PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Aug 14, 2007)-- Scott Hardy captured medalist honors and the #1 seed at the NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship, firing a 36-hole, 4-under-par 140 total at Spyglass Hill.
Hardy, the golf coach at St. Mary’s, is battling a sore back that caused him to withdraw from last week’s U.S. Amateur Qualifying after 18 holes. His experience and past success at Spyglass, the course he deemed his favorite, allowed the medalist to overcome the pain and clearly played a role in his success.
“I know where you can and can’t hit it here," he said. "I think that makes a difference. My misses are playable at this course.”
Hardy is seeking to add to a glittering resume of NCGA titles that includes the Valley, Stroke Play, Public Links and Four-Ball (with partner Rick Reinsberg). A new father, Hardy also has the distinction of having captured a major NCGA title the last four years in a row, winning the Public Links at Spyglass in early July to extend the streak. His best finish in this event is a loss in the finals in 2001 to champion Matt Bettencourt.
Three other veterans of NCGA competition earned high seeds, including two-time Amateur winners Casey Boyns and Randy Haag (who stand first and second on the NCGA Points’ List and earned #5 and #2 seeds, respectively) and 56-year-old Gary Vanier (who won this event in 1997).
Haag is enjoying a successful August that saw him qualify for the U.S. Amateur next week at his home course, the Olympic Club. Of qualifying, he said, “I’ve been thinking about that since it was first announced, so I’m kind of floating still.”
Haag finished two strokes back of Hardy.
Vanier is the 2006 NCGA Senior Player of the Year and is eligible for the inaugural NCGA Senior Match Play Championship, which begins Wednesday. But in the past, the Olympic Club member has stated a preference for sometimes competing with what he refers to as “the kids.” Clearly, his game still matches up and then some, as evidenced by his #4 seed. Vanier will play another senior golfer and Olympic Club member John Enright in the first round of match play
The 32-player, match-play field was finalized after a six-player playoff. The cut came at eight-over-par 152.
Defending champion Ryan Thornberry is not in the field, having turned professional at the beginning of 2007. Thornberry is currently competing on the Canadian Tour.
Two rounds of match play are scheduled for Wednesday, with the quarterfinals and semifinals set for Thursday and the scheduled 36-hole final slated for Friday.