John Sawin captures the Stocker Cup, coming from two shots down in the final round
CARMEL, Calif. (October 26, 2013) – John Sawin picked the right time to catch fire.
The 28-year-old captured the 22nd annual Stocker Cup, posting a 5-under 67 to come from two shots back in the final round at The Preserve GC. That score allowed the San Francisco investment banker to overtake three-time defending champion Kevin Marsh, whom he played with in the final group.
“I got off to a solid start,” the champion said. “And it seemed almost like match play.” Indeed, after an eagle on the 8th hole and birdies on the 9th and 10th holes via terrific 9-iron approaches, coupled with a double bogey followed by two bogeys from Marsh, Sawin took a two-shot deficit and turned it into a four-stroke lead.
“I had a sense that I had a good lead so I thought then that pars would do it,” he said. Though Sawin was 6-under for the day after a birdie on the 13th and was well within striking distance of the course record of 65, he had victory on his mind. “I knew the course record was 7-under but I’d rather win the tournament than do something stupid.”
A bogey on 18 hardly diminished the sense of accomplishment Sawin felt. “This is the first tournament of any significance I’ve won,” the Princeton alum said. “So I’m thrilled.” While the Stocker Cup victory is a great win, it is important to note that Sawin owns several club championships at U.S. Open host Merion GC in Philadelphia as well as the 2013 San Francisco GC championship. He also played in the U.S. Amateur earlier this year.
Kevin Marsh was looking to become the first four-time champion of this event, but was unable to maintain the terrific play that led to his second-round 66. His final-round 73 earned second place, four strokes behind the champion. “I didn’t play well today,” he said. “But that’s my game right now. Good some days and bad the next.”
Randy Haag, the 2011 champion, carded the second-best round of the day with a 68, propelling him into a third-place tie with past champion Joe Sanders; Haag and Sanders were five shots out.
In the newly christened Ruth Stocker Barry Flight, Erik Stocker, Peter Stocker’s son, came from behind in the final round to win the gross division. Stocker’s 30 points in the modified Stableford format led to a 94-point total, good for a two-shot win over tournament director George Kelley. Matt Pingatore was three back of the champion.
In the net division, The Olympic Club’s Martin Connolly also came from behind to win, posting a net 117 total. Two Preserve GC members, Steve Hoffman and Mark Flynn, took second and third respectively.
- Course knowledge is essential to success at The Preserve. The Tom Fazio gem is known for immaculate conditioning and wicked-fast greens. It’s no surprise that past champions do so well year to year. The three past champions in the field, Marsh, Haag and Sanders, finished runner-up and tied for third, respectively.
- Mike Machette of Claremont CC in Oakland led both the gross and net divisions of the Ruth Stocker Barry Flight going into the final round, a rare occurrence. But he managed only 20 gross Stableford points in the final round and faded to sixth.