August 17, 2007
PEBBLE BEACH -In a 19-hole final match that provided a fitting conclusion to the inaugural NCGA Senior Match Play Championship, Merced’s Rob Thompson defeated Carl Selkirk of Butte Creek at Spyglass Hill.
Thompson’s 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th to win the hole extended a match that saw neither player ever establish more than a 1-up lead. A par on the ensuing extra hole secured the championship for Thompson.
A few holes before, Selkirk birdied the 16th hole to square the match, and then took advantage of an errant Thompson (right) drive on 17 to establish a 1-up lead, setting the stage for Thompson’s heroic 18th hole.
“I thought I had to do something special,” the champion said regarding his birdie. “That’s why I was aggressive on both shots.”
Both players brought extensive records of successful senior competition to the final match. Selkirk was NCGA Senior Player of the Year in 2002 and 2003. The 63-year-old insurance broker played professionally from 1995 – 1998. Thompson was the Senior Player of the Year in 2005 and captured State Senior Championship in 2004. The retired teacher currently is second in the running for Senior Player of the Year honors.
Selkirk (left) was reflective after losing his 1-up lead in the final holes: That’s the beauty of match play. That’s what makes it fun.” The San Francisco City Senior champion was most appreciative of the opportunity, saying, “The key to this whole experience was getting to play Spyglass.”
All the competitors in the 16-player invitational field were effusive in their praise of having the chance to play one of Northern California’s finest championship courses in a match-play format.
Indeed, the honor of winning the inaugural championship was not lost on Thompson, who said, “It’s always great to be the first name on a trophy.”