I knew entering the Stocker Cup week that Kevin Marsh would be the man to beat. His game is quite simple, he hits it straight, he chips it great, hits his irons beautifully, and putts lights out. So where is his weakness? It’s rare that he makes mistakes, but in the 2nd round he made a double and triple bogey en route to a 74 that I thought gave me a chance. Being one shot back of him after 2 rounds was the best I could have expected after my very poor putting in round one and two. Unfortunately those woes continued and round 3 & 4 had the same exposure on these tough and tricky greens. I did enjoy playing with my two good friends in the last round, Mark Mance and Craig Doell, we all tied with 73’s and finished T-3. Mark Mance played especially well on Sunday and with a few dropped putts would have had the low round of the day, despite Marsh 70. The last round pins were the usual brutally tough pins that required very accurate iron shots, and some deft putting.
What makes the Stocker Cup a great event is more than just the great competition on a great course. It’s all the people involved, including those from the NCGA that volunteer their time, to George Kelley and Mary Craig that spend countless hours running and planning the event. Below is a well written article by Scott Seward that is worth reading. STAY TUNED FOR THE CRAZY OFF SEASON REGIMEN TO REGAIN SOME OF THE LOST FORM!!
Kevin Marsh captures third Stocker Cup title in four years
CARMEL, Calif. (October 28, 2012) – All week Stocker Cup champion Kevin Marsh likened a 72-hole stroke-play championship to a marathon. In the final round of the event, he went against that notion, becoming more of a sprinter in coming from behind to post a five-shot win.
After lurking near the top of the leader board for the first three rounds, the champion was quick out of the box, seizing control with a stellar, course-record-pace 32 on the Preserve’s front nine, highlighted by four birdies in the first five holes. The 39-year-old began with perhaps the tournament’s only birdie on the tough 442-yard par-4 first hole. “You just try to keep it going,” the reining California State Amateur said. “Then once you get a lead, you start protecting it a little.”
Indeed, by the end of the outgoing nine, Marsh was up seven shots on the struggling third-round leader, Brady Exber. The four-ball partners (they’ve captured the prestigious Champions Cup in Houston three of the last four years) then traded birdies on the back nine, but it was a little too late to have an impact on first place. “Fortunately I had enough cushion to get it to the house,” Marsh said in reference to the four bogeys he carded on the back nine.
Those bogeys kept first-round leader Dave Nelson’s record 65 safe for another year (that 65 was posted during the 2004 Stocker Cup).
Exber didn’t come home empty handed; the 56-year-old captured the Tatum trophy for the second straight year. The award is presented to the top “A” golfers aged 50 and older. Exber also captured the “A” player portion of the Elliot Cup, a 54-hole best-ball team competition that pits one of the scratch A-Players with a B-Player competing at 90% of his assigned handicap. Dan Lynch earned the honor for “B” players.
Defending champion Randy Haag of San Francisco finished in a tie for third with past champion Craig Doell and fellow Olympic Club member Mark Mance. The three were 11 shots back of the champion.
For Marsh, the title caps a year that saw the Dragon Ridge CC member win the California State Amateur and Carlton Woods Invitational and finish runner-up at the Crump Cup at Pine Valley, New Jersey. Only a hot Randy Haag in last year’s Stocker Cup separates Marsh from four straight titles on a Preserve Golf Club he clearly dominates. “I just love this course,” the champion said. “If fits my game perfectly. There’s a lot of room off the tee and I make a lot of putts. It’s really fun to win.”
From all appearances, Stocker Cups in the near future will have Marsh in or near the winner’s circle.
Watching the conviviality between Marsh and Exber was a treat. After jarring a long par-saving putt on the tough 15th hole, Exber approached his four-ball partner (and fellow southern Nevadan) for what he described as “a little love.” Instead he got a good-natured shove.
All four past champions in the field made the cut – Marsh, Haag, Craig Doell and Andy Sanders. All four finished in the top seven, a testament to the enduring quality of their play. Stocker Cup champions have games built to last.
ABOUT THE STOCKER CUP:
The Stocker Cup, played in memory of Peter Stocker, is held each October at The Preserve Golf Club in Carmel. The field is comprised of 50 world-class mid-amateur and senior invitees, who meet stringent eligibility requirements, and pay a minimal fee for their participation.
The A-list golfers are complimented by a matching number of qualified B-list competitors, with invitations extended to friends, relatives and associates of the late Peter Stocker, as well as to various sponsors and other supporters of the event. Every A-player is teamed with a B-player in a handicapped best-ball competition held simultaneously with the individual stroke-championship. Partners change daily; the team title is awarded to the A player and B player who achieve the lowest total score for the first three days.
The Stocker Cup is recognized by the three major world rankings – The World Amateur Golf Rankings, Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Rankings, and Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking. The field is primarily comprised of invited amateurs with top level golf achievements. To provide an opportunity for top local amateurs to join these players, the Stocker Cup also holds a one-day Open Qualifier. On October 2, a talented group of competitors vied for the final three A-list spots at the challenging StoneTree Golf Club in Novato. Tal Tartaglia (Reedley, Calif.) and Wesley Boudreaux (Vista, Calif.) tied for Medalist at 73.
The first hole at the Preserve is a demanding hole in several way, it requires a fairly accurate shot off the tee to avoid getting behind the tree shown on the left in the picture. I have had some real trouble on this hole in the past, and decided to hit driver on Sunday into a very tight opening. I don’t recommend it, but if you pull it off, you’ll have a very short shot into this very sloped green. Sunday I was fortunate to hit a good tee shot and have 9 iron to a back pin.