August 10 – 14, 2020
Spyglass Hill GC
(Pairings will be available on August 3rd)
August 14, 2020
Having already competed each of the four previous weeks, UC Davis sophomore Lucas Carper wasn’t sure he had enough gas in the tank for the grind that is the NCGA Amateur Championship.
The 19-year-old former Junior Tour of Northern California standout and No.26 seed not only hung in there, but ended up taking home the biggest amateur prize in Northern California, defeating No.12 seed Weston Payne, 5 and 4, in Friday’s 36-hole final at Spyglass Hill.
Carper is the second player from UC Davis to win the title in three years. Thomas Hutchison won in 2018.
“This is my biggest win ever,” said an emotional Carper, who was followed throughout the day by his father, Scott, and mother, Min (and their dog, Sam). “It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s unreal to win and have my mom and dad out there with me. It means so much.”
Despite being fatigued from playing in other events, Carper was a machine. He never trailed in any of his matches.
“It’s a long, long grind out here,” said Carper, who was making his championship debut. “It was really rough at times.”
It didn’t hurt that Carper got off to a blistering start. He’d play the first seven holes of the match at 3-under to quickly build a 4-up lead. By the time he and Payne reached the 11th tee—and another birdie on the 9th and par win on the 10th later—the lead had mushroomed to 6-up.
“The start and early lead kept me going for the second round,” Carper said. “I had a lot of confidence entering the afternoon round.”
Payne, a 30-year-old former mini-tour pro who had also been on his game all week, wasn’t done however. With a birdie win on the 19th hole (par-5 1st) and another birdie win on the 22nd hole, Carper’s lead dropped back to 4-up. Another win by Payne on the 24th hole and the lead was only 3-up.
Later on the par-3 12th, still trailing by three holes, Carper made a par while Payne missed his par putt to re-give Carper a 4-hole cushion. On the ensuing par-4 31st hole (No.13) it looked like Payne would get a hole back after Carper, hitting from the fairway bunker, left his approach shot short of the green. Carper however pitched up and made his 12-foot par putt to keep the lead at 4-up.
“The 13th had caused me problems all week,” Carper said. “I was thankful to get that par at that moment.”
“That putt he made on 13 to keep the lead at four was huge,” Payne said. “I knew I had no wiggle room against him. I think the three days of walking 36 holes caught up with me.”
A hole later on the 32nd (par-5 14th), Payne knocked his approach shot into the water hazard. Carper would seal the deal by striking a 4-iron from 229 yards out to 10 feet of the flagstick for a conceded birdie.
“I just played each hole as if it was the first hole of the day every day,” Carper said.”Just being out here, on this great course and such a great event. What a week. I had a great time.”
— NCGA (@ncga1901) August 14, 2020
August 13, 2020
Lucas Carper and Weston Payne are a day away from capturing Northern California’s biggest amateur prize.
Carper, a sophomore at UC Davis, and Payne, a former mini-tour player who regained his amateur status in 2018, advanced to the 36-hole final of this week’s NCGA Amateur Championship after playing their way through Thursday’s quarterfinals and semifinals at Spyglass Hill.
A former standout on the Junior Tour of Northern California, the No.26 seeded Carper punched his ticket via a 4 and 2 win over Brad Reeves. He’ll be trying to become the second Aggie to win the title in three years. Thomas Hutchison won in 2018.
“I grew up playing with Thomas and a lot of the guys out here this week, so it’s been fun,” said Carper, who’s making his championship debut.
Carper, who wasn’t even sure he was going to compete (this is the fifth straight week he has played in a tournament), has showed no signs of fatigue. He’s never trailed in any of his matches thus far.
“Everyone says be patient out there,” Carper said. “Whoever makes the most birdies and par saves, that’s the person who’s going to have a good shot at winning it.”
For the No.12 seeded Payne, getting to the finals involved getting by No. 17 Kevin Huff in what was a tight match the whole way. A huge 30-foot birdie on the 17th finally gave him a 1-up lead. On the 18th, Huff pulled his drive left towards the tree by still managed to get up-and-down for par. Problem for Huff was that Payne got on the green in regulation and also made par.
“I saw that putt on 7 tracking. It was huge. I felt at the time that we were both hanging around waiting for a break,” said Payne, who played professionally from 2012-2017. “I had good looks at 14 and 16 and missed.”
Payne graduated from Cal-Berkeley in 2012, but never teed it up for the Bears after being recruited as a walk-on. After graduating, he made the decision to go on his own and turn pro.
Now 30 and a real estate agent in San Francisco, he said he’s still getting his legs back for amateur competition.
“Physically I’m not able to do some things I was able to when I was younger, but the mental part of the game has returned,” Payne said. “I play a different game. I play smarter.”
Past champions of the event include Lawson Little Jr., Roger Maltbie and Kevin SUtherland.
August 12, 2020
No.1 seed Griffin Pace saw his match play run come to an abrupt end at this week’s NCGA Amateur Championship at Spyglass Hill. But the other top seeds are all steps closer to taking home the NCGA’s biggest prize.
Pace, who plays at Sonoma State, fell victim in Wednesday’s Round of 32, falling 3 and 2 to No.32 seed Jackson Lake.
In what was a wild and busy day, each of the other top seeds survived to play another day. No.2 seed Garrett Boe, a sophomore at CSU-Fullerton, moved on with a 2 and 1 win over No.15 Cory Donnelly. Holding a 2-up lead through 14, Donnelly cut the gap to 1-up with a birdie win on the par-3 15th. A hole later, however, Boe re-took a 2-up lead with a par win. The two halved the 17th, giving Boe the win.
Also advancing were No.3 seed Brad Reeves and No.4 seed Adam Canepa. Reeves, a former standout at the University of Arizona, knocked out No.19 Sam Sommerhauser, 4 and 3, in the Round of 16. Reeves partly made his charge on the par-3s. He’d win the 3rd, 5th and 12th holes with birdies.
Canepa, a Pebble Beach caddie who’s no stranger to Spyglass HIll, advanced with a solid 4 and 2 victory over Granite Bay’s Jon Peterson. Canepa was also on his game in his morning Round of 32 match, winning 5 and 3.
Thursday’s action will consist of the quarterfinals and semifinals.
In the quarterfinals, No.17 Kevin Huff will take on No.24 Scott Blair. Huff, a senior at Fresno State, eliminated Lake in the Round of 16 via a 3 and 1 win. In another match, Canepa will take on No.12 Weston Payne. Payne is a former pro who regained his amateur status.
The other matches will be Boe taking on No.26 Lucas Carper and Reeves facing No.11 Brian Ma. Carper plays at UC Davis, while Ma plays at Harvard.
Friday’s play will consist of the 36-hole final.
No.2 seed Garrett Boe is 1-up thru 10 is his Round of 32 match vs. Brady Siravo at NCGA Amateur pic.twitter.com/S8WLVRI65W
— NCGA (@ncga1901) August 12, 2020
August 11, 2020
Griffin Pace and Garrett Boe will be the No.1 and No.2 seeds, respectively, when match play begins Wednesday at this week’s annual NCGA Amateur Championship.
The two certainly earned it.
Pace, a sophomore at Sonoma State, earned medalist honors for stroke play qualifying, carding a second round 1-under 71 at Spyglass Hill to come in with a 36-hole total of 4-under 140. Pace was the lone player to break par over both of the stroke play qualifying rounds.
Boe, meanwhile, earned the No.2 spot in exciting fashion. A sophomore at CSU-Fullerton, Boe carded a second round 68 that included an ace on the 19-yeard par-3 15th for a two-day total of 141. Along with the ace, the Clovis native had five birdies to go against three bogeys. The 68 was low round for anyone over the two days of qualifying.
Three players–Brad Reeves of Woodbridge G&CC, eClub San Francisco member Domingo Jojola and Carmel Valley Ranch member Adam Canepa–finished T-3 at 144.
A number of players came up big when it counted. Nick Moore, who won this year’s NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship, followed up an opening 76 with a 70. Both Jacob Boyce, Garrett Wagner and Matt Cohn, who each opened with 71s, folloowed that up with rounds of 71.
Two others coming up clutch were Kevin Mom and Austin Fisher. Mom posted a 69 a day after a 79. FIsher carded a 70 a day after a 79.
Wednesday’s action will feature both the Round of 32 and Round of 16.
August 10, 2020
Low scores weren’t easy to come by as stroke play qualifying for this week’s 117th annual NCGA Amateur Championship got underway on an overcast day at par-72 Spyglass Hill.
Among the best scores were a pair of 69s put up by Griffin Pace and Alexander Chin. Pace, a sophomore at Sonoma State, had a rollercoaster day, posting seven birdies to go against four bogeys. Chin, who finished runner-up at this year’s NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship and entered the event leading in the race for NCGA Player of the Year honors, carded five birdies to go against a lone double-bogey on the par-4 16th.
Also going low were Evan Peterson and Jack Avrit. Peterson, who each came in at 70. A former standout at St. Mary’s, Peterson had an eagle (par-5 11th) and four birdies to go against four bogeys. Avrit, who won the Pro-Junior title at the 2015 The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach playing with Mark O’Meara, was 5-under through 13 before slipping with a double-bogey and bogey late.
Only six players broke par.
Following Tuesday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 32 advancing to match play. Should there be a playoff for the final spots, it will be held Wednesday morning. Wednesday’s play will consist of the Round of 32 and Round of 16. Thursday will be the quarterfinals and semifinals followed by the 36-hole final on Friday.
Among those in danger of missing the cut are recent NCGA Public Links champ Drake Mendenhall (81, T-110).
Defending champion Josh McCarthy is not competing.
August 5, 2020
The oldest of the NCGA’s major events, the Amateur Championship, dates back to 1903 when it was first played at San Rafael GC.
The antique sterling silver trophy reveals a who’s who of historical Northern California amateur golfers including Pebble Beach course designer Douglas Grant, Charlie Seaver, Lawson Little Jr., as well as current and past PGA Tour players Kevin Sutherland, Arron Olberholser, Spencer Levin, Maverick McNealy, Matt Bettencourt, Roger Maltbie and Ray Leach.
Varying formats have been used over the 106 years of competition but today the tournament is 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, followed by a 32-person seeded match play bracket. The one-day final match is a 36-hole test of stamina and concentration after a week of golf at Spyglass Hill. The event has been played at Spyglass Hill every year since 1966, with the exception of 1996 when the course was closed due to renovations.
The largest winning margin was in 1930 when Herbert Schultz beat Hugh Ditzler by 11 & 10 at Castlewood GC, this was equaled in 2004 when Spencer Levin claimed the title. The longest final match was seen in 2007 when Ryan Hallisey triumphed on the 39th hole over Jeremy Gearhart, equaling the record set in 1947. Notable runner-up finishers include Ken Venturi and Johnny Miller, with Jack Neville having finished runner-up more than any other player, five times.
At the 2015 championship, Stanford junior and No.2 world-ranked amateur Maverick McNealy set a championship record for low round during stroke play qualifying with a 7-under 65. The 65 was a low for any NCGA event held at Spyglass Hill. Blake Hathcoat matched the 65 in 2018.The two-day, 36-hole scoring record for stroke play qualifying is 10-under 134, set by Finigan Tilly in 2017. Tilly’s stroke play total of 10-under 134 is the low 36-hole total for any NCGA event that’s been held at Spyglass Hill.
The event often determines the NCGA’s Player of the Year award with 700 points awarded to the winner. Multiple-time Player of the Year winners Casey Boyns and Randy Haag have both claimed the championship twice. Over 300 players attempt to qualify for the championship each year and the event is open to anyone with a handicap index of 5.4 or less.