NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship
July 12-14, 2013
July 14, 2013
by Spencer Sorensen
SEASIDE – Ben Geyer did something Sunday that nobody has done in the modern era of the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship. The 21-year-old became the first player to defend his title, winning the 10th annual event by nine strokes with a 54-hole total of 205, 11-under-par at Bayonet GC.
Geyer, who held a three-shot lead going into Sunday’s final round after rounds of 70 and 67, fired a 68 on Sunday for a third straight day of under-par golf, routing the rest of the field. Starting off his round with a little shakiness by making bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5, the 2012 NCGA Player of the Year looked like he might be in a trouble early and he knew it.
“I felt like I had a really bad mindset starting out,” said Geyer, who had a couple of birdie chances in the first couple holes that he didn’t convert.
“Once I didn’t make those couple birdies early, I started thinking negatively that I might not make any putts today.”
However, the Arbuckle native quickly got things together going five-under on four-hole stretch. Beginning on the eighth hole, Geyer made a birdie on the par-5 and then added another on the ninth to go out with a 36. Then on the par-5 10th he made an eagle-3 and then followed that up with a birdie on the 11th. From there on out, Geyer cruised to the finish-line making six pars and adding another birdie on the 16th to come in with a 32.
“I was playing not to lose and then all of a sudden I woke up out there,” he said.
The NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship has actually had back-to-back champions in its history before going dormant in 1966. The last back-to-back champion was over 50 years ago when Verne Callison claimed back-to-back titles in 1958-59, with the two others being Talbert Smith in 56-57, and recently inducted World Golf Hall of Famer Ken Venturi in 51-52.
“Those are some pretty good names to be in the company of,” said Geyer. “It feels awesome.”
As far as trying to become the first player ever to win three consecutive titles in the championship, it looks to not be in the cards for Geyer. The recently graduated business major at St. Mary’s College plans to turn professional next month after hopefully participating in the U.S. Amateur–assuming he qualifies. With that likelihood this will have been the Geyer’s final NCGA event and he’s glad to have been associated with the NCGA over the last few years.
“I’m going to miss playing amateur golf,” he said. “Meeting the NCGA [volunteers and staff] they are all really nice people and very generous with their time.”
Earning second and third place medals by finishing in a tie for second place at 214, two-under-par were Robby Salomon and Matt Williams. Both players played in the penultimate group on Sunday, beginning the final round with a 143 total, and each fired a one-under-par 71 on Sunday. Salomon earned the second place medal via a scorecard playoff, thanks to a great back-nine. After opening with a 37 on the front nine, Salomon made two birdies and no bogeys for a 34 over his final nine. Williams, who took home the third place medal, feasted on pars making 15 on Sunday to go along with two birdies and one bogey, firing a 36 on the front and 35 on the back.
Mike Stieler and Johnny Partridge were the only other two golfers to come in with a 54-hole total that was under-par as both players tied for fourth at 215, one-under-par. To round out the top 10, there were five players tied for sixth at 216, even-par: Sebastian Crampton, Cody Robinson, Kenny Maroney, Jason Anthony and Amay Poria.
The championship site and date for 2014 have yet to be determined.
July 13, 2013
by Spencer Sorensen
SEASIDE – Ben Geyer is at it again.
The defending Stroke Play champion played brilliantly on Saturday at the 10th Annual NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship, firing a five-under-par 67 at Bayonet GC to take a three-shot lead going into tomorrow’s final round. Geyer, who opened up with a two-under-par 70 on Friday, improved on his game on Saturday converting an eagle, four birdies and only one bogey for a 67, posting a 36-hole total of 137.
“It was nice to have a stress-free round like that today,” he said.
Starting off the No. 10 tee, Geyer made birdies on Nos. 10, 13 and 17 to turn with a 33. Then, on the par-5 first Geyer opened his back-nine by rolling in a 20-foot eagle putt on the front fringe to get to five-under. The rest of the nine was rather pedestrian for the 2012 NCGA Player of the Year as he made six pars a birdie (No. 5) and a bogey (No. 8).
Tomorrow, Geyer will try to become the first player in modern history of the event to win back-to-back titles. In fact, the last time there was a player successful in his NCGA Stroke Play title defense was Verne Callison in 1958 and ’59.
“It’s good to have [last year’s title] to lean back on,” said Geyer. “But there are a lot of guys out here that can shoot 65 or better, so I need to make sure I stay in control of my ball.”
In second place and joining Geyer in the final group is Amay Poria, who has a 36-hole score of 140, four-under-par. Poria had the clubhouse lead after the morning wave and held it until Geyer finished his second round shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
Following his first round 71, the Morgan Hill resident had a 69 on Saturday in the first group out Saturday morning to post a 140. Starting off the No. 10 tee, the 17-year-old proved on his front nine that he could score making birdies on Nos. 10, 11 and 18, but also had the same amount of mistakes with bogeys on Nos. 13, 15 and 16 for a 36. On his back nine Poria shored up those mistakes making no bogeys and adding three birdies on Nos. 3, 4 and 6 to come in with a 33.
Tying Poria for the low score of the morning and also joining him and Geyer in the final group is Mathew Miller. The Pleasanton resident’s 69, three-under-par began by opening up with a birdie on the first hole and trading a bogey on No. 6 with a birdie on No. 7 to turn at 35. On the back nine, Miller then got hot with birdies on Nos. 10, 12 and 14, before making a bogey on No. 17 to come in with a 34. Miller’s 69 along with his first round score of 73 one-over-par, puts him alone in third place at 142, two-under-par.
First-round leader, Matthew Crawford will be fourth player in the final group as he followed his first round 68 with a 75 on Saturday to stand at a 143 one-under-par 36-hole total. Crawford struggled on Saturday with five bogeys and two birdies, after doing almost the exact opposite on Friday with six birdies and two bogeys.
“It was a tough day, where I just didn’t hit it solid,” he said. “Luckily, there’s still 18 holes tomorrow.”
Tied with Crawford in fourth place at 143, one-under-par is Matt Williams and Robby Salomon. Williams followed his first round 73 with a two-under-par 70, while Salomon followed his first round two-over-par 74 with a second round three-over-par 69.
The 36-hole cut fell at a score of 150, six-over-par with 48 players advancing to Sunday’s final round. Play will begin on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. with all players teeing off the first hole and the leaders teeing off at 9:20 a.m.
July 12, 2013
by Spencer Sorensen
SEASIDE – After the first round of the 10th Annual NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship Matthew Crawford leads with a score of four-under-par 68. The 20-year-old from Redwood City was one of just eight players to post an under-par score at Bayonet GC, on a day where players from the morning wave took advantage of warmer temperatures and lighter winds.
Crawford’s round included six birdies and two bogeys as he fired a 34 on each nine. Starting off with a bogey after the par-4 second, the 20-year-old then rolled-in three birdies on Nos. 5, 6 and 8. The Redwood City resident then made a birdie on No. 10, before taking a bogey on No. 14, but closed with birdies on Nos. 16 and 18.
“I was just hitting my clubs the right distances,” said Crawford. “I try not to think too much, I was playing pretty mindlessly.”
Going into tomorrow with the lead he’ll try once again not to overthink his game and will go in with a fresh start.
“I wouldn’t say I need to carry any momentum over to tomorrow,” he said. “Hitting the first tee shot on the first hole is the only thing I can focus on.”
Also playing in the morning wave and posting sub-70 rounds were Jason Anthony and Andrej Bevins, who are currently tied for second. Anthony of Fairfield was the early clubhouse leader posting his three-under-par 69 an hour before Bevins. The 30-year-old mid-amateur had five birdies and two bogeys in his round, with most of his action occurring on the back nine. After making a single birdie and bogey on the front nine, Anthony would make four birdies on Nos. 10, 13, 16 and 17 with his lone bogey coming on the par-4 12th.
Bevins, the recently graduated high school senior, fired his three-under-par 69 thanks to seven birdies on his card. However, despite his plethora of birdies, the 18-year-old also had four bogeys. Starting off No. 10, Bevins countered birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 with bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 to turn at 36. Then on his back nine, the 2012 Hanna-Wehrman Cup team member made five birdies on Nos. 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8 with his bogeys coming on the sixth and ninth. Bevins attributed his solid play in part due to an affinity for the course.
“I like this course, it’s neat,” he said. “It’s a good challenge, you have to hit some good shots and work the ball.”
Defending champion Ben Geyer finds himself in nice position after Friday’s first round with a score of two-under-par 70 to tie for fourth. The 2012 NCGA Player of the Year had five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on Friday, for the same opening round score he posted last year.
Joining him in fourth place at two-under-par 70 is Gary Dunn, who posted the low round of the afternoon. The 38-year-old from Granite Bay, who started off the No. 10 tee, traded his birdie on No. 13 for a bogey on No. 14 to turn at 36. Then on the back nine, Dunn opened with a bogey on the par-5 first, before making birdies on Nos. 3, 5 and 7 to finish with a 34 on his back nine.
Other players to post under-par scores Friday were Cody Robinson, Mike Stieler and Amay Poria who each fired a one-under-par 71. Robinson and Stieler’s round came in the morning, while Poria posted his in the afternoon.
Tomorrow’s second round will again be a double-wave of tee times with the players reversing roles (Friday morning players going out in the afternoon, and Friday afternoon players teeing off in the morning). At the conclusion of Saturday’s second round the top 40 and ties will advance to Sunday’s final round. Currently, 48 players are at three-over-par or better.