53rd NCGA Public Links Championship
April 23-24, 2018 | Poppy Hills GC
April 24, 2018
Ben Peters had already proven that he was one of Northern California’s elite amateurs. On more than one occasion, he’s helped represent the NCGA in the annual Hanna-Wehrman Cup Matches against the Northern California PGA.
But the 33-year-old’s resume had lacked an NCGA championship. At least, until now.
On Tuesday at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course, Peters shot a final round 2-under 69 and defeated Ned Jensen on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to capture the annual NCGA Public Links Championship. Peters would win with a par on the first playoff hole (par-4 10th) when Jensen missed his 4-footer for par.
“It’s been my goal. Coming from playing in a few USGA championships to be able to play in NCGA championships and then to eventually win one was the next goal,” Peters said. “To have it happen this quickly in the year is pretty phenomenal.”
Having trailed three-time winner Nick Moore and Keith Okasaki by two entering the final round, Peters made his move by being steady. He’d post three birdies to go against just one bogey. Meanwhile, both Moore and Okasaki slipped to rounds of 77.
“I’ve played with Nick before, and have beaten him before, so I knew I had a chance,” Peters said.
While Moore and Okasaki faded, Jensen, an E-Club San Francisco member, had also made a charge with a four birdie, one bogey 68. Jensen had a shot at passing Peters but finished his round with six straight pars.
With a win under his belt, Peters is already looking ahead to the rest of the season.
“I’ve wanted to win an NCGA championship for 10 years. Now to have my name on the trophy, it’s so special,” Peters said. “It’s a huge confidence builder to know I can get it done when I need to.”
Third place went to Garrett Wagner at 140 following a final round 70.
Golden Gate Flight
In the Golden Gate Net Flight, Andy Nordhoff of Bushwood CC fired a final round 71 to come in at 136 and defeat runner-up Dave Cressan of Half Moon Bay GL by three shots. Cressan had a final round 70. Third place went to Ken Rhodes of Windsor GC at 141 following a 69.
Patrick Tam of E-Club South Bay shot a final round 68 to come in at 139, defeating co- runner-ups Josh Torres of Eagle Ridge Rewards Club and Bruce Murray of Spring Valley GC by a stroke.
April 23, 2018
We already know that Monterey resident Nick Moore has a knack for winning the annual NCGA Public Links Championship in years ending with an odd number. Along with winning last year, the three-time champion also took the title in 2013 and 2015.
Despite it being an even-year, Moore is in a familiar spot. The 2015 NCGA Player of the Year, Moore grabbed a share of the lead in this year’s championship, carding an opening round 3-under 68 Monday at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course.
Also posting a 68 was Ancil Hoffman GC member Keith Okasaki.
Okasaki, a former standout at UC San Diego, had four birdies to go with just one bogey. Moore penciled in three birdies with zero bogeys.
In third place at 70 are both Ben Peters, who played on the 2017 NCGA Hanna-Wehrman Cup squad, and E-Club East Bay member Garrett Wagner.
With a win, Moore will tie NCGA Hall of Famer Casey Boyns for the most Public Links titles, with four.
Golden Gate Flight
Andy Nordhoff of Bushwood CC is the person to chase after the opening round, as he’d card a 6-under 65 featuring nine birdies, a double-bogey and a bogey.
In second place at 67 is Harding Park GC member Kieran Clifford. Dave Cresson, playing out of Half Moon Bay GL, is alone in third at 69.
Josh Torres of Eagle Ridge Rewards Club took the first round lead, carding a 5-under 66 featuring eight birdies to go against three bogeys. Torres caught fire on the front-nine, carding four straight birdies from holes No.5 through No.8.
In second place at 69 is Dave Burghardt of Dry Creek Men’s Club. In third place is Steve Zercoe of Diablo Grande GC at 70.
April 20, 2018
The NCGA Public Links Championship began in 1966 at Spyglass Hill and is the premier event for the public-course player. The 36-hole stroke-play tournament originally was played at Spyglass Hill every year, with the exception of 1992, 1996 and 1997.
The tournament has always included a championship flight for players with handicap indexes of 5.4 or less and two handicap divisions for players with an index of 5.5 to 36.4. Historically, 40 players made up the championship field, while 80 players made up of two 40 player net fields. Contestants must be bona fide public course players who do not hold playing privileges in any course from which the general public is excluded.
Ryan King holds the scoring record set in 1999 of six-under-par 138. Only three players have managed back-to-back victories, Mike Powers in 1972 and 1973, Mitch Thomas in 1978 and 1979, and Scott Hardy in 2010 and 2011. Four-time NCGA Player of the Year Casey Boyns still reigns with the most NCGA Public Links wins, having claimed the trophy four times.
The Public Links Net Championship was founded as an event for net players during the annual NCGA Public Links Championship. There are two flights (Golden Gate, Yosemite).