On a day that felt like Spring is near, the City Championship is now down to the finals, and what a final match it will be!!
George Gandranata today put on a “Tiger” like clinic (Tiger on the golf course that is) through 30 holes, George made 12 birdies, 4 bogeys and one double bogey (good for about 6 under par on the day). The conditions at Harding are still less than ideal, as most tee shots are still plugging in the wet fairways and rough. George’s opponent Patrick Grimes played well despite the final score 7&6 in the 36 hole semi-final. The turning point in the match was a quick sequence of events where Patrick was unable to convert a 5 foot par putt on hole #25 of the match (the 7th hole) that would have tightened the match to only +2 for Gandranata. Unfortunately the missed putt kept the match at 3up in favor of Gandranata, who then chipped in for birdie from the grass bunker on the left side (a very tough shot) especially with Grimes 15 feet away for birdie. Gandranata then birdied the 9, 10th, 11th and 12th hole to close out the match.
Patrick Grimes at age 17 had a great tournament and will be a name you’ll hear again!! But today George with his 12 birdies would not be denied. His look of determination still has me believe he is the player to beat in this event. Certainly George’s NCGA amateur victory just last August will provide a great source of experience and comfort as he heads into the final match against Cory McElyea.
Cory also has serious game!! This was the first opportunity for me to see the three younger guns play, and clearly Mr. McElyea has some serious ability. He certainly has some fire in his belly as I enjoyed his enthusiastic pleads on several occasions while his ball was in flight. His length will be a major weapon in these wet and sloppy conditions. On a day when he seemed to graze the cup all day long, if the putts fall on Final Sunday…this match may rival the Ward/Venturi match which has always been considered the greatest final match in history. Word has it over 10,000 spectators where there to witness this famous match, but I gotta tell you these two phenoms are going to light up the scoreboard and with the good weather forecasted it wouldn’t surprise me if one of these players goes way deep under par to win the 2010 San Francisco Championship.
The tragedy is most golf fans won’t know about this great final played right here on our own Harding Park. It’s a chance to actually watch the action so close you can hear the players breath.
My prediction is to expect an epic match that you won’t want to miss!!
The McElyea vs. Grimberg match was another great match that constantly had come back rallies by Mr. Grimberg (a sophmore at St Mary’s) as he was 4 down in the match with 5 holes to go, he won #14 with a par, #15 with a birdie and on #16 lipped out a birdie chip that would have made things very interesting. I was very impressed with Mr. Grimberg’s composure and ability to dig deep and rally back several times in this match.
Both of these matches were similar in that birdies were winning holes and even par golf was not good enough to earn a spot into the finals!!
I enjoyed watching these young guys compete, and believe we are in for a real treat tomorrow as McElyea and Gandranata square off for the 2010 San Francisco City Title!!
Scroll down for photos from today. More video interviews from today and photos from tomorrow coming up in the morning! Stay tuned.