70-69 were good enough for a three-shot victory over first round leader Chue Her. Her followed yesterday’s net 67 with a net 75. In a tie for third were Jason Marks and Peter Aroz, who both finished at a 36-hole total 145. Marks, who was alone in second going into the day followed his net 69 with a net 76, while Aroz followed a net 71 with a net 74.
The shot of the tournament also came in the President’s Flight as Rishi Prashad scored an ace on No. 15 with a 9-iron. He said it felt good when he hit it and then witnessed it one-hop, hit the pin and find the bottom of the cup. It was Prashad’s second ever hole-in-one, but this one was truly special to him coming at the famed links of Spyglass.
“It’s a memory I’ll take with me forever,” he said.
Jerry Minkoff won the Director’s Flight by shooting a net score of 10-under par. Minkoff followed his exceptional 66 from Monday with an impressive net 68 for a 134 total.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much, I was just trying to get it near the hole and sink my putts,” he explained of his solid play.
This is the third time Minkoff has played in the Public Links Championship in the last eight years and the first time he’s placed. He said it felt good to find the winner’s circle this time around. Finishing in a tie for second was Rick Gracia and Paul Foxworthy at 143. Gracia followed his first day net score of 71 with a net 72, while Foxworthy posted a 73 after a first round 70.
April 2, 2012
by Spencer Sorensen
PEBBLE BEACH – Despite sunny skies and light breezes, scoring proved to be tough at Spyglass Hill on Monday. Group after group that came into the scoring area after their rounds and much of the sentiment was the same: Players showed disappointment and mentioned the tough course setup. The one player who was fairly pleased with his round was Ricky Stockton of Salinas, who posted a two-over 74 to take the 18-hole lead. Stockton explained he wasn’t necessarily hitting the ball great, converting only about half of his greens in regulation, but was able to get up-and-down on many spots throughout the course.
Only a shot behind Stockton is Fairfield’s Barry Logar. For the second year in a row Logar will be in the final group and this year he hopes to come out of it with a win. His 75 consisted of five bogeys and two birdies, one of those coming on the number one handicap hole on the course, the uphill eighth hole. In a three-way tie for third are Russell Nygard, Trent Tessler and Andy Nevin, who all posted a respective 76. Two of those three will join Stockton and Logar in tomorrow’s final group. Still not out of it and three shots back of the leader at five-over par are (current NCGA Senior Player of the Year) Jim Knoll, Danny Paniccia and Jeff Gilchrist.
Stockton has been in similar situations in the NCGA Public Links a couple times prior after a solid first round. Two years ago in the 2010 Public Links he had the solo 18-hole lead after a first round 72. The next day however, turned out to be a dreadful day as he shot a final round of 80 to tie for fourth. In 2009 he held the 18-hole lead with William Moore and Brandon McNally after a first round 72. Unfortunately for Stockton he wasn’t able to duplicate or better his first round score and lost by two shots over eventual winner Moore. The 25-year-old hopes this year the third time is the charm and that he won’t have another top-five finish. He feels pretty good about his game coming off a recent win at the Salinas City Amateur despite being busy with life.
“I feel I have a little bit [of momentum from the recent win], but I haven’t played too many rounds this year because I work full-time,” said Stockton.
The final round of the 47th Public Links Championship will commence at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.