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SMGA Club Championship; Hanna tourney results; Pres Cup, PGA

By Richard Davison (Special to the Index-Tribune)

Sonoma Men’s Golf Association President Nick Blonder locked horns with Myron Donesky in the finals of the 2013 Club Championship in late last month with a hard fought battle going to Blonder in 19 holes.

“It was a great match, Myron played really well and we both had a great time,” Blonder said after winning his third Club Championship title for the SMGA.

In other club news, the trio of Eric Biggs, Ron Sharek and Al Rappoport traveled to Carmel Valley and the Quail Lodge Golf Club for the Associate Club Net Amateur event on Monday and Tuesday.

Biggs came away faring the best, with his two day total of even par 142, which gave him fourth place in the Secretary’s Flight. Sharek managed a score of 145, which gave him a tie for sixth place in the Secretary’s Flight, while Rappoport’s 159 garnered him 35th place in the President’s Flight.

The SMGA returns to action this Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Rio Vista Golf Club. Members still interested in playing still have some time to commit.

The club’s annual membership drive will start at the end of October as the board of directors begins looking at putting together the 2014 schedule.

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Hanna Boy’s Center held its annual tournament on Sept. 16, under sunny skies and warm temperatures at the Sonoma Golf Club.

Leading the way with a gross score of 57 was the group from Stevens Hemingway Stevens Inc., including Pat Hemingway, Cole Hemingway, Grant Hemingway and John Snyder, with second place going to the team from The Pasha Group – Mike Hopkins, Bill Lickert, Yon Erting and Charlie Hermosa – with a score of 60.

The Noel Merten’s Trophy went to the blind bogey foursome winning team of Dick Malone, Scott Brubaker, Mark Santi and Joe Demko.

Stuart Crandall took home the men’s long drive, while Maureen Reilly took home the women’s prize. Frank Gullum showed his penchant for hitting it straight by winning the most accurate drive, while Bob Maloney claimed the closest-to-the-hole award.

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This week will see the United States take on the International team that encompasses everyone not from the United States or Europe at the President’s Cup.

The bi-annual event, which was played at San Francisco’s Harding Park Golf Course in 2009, is being played at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin Ohio, and the International team, who is a heavy underdog, looks to win the Cup for only the second time, and the first time on U.S. soil.

Ironically, it was at the same golf course that the European Ryder Cup team first won the Ryder Cup on U.S. soil back in 1987.  Perhaps an omen for Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel and captain Nick Price?

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The 2013 FedEx Cup season is over, with Henrik Stenson making it look easy while winning two of the FedEx Cup playoff events and taking home the $10 million first prize for the FedEx Cup.  Golf fans don’t have long to wait for the new season, however, as the 2014 FedEx Cup season gets underway next week at the Frys.com Open at nearby CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, south of San Jose.

In a big step for the tournament, this was part of the old Fall Series events the last three years, its place at the start of the season looks to attract a better field than years past and much more notoriety.  Major champions Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Ben Curtis and Davis Love III are all scheduled to play, along with some of the hottest young players on the PGA Tour.

They will join defending champions Johan Blixt, who parlayed that win into a solid 2013 which also saw him take the title at the Greenbrier Classic in July.

This will be the final year at CordeValle as next year the event moves to Napa’s Silverado Country Club, where the pros will test their games against the Johnny Miller redesigned North Course.  Anyone interested in attending the event can still get tickets by going to frysopengolf.com/tickets.

Tickets are $35 a day for either Wednesday’s pro-am or Thursday and Friday’s first two rounds, or $45 for Saturday and Sunday. A weekly ticket is also available for $125 and gives you entry into each day. All ticket prices include parking and kids under the age of 14 can enter free with a paying adult.

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Mark O’Meara was known as the Prince of Pebble during his days on the PGA Tour due to the fact that he took home the title at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am five times.

Since turning 50, Kirk Triplett might be trying to take a royal title, also.

Triplett successfully defended his Nature Valley First Tee Open last weekend with a fine final round 68 that gave him a two-shot victory over Dan Forsman, Doug Garwood and Tom Lehman, who entered the final round with the lead, but struggled to a 74.

Despite a strong PGA Tour career, Triplett never won at Pebble during that time, but contended on several occasions throughout the years.

The old saying “nice guys finish last” doesn’t apply to Triplett, who is one of the nicer guys out there. I myself can relay an experience back in the early 1990s when Triplett was playing at the AT&T.

After his Saturday round, he made the trip to downtown Monterey for a golf show that had many small vendors selling their stuff. Triplett, who wears a large floppy hat on the course, arrived sans-hat and was set up on a stage with a table, giving people access to autographs.

Without his trademark hat, few people recognized Triplett; but he stayed for the whole time, chatting to everyone and signing what autographs were asked of him.

Being the golf fan that I was, I knew who he was instantly and spent several minutes speaking with him. He couldn’t have been nicer and when he won at Pebble last year, I thought back to that evening.

It’s even nicer to see Triplett take the title again. Karma came around to reward him; I’m guessing you wouldn’t see too many PGA Tour players at that kind of event nowadays.