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Alameda Commuters: Reinsberg wins his third

By Ron Salsig

ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA (April 30, 2006) -- The first day of this year’s Commuters set a quick tone for what was to come.

This would be fast. And sudden. Nothing like the previous 78 Alameda Commuters Championships.

There was a finality that Saturday, felt by most of the field. Alameda standout junior Ryan Thomas, who tied for second place last year, shot a 78. And he was suddenly down the road. Also feeling a sudden death were last year’s medalist Ron Williams (78), and Pat Pernice (76), brother to the PGA Tour’s Tom Pernice. So much for some of the local favorites.

There was a cut that first day, to the low 40 on the Earl Fry course and the low 40 on the Jack Clark course (each par 71). As fate would have it, a score of 75 made the cut on each course. The final round was the next day, with those who made the cut switching courses.

The 2006 Commuters became a chaotic sprint, a 36-hole tournament for the first time ever, when the golf courses at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex were deemed unplayable on the scheduled first weekend. Record rains left the courses under water.

The real heroes of this year’s championship were unseen, unheard, anonymous. The greens crew at Alameda, all 22 of them, volunteered to work 14-hour days to get these courses in shape for their superintendent, who happens to be 1975 Commuters champ Doug Poole. As if Poole weren’t busy enough, he was also selected to run the event by the Greencoats, as chairman of this year’s Commuters.

Poole and his crew performed a miracle. In one week they changed one big water hazard into a very fast track.

On a sudden Sunday, Rick Reinsberg birdied two of the last three holes to win his third Commuters title in four years. This outcome stunned two high school golfers with national credentials, who became one of so many who felt sudden finality in this year’s championship. Joe Bramlett and Rob Galletti were preparing for a playoff when Reinsberg finished his round, and Reinsberg wasn’t even part of their plans.

Bramlett, a senior at St. Francis High in Mountain View, had played in two U.S. Amateurs and will play for Stanford next year. He shot a 5-under 66 on the Jack Clark course to reach 4-under-par 138 for the championship, seemingly the magic figure.

Galletti, a senior at De La Salle High in Concord, had shot a course-record 63 in an AJA event at Longbow GC in Mesa, Arizona, prior to the Commuters, which made him one of the pre-tournament favorites. A first-round 69 had him one stroke back going into the final round. But the second day went south early, until he birdied his last five holes on the Clark course for a 69 and the same 138 total.

Reinsberg was playing the Fry course, and word had filtered to the clubhouse that the two-time champ had bogeyed the 15th, a par 3. Bramlett and Galletti felt certain they would play sudden death for the title.

Reinsberg had no idea where he stood, since golfers were spread over two golf courses and there were no leaderboards.
“You just can’t worry about it,” Reinsberg said. “But both courses had greens that were very firm, difficult to get it close. So patience was the key.”

Reinsberg, who shot a 68 on the Clark to share the first day lead, lost some of that patience when he did not birdie the 14th, a reachable par-5. And then he missed a three-footer to bogey the 15th, which left him even par for the day.

“There was a ballmark in my line on that short putt and I didn’t fix it,” he said. “After those two holes, I was kind of fired up.”

He fired back with a pitching wedge to six feet on the 16th for birdie, and sank a one-foot putt on the short par-4 17th to go 2-under for the day and 5-under for the championship. A pitching wedge inside five feet on the final hole wrapped up the title, though he missed the putt.

“First, first, second, first,” Reinsberg said in his customary soft voice. “That’s not bad for the last four years here.”

Indeed, the Commuters has been a springboard for the former Cal golfer. After his first win in Alameda, in 2003, he played in the U.S. Open at Olympia Fields in Chicago, made the match-play field in the U.S. Amateur, and advanced to the quarterfinals in the U.S. Mid-Am. That earned him Northern California (NCGA) Player of the Year.

Another Cal golfer won the Senior Championship

Jeff Early, who played for the Cal golf team in the 1960’s, had not won a major championship in 40 years until his victory in the San Francisco City Senior Championship a month earlier. The Castlewood CC golfer made it two in a row with a victory in the Commuters Senior Championship, completing the Senior Bay Area Slam.

Early hit an 8-iron to two feet for birdie on his final hole (No. 9) for an even-par 71 on the Fry course to nip 1973 Commuters champ Bob Berg by one stroke.

“This was a good year to lead after the first round,” Early joked after he learned he had won.

Doug Poole collapsed from exhaustion, into a very comfortable chair, after the awards ceremony. The players were unanimous in their praise of the conditions of both golf courses, and all signed a commemorative placard to thank Poole for all his hard work.

Ron Salsig was the only west coast golf writer to receive a national award from the Golf Writers Association of America this year. He can be reached at rsalsig@pacbell.net

* * *

Final results from the Alameda Commuters golf tournament, played at the Earl Fry North and Jack Clark South courses at the Chuck Corica golf complex:

4/29/2006 4/30/2006 2 Round
Player Rd 1 Rd 2 Total Award
Rick Reinsberg 68 69 137 $750
Bramlett, Joseph 72 66 138 $360
Galletti, Jr, Roberto 69 69 138 $360
Cocco, Chandler 68 71 139 $200
McRae, Mike 70 69 139 $200
Tyler Ichikawa 70 69 139 $200
Wagner, Garett 73 66 139 $200
David Leuterio 71 70 141 $80
Jojola, Domingo 71 70 141 $80
Scott Hardy 71 70 141 $80
Sean McNamara 72 69 141 $80
Vanier, Gary 70 71 141 $80
Brandon Beck 70 72 142 $50
Taylor Hobin 74 68 142 $50
Yamane, Kent 72 70 142 $50
Burda, Jeff 72 71 143 $50
Jamie Looper 72 71 143 $50
Kilkenny, Chris 70 73 143 $50
Nick Rechedy 69 74 143 $50
Schacht, Richard 70 73 143 $50
Steven Pacheco 69 74 143 $50
Iulio, Iose 73 71 144 $50
Andrew Biggadike 74 71 145 $50
Cone, Daniel 72 73 145 $50
Dowden, Kyle 75 70 145 $50
Foreman, Terry 74 71 145 $50
Ichikawa, Adam 73 72 145 $50
Keane, Jonathan 74 71 145 $50
Scribner, Ben 75 70 145 $50
Sparolini, Stephen 73 72 145 $50
Taylor Travis 74 71 145 $50
Cary Chiappone 74 72 146 $50
Chris Marin 71 75 146 $50
Greg Hutton 71 75 146 $50
Hay, James 72 74 146 $50
Jeff Vetterick 75 71 146 $50
Jim Knoll 75 71 146 $50
Mark Merrigan 72 74 146 $50
Mormann, Brett 73 73 146 $50
Nevin, Andy 73 73 146 $50
Zulaica, Bruce 72 74 146 $50
Adam Barkow 72 75 147 $50
Brandon Harkins 70 77 147 $50
Brown, Tyler 74 73 147 $50
Enright, John 72 75 147 $50
Keigo Painter 73 74 147 $50
Mike Maurice 73 74 147 $50
Victor Simionas 75 72 147 $50
Will Johnson 71 76 147 $50
Bowdish, Andrew 73 75 148 $50
Smith, Kevin 74 74 148 $50
Voip, Arvo 73 75 148 $50
Webb, Ken 74 74 148 $50
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