August 31, 2021
Former NCGA Player of the Year Jason Anthony is making the best of what has become limited opportunities.
On Tuesday, Anthony fired a final-round 5-under 67 at Whitehawk Ranch GC that included a clutch eagle on the closing par-5 18th, and later defeated John McCord and Brett Viboch in a sudden-death playoff to capture the annual NCGA Valley Amateur Championship for a record-tying third time. For Anthony, the win was significant in a number of ways. It marked his sixth career NCGA title (2019 Mid-Amateur, 2017 and 2020 Valley Amateurs, 2016 and 2018 Mid-Amateur Four-Ball Championship), moving him in a tie for seventh on the all-time win list. And he also joined Nick Moore as the only three-time winners of the Valley Amateur.
“Any win is satisfying, especially knowing you only have so many chances,” said Anthony, who finished regulation with a two-day total of 3-under 139. “NCGA wins are even more satisfying due to the strength of the fields and the venues. Ultimately too though, at the end of the day it’s about the camaraderie.”
The 38-year-old Green Valley CC member was making only his third appearance in an NCGA event this season. He recently married his wife, Natashia, and the two now have a son, Jackson. Jason also keeps busy running 7 Flags Car Wash Company, which was founded by his grandfather and later operated by his father.
“Life’s just been busy. My priorities are shifting a bit,” Anthony said.
In not competing as much as he used to, Anthony at times has found his game falling into ruts. But he’s shown he still has it. He recently qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur but will bow out to stay closer to home.
“I was really struggling earlier in the year for about three months. I couldn’t break par and was spinning my wheels,” he said. “Utlimately, when I get out on the course and the tourney is on the line, I find a way to get it done. That’s why I love competing.”
On the first playoff hole, McCord, hit his drive into the forest. Viboch, meanwhile hit his approach to within 8 feet of the flagstick, while Anthony got to within 12 feet of the pin. Anthony made his birdie putt, while Viboch’s lipped out.
In getting to the playoff, Anthony closed regulation by sinking a 25-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole. When he won the title in 2020, Anthony made a clutch up-and-down for birdie on the 18th to win by a stroke.
While he finished second, Viboch may have sealed 2020-2021 Player of the Year honors. Viboch had come into the 500-point Valley Am event leading in the race for NCGA Player of the Year honors (1,339 points). The season ends at the end of September.
August 30, 2021
San Francisco resident Matt Cohn could be on his way to another addition to his NCGA resume’. On Monday, Cohn grabbed the lead at this week’s annual NCGA Valley Amateur Championship after carding an opening round score of 2-under 69 at Schaffer’s Mill. Cohn has already won the NCGA Public Links Championship and NCGA Mid-Amateur.
Three players–Travis Peterson, Costa Tzikas and John McCord—are tied for second at 70. Defending champion Jason Anthony opened with a 72 and is T-8. Nick Moore, a three-time winner of the Valley Am, sits in the group at 72. Moore was 267 points behind Viboch entering the championship.
In another important part of the championship, Brett Viboch, who came into the event leading in the race for NCGA Player of the Year honors (1,339 points), is T-5 at 71. Cohn entered the event 310 points behind Viboch. The Valley Amateur is worth 500 points.
Tuesday’s final round will be held at Whitehawk Ranch GC.
August 28, 2021
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.
2020 Senior champ Jeff Wilson set a Senior championship record for total score, shooting 138.