Poppy Hills GC June 20 – 22
June 22, 2007
PEBBLE BEACH – It has taken 25 years for history to be made. Winning the CGA State Amateur in 1982 and now taking the 2007 State Senior Amateur, it came as no surprise that Gary Vanier was the man to do it first.
Gary Vanier’s shot from the 18th fairway set up the winning eagle putt.
With numerous trophies under his belt, the Pleasant Hill resident has one more big one to add to his collection. As one of the most noted California amateur golfers, Vanier’s face has been on numerous leaderboards, but has also come up shy in his amateur career. “It’s nice to be the first to accomplish this; it just means I have played a lot of good quality golf for a long time,” Vanier stated about his history-making win. A runner-up in the State Senior tournament last year (after losing in a playoff) as well as in the 1999 State Amateur, Vanier knows what it takes to fight for a victory.
The Olympic Club member’s impressive one-over-par 73 final round and three-round total of 221 was just enough to edge out Steve Rhorer and 36-hole leader Rob Thompson of Merced. At the 18th tee, Vanier understood that he had to do something special to stay in the race: “I knew I had to make eagle. I was going for it and it was either going to happen, or I was going to be in the woods.” After watching Rhorer make birdie on the par-5, Vanier’s five-foot eagle putt stood between the championship and a playoff. With pressure on, Vanier calmly stroked his ball into the hole for the win.
As for first-time participant Rhorer, the idea of finishing runner-up was not on his mind. “I didn’t even know Gary’s score. I wasn’t keeping it and I really wanted to just focus on my own game. I heard that we were tied as I went down the 18th fairway,” the Costa Mesa resident stated. Though not involved in many senior amateur events, Rhorer won the SCGA Senior Masters in 2004 as well as the SCGA Senior Four-Ball this year.
Champion Gary Vanier, runner-up Steve Rhorer and third-place finisher Rob Thompson.
Thompson failed to fire up his putter and was unable to sustain the lead. The 2004 champion of this event seemed pleased with his efforts though not the outcome. The reigning champion, Steve Bogan of Placentia, finished in a tie for sixth with a three-day total of 226. As with Thompson, Bogan’s efforts will allow him to participate in next year’s event at Poppy Hills as an exempt player.
With the sun setting and the gallery clearing out, all that was left was Vanier’s history-making win.
As more great champions of the State Amateur becoming eligible for senior competition, the question becomes – who will be next?
|Gary Vanier||Pleasant Hill||73||75||73||-||221|
|Steve Rhorer||Costa Mesa||73||76||73||-||222|
|Merton Goode||San Francisco||78||74||74||-||226|
|Tom Lewandowski||Rancho Murieta||80||73||74||-||227|
|Warren Caves||Newport Beach||78||73||76||-||227|
|Lee Jeberjahn||San Luis Obispo||71||77||79||-||227|
|Rich Tolly||Laguna Hills||75||77||76||-||228|
|Bruce Swanson||Foster City||76||78||77||-||231|
|Kemp Richardson||Laguna Niguel||80||71||81||-||232|
|Steve DeLine||Yorba Linda||79||75||80||-||234|
|Gary Shemano||San Francisco||76||78||81||-||235|
|Rick Firman||San Juan Capistrano||78||75||82||-||235|
|Boyd Martin||Corona del Mar||79||75||82||-||236|
|Robert Forster||Huntington Beach||75||76||85||-||236|