SMGA wraps up for 2012; my annual tourneys of the year
The Sonoma Men’s Golf Association wrapped up its season on Dec. 9, at nearby Adobe Creek Golf Course in Petaluma. The event was played in a Stableford scoring format, with points awarded to the players for scores of par or better.
Leading the way in the net division was Roger Rannikar who had a fine 72-point total. Kay Groft finished in second place with 68 points, while Bob Jennings and John Bogardus had 66 each and were third and fourth, respectively, after a card-off, which was also used to break a tie between Mike Lucas and Conny Gustaffson at 61, with a card-off giving Lucas fifth and Gustaffson sixth.
In the gross division, Phil Rollins got his first win of the year with a 49 point total, while Ian Tervet narrowly missed out and finished second with 48 points.
In the closest-to-the-pin contests, Rannikar showed one reason for his good play, taking the top-spot on the fifth hole with a shot to 7 feet 8 inches. Pat Armitage didn’t let the water guarding the eighth hole intimidate him, as he fired his shot to 2-11. Martin Bajuk’s approach from 97-yards on the 12th was to 9-11, the best of the day; while Al Rappoport returned to the winner’s circle with a shot to 14-5 on the 16th.
The SMGA also announced its year-long point competition winners, with Steve Lanning walking away with first place, Tony Enz garnering second and Jennings third. The club will take the remainder of December off and return to action in late January. Always ready to welcome new and returning members, the SMGA is currently in the middle of its membership drive. Club dues are $125 and include membership into the Northern California Golf Association. For more information, or to join, contact Tom Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sonoma Valley Golf Club recently ended its 2012 season and is also open to new members.
SVGC membership dues are $55 for full membership renewal, $60 for first time non-NCGA members or $30 for an associate member who has membership in another club. For more information contact Jack Powers at 996-0109 or via email at email@example.com.
Since this is my last column of 2012, it’s time for my annual tournaments of the year.
This year was a special one for me, as I got to go back to Northern Ireland and watch the Irish Open at Royal Portrush, the first time the event had been played in Northern Ireland since 1947.
For many reasons, this was my tournament of the year.
The event was played on a fantastic golf course, and although the conditions weren’t great for the full week – the classic unpredictable Irish weather – the Wednesday afternoon pro-am saw sun and warm temperatures. That morning had seen colder, wetter weather, but as 2011 Open Championship winner and Portrush resident Darren Clarke stepped to the first tee, the sun broke through the clouds and was to bless everyone the remainder of the day.
It was also a special event because I got to go to it with my brother Robert, niece Emily, wife Patty and dad Fred; the latter being the first time the two of us had been back in Northern Ireland together since we left 25 years earlier.
The whole atmosphere of the tournament was beyond words.
It certainly has a different feel to a PGA Tour event in the United States; it was more of a community event that saw families relaxing, picnicking and taking in fantastic golf.
From the time I spent at the event, I came away knowing that if you are a golf fan, at some point in your life, you need to attend one of the larger events on the European Tour.
On the PGA Tour, I don’t think you can have a better story than the one that took place at this year’s Phoenix Open.
Just one week after blowing a three-shot lead on the final hole at Torrey Pines Golf Club at the Farmers Insurance Open, Kyle Stanley teed it up at the TPC of Scottsdale and was looking for redemption.
It didn’t look like he would get it, however, as Northern California’s Spencer Levin held a six-shot lead going into the final round.
As fate might have it, Levin struggled in the final round and Stanley put to rest the demons of one week earlier and shot a superb 6-under-par 65 to win his first event on the PGA Tour and close an emotional two-week stretch.
It turned out that 2012 was the year in which no one wanted to have a big lead, as several events throughout the season saw players fail to win despite getting out to a hot start and padding a big lead.
Another event worth mentioning was this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which saw the match-up of all match-ups for the final round, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
The pairing lived up to the hype, at least from Mickelson’s perspective, as he went out and played inspired golf alongside Woods and fired 64 to win the tournament by two shots, while Woods slumped to a 75 and finished well down the leaderboard.
It would be Mickelson’s only victory of 2012, but with strong play toward the end of the season, he looks to be on track for a solid 2013.