Masters time for Kruljac; SVGC play; Presentation, Bottomfeeders tourneys; Adobe Creek to reopen
For a professional golfer receiving an invitation to the Masters is one of the most thrilling feelings in the game.
Every year through the mail, invitations are sent to the various players asking them to participate in the first major of the year. It’s not just players who get these thrilling invitations, many fans wait anxiously each year to see if they have been lucky enough to receive an invitation to apply for tickets to the storied tournament.
Arguably the most prized ticket in all sports, these tickets are surprisingly inexpensive, if you can get one. The weekly passes have been sold out for years and rarely do they come up for sale, meaning a waiting list has been full for many years. Practice-round tickets are available yearly, but in order to get one, a lottery system is used.
For the past nine years, former Sonoma Valley High School Principal Bob Kruljac has been waiting to hear the great news and this year, he finally got the invitation he had been waiting for, the ability to buy two tickets for the Tuesday practice-round.
Kruljac and his wife, Wendy, flew into Atlanta, Ga., and made the two-hour trip south to Augusta on Monday night, eagerly anticipating the chance to walk around the historic fairways.
When discussing the condition of the course Kruljac’s eyes lit up, “It is beyond perfect, there is absolutely nothing out of place,” he said, adding, “It is also very undulating, more than you can image from the TV.”
He was also amazed at the nominal prices for things like food and memorabilia, such as hats, saying, “It was true Southern hospitality.”
Kruljac said he’ll keep his name on the lottery list for next year, just in case his number comes up again, perhaps for a different day..
The Sonoma Valley Golf Club has been busy the last two weeks playing at their home course, Eagle Vines Golf Club in Napa.
On April 12, Fred Martin claimed the top spot in the Flight No. 1 with his impressive score of 65. Five-shots back of Martin was Ed Cebula with his round of 70, while Leon Valle grabbed third with his round of 71. The top-five was rounded out by Gary Routt and Ron Sharek, who both carded 73s, before Routt was awarded fourth and Sharek had to settle for fifth in a scorecard playoff.
In Flight No. 2, Bob Koida navigated the course with great success on his way to a round of 68. Joe Runion, Dave Voepel and Bud Schuerman all shot 71, and after the scorecard playoff, Runion took home second, while Voepel grabbed third and Schuerman had to settle for fourth. Harry Tistle grabbed the final podium spot with a 73.
Flight No. 3 saw a battle with Wayne Peterson coming out on top with a 67, one-shot ahead of Charles Avery’s 68. Herb Seidell’s 73 was good enough for third-place, while Pete LaVault and Tom Reynolds both carded 73s before LaVault walked away with fourth after the scorecard playoff.
In closest-to-the-pin action, Ross Martin walked away with the shot of the day on the island-green sixth hole, with a shot to just 2 feet, 2 inches. Jerry VanWallinga showed his iron game was on song, with a shot to 7-2, while Matt Marioni found the 12th to his liking, firing a shot to just 1-2. The final par-3 of the day, the 15th, was no match for Hugh McNeilly, who fired a shot to 5-3.
Presentation School’s 11th annual Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, May 9, at the Sonoma Golf Club and will benefit the students of the Presentation School.
Cost for this year’s event is $195 a player, or $780 for a foursome which includes golf with cart, tee-prize, photograph of your foursome, box lunch and dinner, catered by the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, immediately following the tourney. For those who just want to attend the dinner and awards ceremony, tickets can be purchased for $65.
As always, there will be a longest drive competition, closest-to-the-pin competition and prizes for the winner of the scramble event. The tournament gets underway with a registration opening at 11 a.m., followed by a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start, with the reception beginning at 5, and the dinner and live auction starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information, or to inquire about potential sponsorship of the event, contact Nancy Bei at 935-0122, ext. 202, or visit presentationschool.com.
Murphy’s Irish Pub’s 15th annual Bottomfeeders Open Golf Tournament will once again take place at Oakmont’s West Course in Santa Rosa, with the event set for Friday, May 27, and it will once again benefit Vintage House in Sonoma.
Tournament entry fee is $160 a player, or if you sign up for a foursome, the cost is $600 for the group, and includes golf with cart, a sleeve of golf balls, a tee-prize, as well as a box lunch, beer and other refreshments on the course.
Someone could also walk away with a nice check, as a $10,000 hole-in-one prize will be offered for the lucky person who makes an ace during the event. A buffet dinner featuring prime rib and salmon follows at the Vintage House, along with a hosted beer and wine awards ceremony.
The event gets underway with check-in at 11:30 a.m., followed by a shot-gun start at 12:30 p.m. The hosted beer and wine bar starts at 6, and the awards dinner is at 7:30 p.m. Anyone interested in attending just the dinner portion can do so for a cost of $60. For more information, or to get a registration form, go to www.vintagehouse.org, or call the Vintage House at 996-0311, or Murphy’s at 935-0660.
It might not be too long before local golfers have Adobe Creek Golf Course in Petaluma available to play once again.
The course, which has been closed since December, was recently purchased by Sonoma County Developer Bill Gallaher. Gallaher was one of the founding members of Fountaingrove Golf and Athletic Club in North Santa Rosa, but might be more recognizable as one of the developers of Oakmont, just off Highway 12 between Sonoma and Santa Rosa, where he built approximately 400 homes.
In recent years, he has opened First Community Bank in 2005 and overseas several real estate companies that own and run senior communities throughout the United States. Although no plans have been made public, it looks like the management group that runs nearby Rooster Run, as well as Windsor Golf Club, will be taking over the day-to-day operations of the course. Early reports indicate that the course will receive a new irrigation system, and possibly have some of the greens replaced.
Opened in 1990, Adobe Creek was the first new course built in the southern Sonoma County area in many years and offered players the chance to play a Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course. At one point, the course was doing close to 60,000 rounds a year and had a men’s golf club membership of approximately 500.
Several different owners and changes in management saw the course’s condition decline in recent years and its owners, JG Orbis, filed for bankruptcy in March 2010, and then defaulted on a $6 million loan which eventually shut the course at the end of last year. Gallaher purchased the 120 acre property last month for $2.3 million.
Having been closed for the past five months, many of the bunkers have overgrown, however, the fairways and greens have been cut on a semi-regular basis. A re-opening date has not been set, but it’s a good bet that with the summer approaching quickly, the new owner and management group will want to get golfers back on the fairways and greens before too long.
The debate has been going on for years – if your life depended on a putt, who would you want hitting it?
Paul Azinger recently was asked the question and didn’t say Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods, he quite simply said “me.”
Azinger figured that he has more at stake and would concentrate more than perhaps Woods or Nicklaus.