Stocker Cup: Peterson Overtakes Niger for 54-hole Lead

By John Reger, for amateurgolf.com

CARMEL, California (October 14, 2006) --When Bob Niger walked off the green after his third round, Saturday at The Preserve Golf Club, he had a five-stroke lead over the field going into Sunday’s final round of the Stocker Cup Championship.

That lead looked like it would hold up, but four groups later, a rival had overtaken him.

Marc Peterson shot a 6-under 66 and finished 11-under par 205. Niger, who began the third round two shots ahead of Peterson, shot a 69 and is at 10-under 206. The next closest competitor is Michael Goodes of North Carolina at 7-under.

“I was hoping for anything in the 60s,” Peterson said. “This golf course suits my eye really well.”

Peterson is familiar with Niger , the two battled to a tie at the California State Fair Amateur Championship in September and Niger bested the 25-year-old Peterson with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

“I owe him one,” Peterson said.

Standing on the driving range in the morning, Niger wasn’t even sure his game was going to hold up in the third round.

“I wasn’t hitting it well on the range,” the 46-year-old Niger said. “I tried to put it out of my mind.”

That was made easier when he made birdie on the first hole. He also had two impressive par saves, including No. 18 when he pulled his approach shot into heavy rough then flopped his chip to 12 feet and made the putt.

Peterson didn’t have as many harrowing moments, but did have a thrilling finish. From the 14th hole in he made birdie, par, birdie, eagle, birdie to shoot 31.

“It was a nice run coming in,” Peterson said. “You are going to make mistakes, I just want to avoid big numbers. That’s my goal.”

54-Hole Team Competition Concludes

- Doell and Myers survive a serious challenge by Ebner and Zacks

The finale of the team competition was just as exciting. Phil Ebner and Andrew Zacks shot a final round 10-under par to finish 25 under 191, losing by a stroke to Craig Doell and Jack Myers.

Doell and Myers had a four-stroke lead going into the final round and shot 6-under 66, largely on the effort of 2004 Stocker Cup Champ Doell, who also shot 66.

“He played inspired golf today,” said Myers. “From tee to green he never let up.”

Doell said it was a team effort.

“We ham and egged it really well,” Doell said. “He carried me the day before. We were really a good pair.”

Shot of the day - goes to John Finster. Finster’s partner, Roger Huddlestone was on the green, while Finster was trying to get on the green after hitting over the green. Finster’s chip hit Huddlestone’s ball and it ricocheted into the hole.

Finster said Huddlestone exclaimed, “I finally helped out the team.”

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