August 15, 2007
PEBBLE BEACH – The first and second rounds of match play of the NCGA Amateur featured the usual mix of stellar play and upsets, as the #1 and 3 – 9 seeds were defeated.
Jeremy Gearhart (right) played the role of giant killer first, taking out perhaps the hottest player coming into the championship, Casey Boyns, in the second round. Gearhart’s win on the 19th hole capped a hot 10-hole stretch that saw both players shoot three-under-par. Boyns, who had won the NCGA Stroke Play and Master Division championships in the last month, tied the match via birdies on Spyglass’ tough 16th and 18th holes. Gearhart claimed the win with a birdie on the first extra hole.
“He’s the man out here,” Gearhart said of his opponent. “I’ve known that since I was 19.” At 23, the Vista del Hombre member has just returned to the amateur ranks after a stint on the Hooters Tour. The Amateur is his first big event after capturing the San Luis Obispo County Championship earlier in the summer.
Gary Tewell (below) also played a starring role in a major upset, beating medalist and #1 seed Scott Hardy 3 and 1. The 22-year-old lefthanded Tri-Valley GC member faces Jeff Lyons of Tracy GCC in the quarterfinals Thursday morning.
Perhaps the match of the day was staged in the morning’s first round, as 56-year-old Gary Vanier waged an epic duel with four-ball partner and fellow Olympic Club member John Enright. The match stretched to 26 holes before Vanier won with a par on the 8th hole. Enright, at age 57, and Vanier are both eligible for the Senior Match Play Championship that began this afternoon at Spyglass. But both players have strong ties to the event for younger players. “This is such a great tournament – we both have the goal to still make match play at age 60,” Enright said. Perhaps tired from his earlier match, Vanier lost in the afternoon to Peninsula GCC’s Kory Storer 2 and 1. Storer, 35 years Vanier’s junior at age 21, will face Gearhart in the quarterfinals in a match of upset winners.
Randy Haag, the #2 seed, looked like he was joining the parade of top seeds losing in the second round, but mounted a stong comeback propelled by a birdie on the 16th hole. Haag then won his match over Andrew Moren 1-up with a par on the final hole. The Olympic Club member faces Teal Bend’s Steven Chung, a 5 and 4 winner over the #7 seed Freddy Wolfe of Claremont CC.
The last major upset of the day came when the #3 seed Steve Sear of Scratch Players made bogey on the final hole to lose to Granite Bay’s Ryan Hallisey 1-up. Hallisey will face the Olympic Club’s Jon Peterson in the quarterfinals. Peterson is one of five Olympic Club members to qualify for match play.
The quaterfinals and semifinals are set for Thursday with the scheduled 36-hole final slated for Friday.