Trevor Clayton and Jim Knoll: 2014 NCGA Players of the Year
September 29, 2014
Fresno resident Trevor Clayton and Sunnyvale’s Jim Knoll are the 2014 Northern California Golf Association Player of the Year and Senior Player of the Year, respectively.
Clayton, who’s attending Fresno City College this year with plans to transfer to Fresno State next fall, earned his title by winning the NCGA Valley Amateur Championship thanks to an all-time NCGA low round of 10-under 62 at Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.
The win boosted the big red-head, who formerly played at CSU-Stanislaus, not only to a total of 1,317 points, but a 58 point lead over Jason Anthony entering the final weekend. For good measure, Clayton would win the LasPo Open on the final weekend to finish the season with 1,419 points.
Jason Anthony finished second in the points race with 1,259 points.
UC Davis senior Matthew Seramin, who had taken the lead in the points race at 1,082 following his dramatic win at the NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship, didn’t play in the NCGA Valley Amateur due to school obligations. He’d finish third 1,082 points.
“The points title is a bonus,” said Clayton following his four-stroke win at the NCGA Valley Amateur. “It’s a validation of all the work I put in.”
Despite his toils on the range, Clayton’s record-setting performance at the Reserve at Spanos Park was his lone victory of the summer.
At the California State Amateur, he’d reach the Round of 16 before getting knocked out. Other June-August results were Round of 32 at the NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship and sixth place at the Santa Cruz City.
While not wins, his finishes in those three events combined racked up 468 points.
Toss in getting through a qualifier for the U.S. Amateur in July (75 points) and opening the year by taking first in April’s Roseville City Championship (100 points) and Clayton is your 2014 NCGA Player of the Year.
“I’m happy for him,” said Anthony, who could’ve snagged the honor by finishing at least third at the NCGA Valley Am (he’d finish T-4). “He earned it. He’s going to be a fantastic player.”
For the 62-year-old Knoll, it was business as usual.
Coming off a 2013 campaign that saw him chalk up a senior record 3,003 points—as well an unprecedented third straight Senior Player of the Year crown—Knoll again was as elusive as the road runner.
Knoll didn’t play in the season ending NCGA Senior Valley Amateur (he was busy competing at the U.S. Senior Amateur), and it didn’t matter. Entering the event, Knoll had already amassed 2,878 points. The next closest player was four-time NCGA Player of the Year Casey Boyns, who finished second with 1,669 points.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to play in a high volume of events and play just well enough in some of the majors to finish on top,” Knoll said. “This was my seventh year of playing senior golf and I’ve been privileged to play in an era where the quality of play in our section has been exceptional. NCGA senior golf is second to none.”
A print salesman, Knoll rolled over the competition. He’d open the season in November by winning the California Senior Amateur, and in the spring followed that up with a win in the NCGA Senior Amateur Championship, his second title in four years (2011).
Like the calendar, he was only warming up. In July, Knoll won both the Sacramento City Championship and the Merced County Championship, each 200 point events. He’d start August by reaching the Round of 16 at the NCGA Senior Amateur Match Play Championship, following that up with a win at the California State Fair. Overall, he won eight of the 18 events he entered—a 44% win percentage.
Even at that rate, Knoll remains humble.
“I have always maintained that the Player of the Year is not always our best player. It seems like every year an argument can be made that a couple of us deserve that distinction. It is truly an honor to just be considered one of our better players.”