21st Annual Stocker Cup - October 25-28, 2012
|2012 Stocker Cup Champion Kevin Marsh|
CARMEL, Calif. (October 28, 2012) - All week Stocker Cup champion Kevin Marsh likened a 72-hole stroke-play championship to a marathon. In the final round of the event, he went against that notion, becoming more of a sprinter in coming from behind to post a five-shot win.
After lurking near the top of the leader board for the first three rounds, the champion was quick out of the box, seizing control with a stellar, course-record-pace 32 on the Preserve’s front nine, highlighted by four birdies in the first five holes. The 39-year-old began with perhaps the tournament’s only birdie on the tough 442-yard par-4 first hole. “You just try to keep it going,” the reining California State Amateur said. “Then once you get a lead, you start protecting it a little.”
Indeed, by the end of the outgoing nine, Marsh was up seven shots on the struggling third-round leader, Brady Exber. The four-ball partners (they’ve captured the prestigious Champions Cup in Houston three of the last four years) then traded birdies on the back nine, but it was a little too late to have an impact on first place. “Fortunately I had enough cushion to get it to the house,” Marsh said in reference to the four bogeys he carded on the back nine.
Those bogeys kept first-round leader Dave Nelson’s record 65 safe for another year (that 65 was posted during the 2004 Stocker Cup).
Exber didn’t come home empty handed; the 56-year-old captured the Tatum trophy for the second straight year. The award is presented to the top "A" golfers aged 55 and older. Exber also captured the “A” player portion of the Elliot Cup, a 54-hole best-ball team competition that pits one of the scratch A-Players with a B-Player competing at 90% of his assigned handicap. Dan Lynch earned the honor for “B” players.
Defending champion Randy Haag of San Francisco finished in a tie for third with past champion Craig Doell and fellow Olympic Club member Mark Mance. The three were 11 shots back of the champion.
For Marsh, the title caps a year that saw the Dragon Ridge CC member win the California State Amateur and Carlton Woods Invitational and finish runner-up at the Crump Cup at Pine Valley, New Jersey. Only a hot Randy Haag in last year’s Stocker Cup separates Marsh from four straight titles on a Preserve Golf Club he clearly dominates. “I just love this course,” the champion said. “If fits my game perfectly. There’s a lot of room off the tee and I make a lot of putts. It’s really fun to win.”
From all appearances, Stocker Cups in the near future will have Marsh in or near the winner’s circle.
Watching the conviviality between Marsh and Exber was a treat. After jarring a long par-saving putt on the tough 15th hole, Exber approached his four-ball partner (and fellow southern Nevadan) for what he described as "a little love." Instead he got a good-natured shove.
All four past champions in the field made the cut - Marsh, Haag, Craig Doell and Joe Sanders. All four finished in the top seven, a testament to the enduring quality of their play. Stocker Cup champions have games built to last.
Final Round Photo Gallery
Tournament organizers George Kelley (left) and Erik
Stocker with Tatum and
Elliot trophy winner Brady Exber
CARMEL, Calif. (October 27, 2012) – Brady Exber slapped at
a drive on his final hole, half-laughing while he watched it with a
“I don’t have much confidence in my swing,” said Exber, a member of the Las Vegas Hall of Fame. “Every shot I hit feels like that.”
Maybe he should start teaching that swing. Through three days at the Stocker Cup, it’s been better than everyone else in the prestigious national amateur field.
Exber tied for the low round of the day on Saturday, shooting a two-under 70 at The Preserve Golf Club, and will protect a one-stroke lead over two-time Stocker Cup champion Kevin Marsh heading into Sunday’s final round.
“I wish I had a little more confidence in my swing,” said Exber, who is two-under for the tournament. “I shot 75 the first day, and that feels like how I’m playing, not 69, 70. I’m very surprised.”
Exber began the third round tied for the lead with Mike Rowley, who shot a 74 and sits in third place, four strokes back at two over. Exber has shot five-under the last two rounds, giving himself a seven-stroke cushion over fourth place.
“Brady is playing well,” said Rowley when he heard about Exber’s third round. “That’s very good playing. There are a lot of really good players who can have a hot round, but you can also go backwards out here.”
Marsh felt like he got his worst round of the tournament out of the way on Friday when he shot 74, before bouncing back to tie Exber’s 70 on Saturday.
“My theory out here is in a four-round tournament, you are going to have one really bad round, and if you can limit the damage to 75 or better, then you’re OK,” said Marsh, who won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
The only other player to shoot under par on Saturday was Heath Myers, who fired a 71 to climb into a tie for fourth with Robert Funk at five over. Myers has had an uphill battle since opening with a 78, but his last two rounds have been 72-71.
“I definitely thought it was a couple shots harder than yesterday,” Marsh said. “You try to make par on every hole and sneak in a couple birdies on the par 5s.”
Edward Sanchez began Saturday one stroke off the lead, but posted a 78 to fall into a tie for seventh with defending Stocker Cup champion Randy Haag, who shot 77.
First-round leader David Nelson showed that its difficult to get too comfortable at the Preserve, making the cut on the number (68-82-75) to sneak inside the top 16 and ties.
“You can play well and shoot over par easily out here,” Marsh said.
Dan Lynch held off Tom Graunke by one stroke to win the Elliott Cup. Lynch, who had an ace at No. 16 on Friday, teamed up with Roman Mudd to finish at 20 under. Lynch’s group shot 67 Saturday after posting a 63 Friday, and a 66 in the opening round. The Elliott Cup is calculated by pairing one of the scratch “A” player with a “B” Player competing at 90% of his assigned handicap.
After opening with rounds of 70 and 69 while paired with Exber, Paul Hamilton tied a Stocker Cup record with a 59 to zoom all the way into a tie for third with Mike Machette at 18 under in the “B” field.
Exber is also leading the Tatum Cup, a sub-tournament for players 55 and over. Exber has an 11-shot lead over Nelson. Bob Burton is 12 back, while Dan Bieber is 14 behind.
Dan Lynch - Elliot Trophy winner, George Kelley, amateurgolf.com's Pete Wlodkowski
and Erik Stocker
Paul Hamilton (3rd place net), Pete Wlodkowski
and Erik Stocker
Third Round Photo Gallery
CARMEL, Calif. (October 26, 2012) - Senior golfers continue to hold the lead at the mid-point of the 21st annual Stocker Cup at The Preserve GC.
Mike Rowley of San Luis Obispo and Brady Exber of Las Vegas stand at even-par 144.
The 50-year-old Rowley carded a second-round, one-under 71 that paired with a consistent opening 73. The San Luis Obispo CC member is the owner of Straight Down (golf clothing company that provides tee gifts for the competitors) and has a laissez-faire attitude that translates into a good groove: “My expectations are low so that kind of helps. I think I’m blessed to enjoy the walk and not get too wrapped up in the game.” That approach and a hot, four-under stretch on holes seven through nine translates into a one-shot advantage and a share of the lead.
Exber, a member of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame, began his round with what he described as a “miraculous” up-and-down for par on the first hole. After a double bogey on the tough 15th, Exber’s sixth hole of the day, the 56-year-old kicked into gear, closing the first nine with birdies and later finishing his round with three birdies in the last four holes en route to a three-under 69.
Two-time champion Kevin Marsh of Henderson, NV stands in second and is still in the hunt after carding a two-over 74. A double and triple bogey offset five birdies in the 39-year-old’s round. “I didn’t shoot myself out of it,” he said. Marsh is tied with Edward Sanchez of San Antonio, TX at one-over 145 for the championship.
Defending champion Randy Haag of San Francisco is two shots back after a second-round one-under 71. Haag is seeking his fourth Stocker Cup title.
First-round leader David Nelson or Reno, NV wasn’t able to sustain his hot early play, posting a 10-over 82 in the second round. “It’s such a fine line between a good and bad round here,” the 56-year-old said in reference to a few shots that spun off the green
Rowley and Exber share the lead in the battle for the Tatum Cup, for "A" golfers aged 55 and older. Exber won the Tatum Cup last year.
Dan Lynch of the Stillwater Cove Golfing Society has the lead in the Elliott Cup, a 54-hole best-ball team competition that pits one of the scratch A-Players with a B-Player competing at 90% of his assigned handicap. Lynch and partner Hank McCusker posted a tournament-low 61 powered by Lynch’s hole-in-one on the 16th hole Friday. Lynch's 126 total has him up four strokes. The Elliot Trophy is presented after Saturday's third round.
The third round commences Saturday with starting times beginning at 9:00 a.m. The top 16 "A" players and ties along with the top 4 senior players advance to the final round on Sunday.
The shots of the day came from Lynch and Scott Clark of Diablo CC, who both aced the 16th hole - tough luck in the skins game when even a hole in one doesn't win the pot.
The field certainly has enormous respect for the 7,067-yard Preserve. The Tom Fazio design has yielded only 16 rounds of par or better out of 100 rounds from the elite A-player field.
Second Round Photo Gallery
CARMEL, Calif. (October 25, 2012) - David Nelson of Reno, NV has staked a three-shot lead after the first round of the 21st annual Stocker Cup at The Preserve GC.
The new grandfather – daughter Kassia recently gave birth to his first grandson – posted a 68. The Montreux member has the course record at the difficult Tom Fazio-designed Preserve GC, a 65 produced during the 2004 Stocker Cup. Thursday’s hot round came on the power of seven birdies, including a kick-in three on no. 10 to start the tournament (Nelson began on the back nine). “It’s always nice to hit a quality shot and get rewarded,” the 56-year-old said. A double bogey on no. 1 was perhaps the only blemish on the day. But the four-time Nevada State Amateur champion recovered to post three additional birdies to close out the round.
Two-time champion Kevin Marsh of Henderson, Nevada and Tal Tartaglia of Reedley lie in second place. Marsh, the current California State Amateur champion, carded five birdies against four bogeys in producing his one-under 71. “The course is softer so the greens aren’t as tricky as they normally are,” the 39-year-old said. “But you have to be careful. This is a four-round marathon and it’s nice to get off to a good start.”
Tartaglia earned his spot in the field via a co-medalist performance at a qualifier held at StoneTree GC.
Nelson also has the lead in the race for the Tatum Cup, for "A" golfers aged 55 and older while Bob Burton of Scottsdale, AZ is in second. Burton carded an even-par 72, a score that led most of the day. “I’m very happy,” the Estancia Club member said. "I made a couple of putts and didn’t have any big numbers like you can have out here.”
Burton is also tied for third in the overall standings with Robert Funk of Canyon Lake, CA.
Martin Connolly of The Olympic Club, Mike Machette of Claremont CC and Dan Kreer of Corral de Tierra are tied for the lead in the Elliott Cup, a 54-hole best-ball team competition that pits one of the scratch A-Players with a B-Player competing at 90% of his assigned handicap. Connolly and partner Steve Fink of Las Vegas, Machette and partner Greg Kennedy and Kreer and partner David Nelson carded net best-ball 64s. The Elliot Trophy is presented after Saturday's third round.
The second round commences Friday with starting times beginning at 9:00 a.m. The top 16 "A" players and ties along with the top 4 senior players advance to the final round on Sunday.
The four most recent champions are in the field, representing eight of the 20 past Stocker Cups. All four are in the running including Marsh (2009-2010), Joe Sanders (2008) and Craig Doell (2004 and 2007) who both shot 74, and Randy Haag (1992, 1997 and 2011) who carded a 75.
Two seniors are in the top five on the leader board, including David Nelson and Bob Burton.
San Luis Obispo's Straight Down is back for the third year providing custom-embroidered clothing for the tournament field.
First Round Photo Gallery
ABOUT THE STOCKER CUP: The Stocker Cup, played in memory of Peter Stocker, is held each October at The Preserve Golf Club in Carmel. The field is comprised of 56 world-class mid-amateur invitees, who meet stringent eligibility requirements, and pay a minimal fee for their participation. The A-list golfers are complimented by a matching number of qualified B-list competitors, with invitations extended to friends, relatives and associates of the late Peter Stocker, as well as to various sponsors and other supporters of the event. Every A-player is teamed with a B-player in a handicapped best-ball competition held simultaneously with the individual stroke-championship. The Stocker Cup is a Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Rankings points event. (Visit http://www.golfweek.com/amateur/rankings to view the complete list.)
ABOUT PETER STOCKER: Peter C. Stocker was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and educated at Denison University and the University of Denver. Peter and his wife Cathy came to San Francisco in the early 1970s. He exhibited entrepreneurial skills early in his career as he developed the internationally recognized "ParCourse" exercise and jogging trails. In 1974, Peter and his partners Bill Harlan and John Montgomery founded the Pacific Union Company of San Francisco, a highly successful real estate development firm. Pacific Union developed Meadowood Resort and Merryvale Vineyards in the Napa Valley, Opera Plaza in San Francisco's Civic Center and began the development of what was then known as Rancho San Carlos (and is now called The Preserve) a 20,000-acre private ranch near Carmel Valley. In the mid-1980s, Peter received national acclaim for his attempt to build a new downtown baseball stadium for the Giants, which ultimately came to fruition in 1998. He was also the developer of the highly touted Chardonnay Golf Club in the Napa Valley. His visionary talent and inspirational leadership were truly unique. Peter died in a tragic helicopter accident at Rancho San Carlos in 1990. The Stocker Cup Invitational was established in his memory the following year.