PEBBLE BEACH – The 7th Annual Senior Amateur Match Play championship began with a fair amount of upsets during the round of 32 at Spanish Bay GL. Six qualifying players beat their exempt opponents to continue on to the round of 16.
The 16 top NCGA senior amateur point leaders earned exempt entry and the lowest seeds in the match-play field. The final 16 players filled out seeds 17 through 32 earning their way into the bracket through an 18-hole stroke-play qualifier.
Qualifying for the event, however, may have had benefits. The stroke-play qualifier took place at Spanish Bay allowing players to get a better idea of the course before heading into the round of 32.
NCGA Senior Amateur points leader and top seeded player for the event, Jim Knoll of Rooster Run GC had never played at Spanish Bay GL before the round of 32.
“It was tough,” Knoll said. “My opponent really brought his game today and we were all square after nine. He had a better feel for the course since he played here yesterday.”
Something must have clicked with Knoll as he made the turn. He won every hole on the back nine before shutting out Garth Keehan 5 & 4. Knoll won his match despite having little feel for the course layout.
Stroke-play qualifying medalist Craig Gandy of Catta Verdera CC, however, used his qualifying knowledge of the course to his advantage to upset his match against Neil Duffy. Gandy handily won the match 6 & 4 after making the turn 2-up. Gandy had the largest winning margin in the round of 32.
Gandy and Knoll will face off tomorrow at Spyglass Hill GC for the round of 16.
The biggest upset in the round of 32 came from the No. 26 seed, Greg O’Malley, who beat out 2010 Senior Amateur Match Play Champion Dan Bieber (seeded No. 7). O’Malley won 3 & 2 after making crucial gains on the front nine. He made the turn 2 up and closed out the match with birdies on Nos. 13 and 15. O’Malley will take on Ron Jonson in the round of 16.
2012 Senior Amateur Match Play Champion Terry Foreman won his match over Bert Walker 2 & 1. Foreman will continue match play Wednesday against Michael Wiechers who upset his match winning 4 & 3.
2011 Senior Amateur Match Play Champion Casey Boyns of Pasadera CC will also continue to the round of 16 after winning his match 5 & 4. Boyns will face off Steve Donnelly who upset his match winning 3 & 2.
The 7th Annual Senior Amateur Match Play Championship will continue with the round of 16 and the semifinals, Wednesday, August 14 at Spyglass Hill GC. Tee times for the round of 16 begin at 9:40 a.m. The quarterfinal matches will follow with tee times beginning at 2:36 p.m.
View results for Northern California (NCGA) Senior Match Play Championship