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SMGA plays the Delta; SVGC tees off four course; Champs Tour

By Richard Davison (Special to the Index-Tribune)

The season might be coming to a close, but the great weather of late has given both the Sonoma Men’s Golf Association and Sonoma Valley Golf Club the chance to make multiple trips to local courses.

The SMGA traveled toward the Delta and the Rio Vista Golf Club on Sunday, Oct. 6, with Jim Lybrand walking away the winner with his 36 Stableford points, followed by second-place Paul Groft’s 32, new member Steve Crisafulli’s 28 for third in his debut, with Nick Blonder grabbing fourth at 26, and Karl Mayer finishing fifth with 22.

Mayer showed the rest of the membership who was on his iron game that day, however, as he took home not one, but two closest-to-the-hole awards.

On the fifth hole, Mayer’s tee-shot stopped 7 feet, 7 inches from the hole, while he also conquered the eighth with a shot to 3-7.

Crisafulli showed why he was near the top of the leaderboard with his shot to 13 feet on the 13th hole, while Tony Enz joined the party with his shot at 12-6 on the long 15th.

The SMGA returns to action this Sunday, Nov. 3, with its annual appreciation day tournament, being held this year at the Bennett Valley Golf Club in Santa Rosa.

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The Sonoma Valley Golf Club, meanwhile, has been busy at its home course of Eagle Vines in Napa, as well as three away courses over the past month.

On Oct. 3, the membership headed west to Bodega Harbor Golf Links to take on the hills and marshes that hug the coast, with the scoring system of the day being low net from the team of four, plus one low-net blind draw.

Leading the way with a score of 105 was the team of Al Marty, El Delagnes, Dick Moore and Bob Leal; followed by a fine 108 scored by Russ and Gary Routt, and Michael Lipson and Herb Seidell; with Pete Charles, John Muncy, John Murphy and Tom Culligan grabbing third with 110; while Jack Doss, Ed Cebula, Bob Flores and Charley Avery settled for fourth at 110; and Deby Braun, Tom Braun, Ernie Braun and Russ Hurley were fifth at 116.

In closest-to-the-pin action, no one from the blue tees found the uphill third hole, but Leon Valle found the downhill sixth to his liking, as he had his shot stop 24 feet away.

On the very next hole, Mac Bautista hit his shot to a mere 1-foot, 2 inches on the seventh.

Jerry VanWallinga joined the party on the 12th with a shot to 25-4, while the 17th proved to be too tough for everyone.

Playing from the white tees, Dave Voepel claimed the third with a shot to 21-11, while Leal’s shot to 4-8 was easily the best on the sixth.

Leal showed that was no fluke, hitting his shot to 13-4 on the seventh, while Voepel grabbed his second of the day with a shot to 26-4” on the 12th. Susie Alberigi tamed the difficult 17th with a shot to 29-6.

Back closer to home, the SVGC teed it up at Eagle Vines Golf Club just a few days later, on Oct. 8.

Leading the way in the first flight was Dale Charles, who carded a fine 66, followed by Dave Bartel’s second-place 68, and Dan Stites’ third with 70.

In the second flight, Russ Hurley set the place on fire with his 63, a full eight shots ahead of second-place Ned Druehl’s 71, while Greg Warren’s 73 earned him third.

The third flight saw Steve Martin tour the course in 67 blows, while Bob Ford’s 69 was good enough for second, and Glen Alberigi’s 70 gave him third.

Playing from the white tees, Gary Routt walked away with the closest-to-the-pin award on the sixth hole, with a shot to 11-7.

Jerry VanWallinga got hot again, claiming both the eighth at 32-4, and the 12th with a shot to 41-1.

Southpaw Jim Schnabel was not to walk away empty handed, as he had his ball finish 11-9 from the hole on the 15th.

The gold tees saw Roger Sloss successful on the sixth with a fine shot to 4-7.

Stites, meanwhile, almost had the shot of his life on No. 8, with his ball stopping just 6 inches from the hole.

Tom Culligan liked the 12th, as he hit his shot to 10-3, while Hurley showed why his score was so low with a shot to 24-7 on the 15th.

The red tees saw Gerry Orme hit a fantastic shot on No. 6, with his ball coming to rest just 5 feet from the hole.

Martin can credit some of his 67 to the shot to 19-3” on No. 8, while Bob Jaeger conquered the 12th with a shot to 10-10.

Peter Charles’ shot to 11-7 was the best of the day on the 15th.

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On Oct. 16 and 17, the SVGC traveled into the California Foothills and the Winchester Country Club and Turkey Creek Golf Club, with both outings using the same the format of two low-net, better-balls of the group.

Winchester saw the team of Kathie and Jim Schnabel, along with Susie and Mike Alberigi, take the top-spot with their 124 total; followed in second-place by Dan Radke, John Muncy and Benny and Sue Lee with their 129; Dick Moore, Bob Leal and the Luddy’s, Ron and Carrie, combined for 130 and taking third after breaking a scoring tie with a card-off that bettered fourth-place Leo McMillan, John Fanucchi, Jack Powers and Ron Sharek; as the group of Mac Bautista, Leon Valle, Jun Jasareno and Pete Saibene combined for a 133 and fifth.

On the par-3s at Winchester, playing the white tees, Benny Lee claimed the second hole with a shot to 19-7 (just 2 feet closer than his wife and playing companion Sue).

Harry Tistle rifled his shot to 4-1 on No. 7, while Kathie Schnabel showed everyone how it was done on the 11th with a shot to 11-3, almost the same distance that helped Fanucchi take home the 15th at 11-5.

The member tees saw Dan Stites keep up his strong play of late with a shot to 20-4 on No. 2.

Ron Luddy’s shot to 5-2 on the seventh was the best of the day, while another Ron, Sharek this time, took home top honors on the 11th with a shot to 33-3. Bautista rounded out the day with his shot to 11-10 on the 15th.

Day two at the Turkey Creek Golf Club, the second-place team from the day before, Radke, Muncy, Lee and Lee, avenged their loss by firing a score of 129, good enough for a one-shot victory over Bill Seim, Stites, Kit Wood and Leal, who was a blind-draw partner to fill out the foursome.

Ironically, Leal was on the third-place team as well, along with the Luddy’s and Moore with a 131 total, as fourth went to Wayne and Louella Coronel, Ron Macaluso and Jean VandenHeuven with a 132, followed by Bautista, Saibene, Roger Sloss and Lou Pignati combining to shoot 132, but having to settle for fifth after a card-off.

Turkey Creek’s set of strong par-3s proved to be no match for Saibene, who played from the white/blue combo tees, as he mastered the water-guarded third with a shot to 6-5.

Also playing those tees was Muncy, who claimed No. 8 with a shot to 11-1, while Sharek got in on the action with a shot to 32-4 on the 11th.

The 14th proved to be twice as nice for Muncy, as he claimed his second of the day with a shot to 17-6.

Playing the gold tees, Wayne Coronel hit a majestic shot to 5-5 on the third; meanwhile, Sue Lee got a little revenge from a day earlier, claiming the eighth with a shot to 6-5.

The back-nine saw Sloss’ shot to 28-1 on the 11th the best, and Macaluso claim the 14th with a shot to 13 feet.

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Golf fans looking for a glimpse of the Champions Tour’s best players can make their way to Harding Park Golf Club in San Francisco for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, which runs through this Sunday, Nov. 3.

The event, which was played at Sonoma Golf Club until 2009, is back at Harding after being held in Arizona last year. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the gate or by going to http://www.schwabcuptfc.com/.