An epic battle is underway in the State Am finals with Scott Travers once again getting off to a hot start with three birdies over the first 5 holes and is currently 3 up over Harry Rudolph in the State Finals.
My quarterfinal match with Scott had many highs and lows, and although Scott birdied 4 of the first seven holes I was able to make 3 of my own. My personal demise was three putting 8 (after reaching in two shots to the par five) for par that would have squared the match, followed by a missed 4 foot birdie putt on #9. The tenth hole was more of the same with a 4 putt due to an obscene pin placement that I felt shouldn’t have been put into play. All of these mistakes despite making 5 birdies decided my fate as Scott makes very few mistakes and he is going to make a lot of birdies. Scott is putting beautifully and I suspect the final 36 hole match will come down to the wire.
My pal Mr. Rudolph had a fantastic finish with Kevin Marsh in the semi finals finding himself 2 down with 5 to play, Harry ended up making a 15 foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for the spot in the finals.
Fatigue will play a role in today’s final match, Scott at 21 against a well conditioned 40 yr old could play a factor in the end result. As your legs tire the upper body can over take shots sending them both left and right. The fatigue also plays a factor in putting and chipping as it’s difficult to stay still and on balance. You can follow the final live at NCGA.org
Monday I’ll be covering the US Senior Open qualifier at Saddle Creek, where there is ONE spot available…stay tuned!
|A match for the ages: Rudolph and Travers advance to finals
JUNE 25 — One is a hometown hero, a former amateur champion-turned-pro-turned-amateur gifted in the game. The other, the 2010 West Coast Conference player of the year with uncompromised focus and a drive to win. Tomorrow, the two will duke it out to determine the 99th California State Amateur champion at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.
In a battle of experience, Harry Rudolph III, the No. 5 seed from La Jolla and 1991 California Amateur champion, defeated two-time SCGA Amateur champion and U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Kevin Marsh, 37, of Henderson, Nev., 1 up in the semifinal round.
In the battle of youth, Scott Travers, 22, of Trabuco Canyon, a golfer for Santa Clara who’s only played three match play events in his career, topped Grant Norton, 22, of Rancho Murieta, also an accomplished college player out of Sacramento State.
Rudolph advanced by way of dismissing 2010 Southwestern Amateur champion Estanislao Guerrero, 25, of San Diego, 5 and 3 this morning, while Travers defeated multiple NCGA champion Randy Haag, 51, of Burlingame, 3 and 2.
Rudolph has been the fan favorite of the event. More than 75 spectators — including family, casual friends, friends from elementary school, and others, walked behind the golfer as he and Marsh played what Rudolph called a “slugfest the entire time.”
Rudolph took an early lead in his semifinal match, quickly going 3 up thanks to a par-birdie-birdie string on the first three holes. As quickly as he did so, the tables turned, however, when Marsh, in the span of four holes, gained a 1-up lead, which he would increase to 2-up and maintain until the 15th hole. He stuck shot after shot, including the par-3 seventh hole, which he hit his tee shot to just over a foot for birdie (although Rudolph just missed a chip-in for birdie and collected par).
“Being 2 down with five holes to go, I was thinking, ‘Just keep going,” Rudolph later said.
He did, and in a major momentum shift, sunk a par putt on 14 that “was huge,” Rudolph noted. “There were two or three turning points in the match, and that was one of them. Making that putt gave me a boost.”
Marsh (who knocked out semi-finalist and No. 1 seed Scott Almquist of Coto de Caza this morning, 3 and 2) would bogey 14 and 15 to Rudolph’s pars, and after a bunker shot on 17 that was “a phenomenal bunker shot and the perfect timing,” the duo entered the 18th hole all square. Rudolph nailed a birdie putt, punctuated with a fist pump and roar of the crowd, that secured him the win.
“I feel great, no fatigue,” Rudolph said. “This match felt like a final, but 36 holes, that is what we play for.”
With his family walking alongside him, Travers has been the epitome of focus through each round, locked into a routine that’s included no caddie (although he may have one on the bag for the 36-hole finale), no push cart, and nothing new or different.
“He hasn’t wanted to mess with his routine at all,” said Travers’ mom, Barbara. “He’s been very intense and has shown little emotion out there, no matter what’s going on. We’ve probably been more nervous than he has.”
Travers never lost the lead in his match against Norton, who since the 12th hole of his morning round (where he defeated co-medalist Kevin Fitzgerald of Riverside, 3 and 1) played without a driver, thanks to a cracked driver face. Norton would have another driver delivered to him on the sixth hole during the semifinal, and although he’d gain a hole back to close the gap to two holes, he began to falter.
Travers, on the other hand, collected five birdies in the match, including a dramatic final putt on 15 that bounced around, stopped, then dropped in to close the match out.
“My goal was just to play solid and get through stroke play,” Travers said. “After that, each match play round is like a different tournament with a clean start.”
And what are his thoughts on playing Rudolph? “I can’t be focused on the other players,” he said, “I can only be focused on my own game.”
The 36-hole final round tees off at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, with the second 18 beginning at noon. Live scoring will be available.
Harry Rudolph III, far right, had a gallery of fans following his quarterfinal match against Estanislao Guerrero this morning.
Rudolph, Marsh, Norton and Travers square off in semifinals
JUNE 25 — Harry Rudolph III of La Jolla, the 1991 California State Amateur champion, is one of four players who have advanced to the semifinals of the 99th California State Amateur at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club after this morning’s quarterfinal matches.
The semifinals tee off at 1:00 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. this afternoon.
Rudolph, 40, defeated 2010 Southwestern Amateur champion Estanislao Guerrero, 25, of San Diego, 5 and 3.
Kevin Marsh of Henderson, Nev., 37, defeated co-medalist and No. 1 seed Scott Almquist, 45, of Coto de Caza, 3 and 2.
Grant Norton, 22, of Rancho Murieta, defeated co-medalist and No. 2 seed Kevin Fitzgerald, 22, of Riverside, 3 and 1.
Scott Travers, 21, of Arroyo Trabuco, defeated Randy Haag, 51, of Burlingame, 3 and 2.
The semifinals split oldest and youngest, with Marsh and Rudolph teeing off at 1 p.m. and Norton and Travers at 1:15 p.m.