November 4, 2015
Mark Harding held on to win the 24th annual CGA Senior Amateur Championship at par-71 Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa.
Harding, who hails from Hermosa Beach, shot a final round 69, his second straight round under par, to finish at 4-under 209, defeating runner-up Don DuBois of Newport Beach by a stroke. Harding’s 209 tied the record for low 54-hole score, set by Jeff Burda in 2008. He was the only player in the field to shoot under 70 in both the second and final rounds.
“California Senior Amateur Champion,” Harding said. “I like the sound of that!”
Coming off a 68 that gave him a share of the second round lead with Craig Calkins, it appeared that Harding would make it a runaway after opening with a 3-under front-nine 33.
He’d later stumble on the par-4 14th with a double-bogey, but quickly ended any potential drama by posting a birdie on the ensuing 15th and closing with three straight pars. It’s Harding’s first California Senior Amateur title, and the second straight by an SCGA player. John Pate of Santa Barbara won the 2014 event at Poppy Hills Golf Course.
DuBois certainly had his chances. With three straight birdies from holes No.11 through No.13, the 2005 California Amateur Championship winner crept within two shots of Harding. Following Harding’s gaffe on the 14th, the two were tied with just four holes to play.
Harding went 1-under, while DuBois played the final four holes at even-par after suffering a critical bogey on the par-4 17th.
Calkins, who began the day tied with Harding at 140, shot a 72 to finish alone in third at 212. Gary Vanier, who won the recent NCGA Super Senior Championship, shot 70 to finish T-4 with John McClure of Los Angeles at 213. Orinda’s Randy Haag, who was looking for his first major win since joining the senior ranks last year, fell back to sixth place following a 75.
With a win, DuBois would’ve joined Vanier and Casey Boyns as the only players to win both the California Senior Amateur and California Amateur Championship. Vanier won the Senior in 2007 and the California Amateur in 1982. Boyns won the Senior in 2012 and the California Amateur in 1989 and 1993.
November 3, 2015
The Olympic Club member Randy Haag slipped, but is still right in the thick of things at this week’s annual California Senior Amateur Championship at par-71 Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa.
Coming off a first round 69, the 56-year-old Haag fell back to a 73, but he’s still just two shots behind co-leaders Mark Harding and Craig Calkins.
The big mover on what was a blustery day, Harding, who hails from Hermosa Beach, posted a sensational 3-under 68 to move to a two-day total of 2-under 140. Also finishing the day at 140 was Calkins after the Manhattan Beach resident posted a 71.
Looking for his first major victory since joining the senior ranks, Haag went 1-over on both his front and back-nines with two birdies and four birdies.
Harding, who competed in this year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, was solid despite the tough scoring conditions carding four birdies to go against just one bogey.
With no one in the field able to break away, the door opened for a number of players including recent NCGA Super Senior Championship winner Gary Vanier. Vanier, who turned 65 earlier this month, jumped into sixth place at 143 following a 71. The winner of the event in 2007 at Poppy Hills, Vanier will only be three behind entering the final round.
The cut to make it into the final round came at 9-over 151. Among those failing to advance was defending champ John Pate of Santa Barbara.
In the North/South Challenge Cup, a team competition (best three scores out of four) held between the SCGA and NCGA over the first two days of the championship, the SCGA took the title via a 435-443 victory. It was the SCGA’s first Cup win since 2007.
.The NCGA was represented by Dale Bouguennec, Casey Boyns, Terry Foreman and record five-time Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll. The SCGA was represented by Vanier, Pate, Michael Turner and Jeff Burda.
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November 2, 2015
While Randy Haag’s NCGA resume’ is one of the best, including earning a record six NCGA Player of the Year titles, one of the things missing is a victory in a senior major championship.
At least early on, it appears that could possibly change.
On Monday, the 56-year-old Olympic Club member put himself in good position at this week’s annual California Senior Amateur Championship, posting a first round 2-under 69 at Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa. Haag trails leader James Camaione of Upland, who opened with a 68, by just a stroke.
Haag, who played in this year’s U.S. Senior Open at Del Paso CC in Sacramento, had a chance to go lower. He’d card five birdies, but also had three bogeys.
Four other players also came in at 69, including El Dorado Hills’ Mark Morgan. Morgan, who played in the recent U.S. Senior Amateur, posted four birdies to go against two bogeys.
Camaione, who won this year’s SCGA Senior Amateur Match Play title, only had one bogey while penciling in four birdies.
Three players, including Mitch Harrison of Acampo, are T-7 after opening with 71. Defending champion John Pate of Santa Barbara, who won at Poppy Hills last year, is T-52 following a 77.
In the North/South Challenge Cup, a team competition (best three scores out of four) held between the SCGA and NCGA over the first two days of the championship, the SCGA grabbed a three shot lead, 216-219. The NCGA is being represented by Dale Bouguennec, Casey Boyns, Terry Foreman and record five-time Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll. The SCGA is being represented by Michael Turner, John Pate, Gary Vanier and Jeff Burda.