Randy Haag (Courtesy SF City)
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif -- Randy Haag captured the San Francisco City Senior Sunday with a 3&1 win over Dean Prince.
Growing up in the Bay Area, Haag dreamed of playing in and winning the San Francisco City Championship.
“It’s not the biggest event I play in but it’s the most important,” Haag said.
The importance of the event is derived not only from the event’s great history with winners such as Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward, but the experiences Haag has enjoyed during competition.
One such experience was the 1999 Championship Match with Gary Veiner in the Men’s Championship. Veiner was 6-0 in championship matches up until Haag closed him out on the 17th green, making eleven birdies along the way. Those who witnessed the match called it one of the best matches in the tournament’s history.
“That was one of the greatest moments not only of my golfing career but my life,” said Haag.
With such fond memories of the championship and a golf game that remains at a very high level, it’s understandable that Haag had mixed feelings about playing in the senior division this year. After missing the cut to matchplay in the championship division, Haag came to terms with his place in the senior field and set out to win.
Haag began the tournament with a 73 in strokeplay qualifying to earn the 4th seed in matchplay. He survived some close matches en route to the final including a 1up win over Kenneth Gosselin in the round 16 along with a 2&1 win over two-time champion Jim Williams in the semifinals.
The final match against Dean Prince was played in the notoriously rainy and windy conditions that have been customary throughout the event’s 100 years. Haag’s length off the tee put him 50 yards ahead of Prince on nearly every tee shot, yet Prince’s scrambling ability accounted for his lack of distance.
The turning point of the match came on the par-5 12th hole. Haag was 2up at the time and after a good drive he pierced a three wood through the wind to eight feet for eagle. With Prince already in for birdie, Haag rolled in the eagle putt.
“Even with tough holes to play, that’s when I knew I had the match won,” Haag proclaimed.
With five more pars, Haag closed out the match on the 17th hole, the same hole that he won on 17 years prior and the same hole he watched his close friend Daniel Connolly close out his match in the championship division. This is likely the first time two Olympic Club members have won both the senior and men’s championship flights in the tournament’s history.
"I am truly honored to have won the 100th anniversary of this event and it's very special to be able to share it with Daniel whom I've known since he was a kid," Haag proudly stated.
Haag will be back next year to defend his title, but in the meantime he is dedicating his time to raising money for next year’s event. Currently, matchplay qualifiers pay greens fees for each round they qualify for. Haag plans on raising the money not only to cover greens fees for matchplay qualifiers, but to return all matches to the tournament’s original home, Harding Park. We wish Haag the best on his mission and look forward to supporting him along the way.
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