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Stocker Cup: Kicks off Today at The Preserve

CARMEL, Calif. (Oct 4, 2006) -- The Stocker Cup, the premier mid-amateur tournament on the west coast, has its strongest field ever scheduled to compete at the Preserve Golf Club in Carmel on October 12-15.

* * * To view live scoring, click on the tournament link on the top of the page and follow the tournament link next to "see also" or visit the Stocker Cup website for complete results, including team scores, which will be posted after each round.* * *

Top mid-am (age 25-and-over) players invited from the U.S., Canada, and Japan will be joined by five players who gained entry into the field on September 28th at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco in an open qualifying event administered by amateurgolf.com.

An obvious favorite for the Tatum Cup (awarded to the low senior) if not the overall tournament for the second year in a row is defending champion Paul Simson. The North Carolinian is playing some of the best golf of his life this summer, starting with a victory in May at the North Carolina Senior Amateur, where the easy-going Simson graciously accepted his first Senior trophy (after winning an amazing 13 Carolinas Golf Association titles over the years) and jokingly stated at the trophy presentation, “I do not want to be a senior, but I have no choice.”

Simson jumped “across the pond” to win one of his biggest career titles in August by conquering some serious wind, and the field (by 5-strokes), at the British Senior Amateur. Later that month, Simson returned to his home state, and won the prestigious North & South Senior at Pinehurst by a whopping 15-strokes at the end of August.

The date on his license might say “senior” but the game says he can still compete at any level.

“It’s been a super year,” admitted Simson. “I’ve really been striking the ball well and my short game is good. I almost wish I played a little more.”

Although Simson was ousted in the quarterfinals at the USGA Senior Amateur (by eventual champion Mike Bell), his solid play was evidenced by sharing medalist honors at 1-under-par 143 after opening with an amazing 4-under-par 68 – the only player in the field to break 70 at the challenging Victoria National Golf Club. Simson is a veteran of 38 USGA events, including the 1998 US Open at San Francisco’s Olympic Club, where he missed the cut by just one stroke. He likes a fast course setup, and that’s exactly the way The Preserve plays for the Stocker Cup in October.

“I’m looking forward to coming back to The Preserve,” said Simson, who was preparing for a whirlwind Northern California golf trip with friends the week before the Stocker Cup.

“You have to keep the ball in the right place on the greens – it’s a shot maker’s course.”

Bob Niger of El Dorado Hills, California is another player in need of a new trophy case. Niger just sealed the Northern California Golf Association Player-of-the-Year title, winning the prestigious NCGA Valley Amateur on top of the NCGA Master Division title he won earlier in the season. He also won the California State Fair Amateur, a Golfweek Points event, and several city championships, and finished 3rd in the historic Harvey Pennick Invitational in Austin in late September. At the beginning of the season he became the first player to win three amateurgolf.com events in a row at some of Northern California’s most challenging courses. Niger is a technician who works his way around a golf course strategically, and like Simson, the harder the course, the more he separates himself from the field.

Other players to watch include:

Gene Elliott of W. Des Moines Iowa – Elliott is coming off a runner-up finish at the Crump Cup at Pine Valley and a run to the quarterfinals at the USGA Mid Amateur in Arizona in September.

Craig Doell and Bryan Toth of Victoria, BC – Doell, a member of the Canadian National amateur team in 2005, won the Stocker Cup in 2004. He is bringing with him the 2006 British Columbia Amateur champion, Bryan Toth.

Robert Funk of Canyon Lake, California – winner of the Trans Miss Amateur at Brook Hollow in Dallas in July, and earlier in the season the Southern California Golf Association Mid Amateur and the amateurgolf.com Two Man Links Championship at Bandon Dunes (with David Bartmaan)

Nick Ushijima of Fukuoka, Japan – The longest commute may make him tired, but Ushijima is used to the long flight and this year he’s coming in early, and rested. A former resident of Stockton, California and University of the Pacific golf team, Ushijima advanced to the round-of-16 at this year’s Japan Amateur.

Jeff Wilson of Fairfield, California – Wilson made another strong run at the USGA Mid-Amateur this year in Arizona. The low amateur in the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach can handle a course like the Preserve with its US Open-like greens

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 52 world-class mid-amateur invitees, who meet stringent eligibility requirements, and pay a minimal fee for their participation. Offering both NCGA and national Golfweek points, the Stocker Cup also holds a one-day qualifying tournament at Harding Park in San Francisco, for regional players who were not among the original invites. On September 28, fifty-three competitors with a handicap index of 2.4 or lower vied for five A-list spots in the main tournament. Those final 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.

Results will be posted on this website daily, and emailed to major golf media outlets. Please use the contact information below to add your name to the media list.

MEDIA CONTACT INFORMATION:
Pete Wlodkowski
amateurgolf.com
6965 El Camino Real
Suite 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760-929-9297 office
760-685-3406 mobile
email: petewl@amateurgolf.com


Notes:
1.) www.amateurgolf.com provides information on amateur tournaments around the U.S., runs a 15-event tournament series, and provides web and media services for events such as The Stocker Cup, The Carlton Woods Invitational, The Harvey Pennick Invitational, and The St. Augustine Amateur. The website is supported by membership fees and advertising -- the annual fee of $35/year will be waived for members of the golf media upon receipt of an email or phone request.

2.) A complete list of A-player biographies, as well as tournament history, background, and information on the late Peter Stocker can be viewed at- http://www.stockercup.com

3.) Media Inquiries can be directed to Pete Wlodkowski of amateurgolf.com at 760-929-9297 or by contacting him via email.

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