April 25-26, 2011
April 26, 2011
by Spencer Sorensen
PEBBLE BEACH – Having experience matters and it showed Tuesday at the 46th Annual NCGA Public Links Championship at Spyglass Hill.
Scott Hardy defended his public links title with a solid 1-under par 71 giving him a two-day total of 144 and a one-shot victory over Matt Cohn. With the victory Hardy now has won three of the last five titles in this prestigious event, solidifying him as one of the top amateurs in the region.
Hardy, who played in the final group of the championship flight, didn’t start believing that he could win the event until the fourth hole. Joshua Stone who started the day with a three-shot lead on the field (four over Hardy) relinquished that lead after registering consecutive double bogeys on the second and third holes.
Despite struggles of his own to start the day by bogeying two of the first three holes, Hardy knew he was in the hunt for another title after seeing Stone falter.
“I thought I was tied for the lead after four (holes), so I figured from there on out, if I play well I have a real good shot (at winning),” he said.
Hardy did exactly that. Over the next eight holes Hardy made six pars and two birdies, and despite bogeys on 13 and 16, he converted birdies on 15 and 17 erasing the prior miscues. No birdie may have been bigger than his final one at 17.
After dropping back into a tie for the lead with Cohn (unknown to Hardy at the time) with a bogey on 16, Hardy had a breaking 20-foot birdie putt on 17 that found the center of the cup. Hardy’s fellow-competitors all were inside of his approach shot with birdie putts of their own on the short par 4 17th.
“That putt was huge,” he said. “If it didn’t hit the hole it was going to go past it, so I was fortunate to have it go in for sure.”
The birdie proved to be huge because Cohn missed his 10-foot birdie putt only moments later, giving Hardy a one-shot lead going into the 36th hole.
It’s not easy for Hardy to put this victory into words, he feels very fortunate to win this event once again.
“I shocked myself this week,” he said, explaining that he has practiced very little lately and that this is his second tournament in the past seven months.
“To win this tournament means a lot me; it’s a great start to a good year.”
Besides the consistent play of Hardy, Cohn took second place with a two-day total of 145 (72-73). Casey Boyns added to his stack of medals as he finished in third place at 147 (74-73). First-round leader Stone had seen better days as he followed yesterday’s 69 with an 85, putting him in a tie for 10th place.
In the President’s Flight David Fletcher overtook first-round leader Dale Richards as he shot a net 67 giving him a two-day total of net 137. In the Director’s Flight Joyce Glatt won with a two-day total of 133 over Ahmed Shah at 136.