August 7, 2018
Monterey Peninsula CC member Jerry Ledzinski returned to the winners’ circle in dramatic fashion.
Ledzinksi defeated a pair of St. Mary’s College players–Jeffrey Inouye-Wong and Evan Peterson–on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff at par-72 Winchester Country Club to win the annual NCGA Valley Amateur Championship.
While it was the second NCGA win for Ledzinski, it’d been a while. The 45-year-old last won at the 2015 Mid-Amateur Championship, also in extra holes.
“It’s been a couple of years so this one feels good,” Ledzinski said. “It validates that I’m still competitive out there. It’s a shot in the arm. I know that at age 45, I can still compete.”
He certainly had to earn it. In regulation, Ledzinski had a chance to win the title outright but had to settle for par on the closing 18th when his 10-foot birdie try slipped past the cup.
In the playoff, which occured on the difficult par-4 10th hole, Ledzinski again had a putt for the title. He’d redeem himself, sinking an 8-footer for birdie to beat both Inouye-Wong and Peterson. During regulation, Ledzinksi had three-putted the 10th for a triple-bogey.
“That putt going in felt good,” Ledzinski said.
One of four co-leaders at 72 after the first round, Ledzinski posted a 73 to come in at 145. Inouye-Wong had a final round 70, while Peterson made a move with a 69.
Ledzinski was solid both days. In Monday’s first round, he’d hit 17 greens in regulation. A day later, he hit 15 greens.
“My ball striking was spot on,” Ledzinski said.
Nick Moore, the 2016 NCGA Player of the Year and winner of this year’s NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship, nearly got into the playoff. Moore carded a championship-low 68 to move up into a tie for fourth with Spencer Hulsey at 146.
Moore, the only three-time winner of the event, last won in 2016. Hulsey, an e-Club San Francisco member, followed up a 72 with a 74.
Senior Valley Am
Serrano Country Club member Mark Morgan has a knack for coming up big when it counts.
The 58-year-old did it again Tuesday at Winchester CC, carding a final round 2-under 70 to come from behind and win the NCGA Senior Valley Amateur. It’s the second Senior Valley Am title for Morgan in three years. In 2016, he won at Morgan Creek GC.
Morgan, who joins Gary Vanier and Jim Knoll as the only players to win the event at least twice, finished with a two-day total of 4-under 140.
Having entered the final round trailing by four, Morgan posted six birdies to offset a double-bogey and two bogeys. The double-bogey and bogeys came on holes No.9 through No.11, respectively, dropping him to 1-over for the day. He’d respond by playing his final seven holes at 3-under to clinch the win.
Randy Haag and Tony Padilla each finished tied for second at 142 following rounds of 76 and 74, respectively. Haag, who was looking for his first Valley Am title, could only muster two birdies. Padilla, the winner of last year’s NCGA Senior Championship, had three birdies but also three bogeys and a double-bogey.
August 6, 2018
There isn’t a lot of wiggle room at the top of the leaderboard after Monday’s first round of the annual NCGA Valley Amateur Championship at par-72 Winchester Country Club.
Five players–Ryan Johnson, Ben Peters, Lane Pulliam, Spencer Hulsey and Jerry Ledzinski—are tied for first after coming in with matching scores of 72. The wildest days came from Pulliam and Hulsey, who each posted five birdies but also five bogeys on the course, which played at 7,007 yards.
Johnson, Peters and Ledzinski all had three birdies and three bogeys. Peters is already an NCGA champion this year, having won the Public Links crown. Ledzinski won the 2015 NCGA Mid-Amateur.
Two players–Joshua Diaz and Cody Riecks, who plays at Fresno State—are T-6 at 74. Riecks is from nearby Auburn.
Monterey’s Nick Moore, who entered the 500-point event leading in the points standings for Player of the Year honors, shot 78 and is T-27. Defending NCGA Player of the Year Jason Anthony carded a 75 and is T-8.
Senior Valley Am
Olympic Club member Randy Haag already has 19 career titles, including both championship and Senior events.
His 20th win could come in an event he’s never won.
Haag took the lead Monday in the Senior Valley Am, carding a stellar 6-under 66 that featured seven birdies and just one birdie.
In second place at 68 is defending NCGA Senior Championship winner Tony Padilla. Padilla, whose home course is Winchester CC, had five birdies and a bogey.
In at 70, and alone in third place is 2016 champion Mark Morgan. Morgan is the defending California Senior Amateur champion.
The low Siuper Senior score (age 65-plus) is Herb Jensen, who shot 72.
August 2, 2018
Played for the first time in 2004 as a replacement for the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valley championships, the NCGA Valley Amateur has become a staple in the tournament season.
Drawing exceptional players during the late summer, the Valley Amateur has 500 points up for grabs to the champion at a time when the Player-of-the-Year race is coming to a close.
The 36-hole stroke play event is played at a venue in the San Joaquin or Sacramento valley each year and provides a top-level championship opportunity. Nick Moore is the only player to have won the championship three times.
A senior division is also held with past champions including several Senior Player of the Year honorees: Carl Selkirk, Gary Vanier, Jim Knoll and Jeff Burda. Vanier is the only three-time winner of the senior division having won in 2006 at Elkhorn CC and in 2007 and 2013, both at Riverbend GC. Knoll is the only other multiple-time winner, winning in 2008 at Winchester CC and again in 2011 at Riverbend GC.
Trevor Clayton set the single round championship record in 2014, shooting a 10-under 62 at Reserve at Spanos Park. Clayton’s 36-hole total of 133 tied 2009 winner Steven Chung for low 36-hole total. In 2015, Nick Moore defeated Blake Hathcoat in a 9-hole sudden death playoff. With his win in 2016, Moore became the first player to win the Valley Am three times.