Gary Vanier Continues Theme of NCGA Players Winning the SCGA Senior Championship
July 1, 2015
The Southern California Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship has once again been infiltrated by an invader from the north.
On Wednesday, Gary Vanier of Pleasant Hill was the latest northerner to leave his mark at the championship. The 2006 NCGA Senior Player of the Year and six-time San Francisco City Championship winner fired a sensational final round 7-under 65, coming from three shots behind to defeat runner-up John Pate of Santa Barbara by a stroke in the annual event.
Vanier finished the event at par-72 The Ranch Course at the Alisal in Solvang with a 54-hole total of 8-under 208. Pate, who won last fall’s California State Senior Championship at Poppy Hills, finished at 209 after a final round 69.
Following a ho-hum front-nine 1-under 35 on the front-nine, Vanier turned on the jets. He’d post a 6-under 30 on the back that included three straight birdies from holes No.10-12 and another three straight on holes No.14-16.
“That was the best back nine I’ve seen played on this course in the 20 years I’ve worked here,” The Alisal head pro Dave Heartley told the SCGA.
Vanier secured the win with a par on the 18th after sticking his tee shot 3 feet from the flagstick. He took two putts from there, making sure the victory didn’t elude him.
“”I knew I had two shots there, so I sort of lagged it up,” Vanier said. “I didn’t want to pull a Dustin Johnson and have it roll five feet past the hole!”
Vanier’s victory continued a recent theme of domination by the north in the championship. Modesto’s Jeff Burda won the event last year and in 2011, while Vanier also won in 2013.