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AGC Metropolitan Am: Garcia Sets Tournament Record

click above for a video recap of the event  
OAKLAND, Calif. (Sept 16, 2007) -- More than 70 players made their way to Oakland’s uniquely urban links course --affectionately called “Metro” by it’s regular players --  for the 5th amateurgolf.com Metropolitan Amateur.

Matthew Garcia, 18, of Burlingame fired a 5-birdie, bogey free final round of 67 (a near mirror of the scorecard posted by Senior Division player Herb Jensen the day before) for a 36-hole tournament record of 136, five shots lower than Evan Derian of Manhattan Beach.

Derian followed his uneventful round one 77 with a nice Sunday front nine of 1-under 35, then lit up the back nine with five birdies and an eagle on No. 17. He narrowly missed a putt on No. 18 to tie the overall course record of 63.

“I was hitting my driver well, and just sticking my lob wedges,” explained the modest Derian.

And while there are no leaderboards at amateurgolf.com (yet), judging from the way Matthew Garcia went about his business in the final group he wouldn’t have been fazed to see 141 flash on a scoreboard in front of him.

The tall, long ball-capable Garcia was sticking to his game plan, honed at his home course, The Olympic Club. Standing at 7-under for the tournament, he even felt comfortable laying up from the 200-yard range on the 17th, where many players (including the charging Evan Derian) try to grab an eagle or birdie for the road by clearing the water hazard in front of the green.

“I knew I was bogey free, so I felt comfortable laying up on 17,” said Garcia. “Then I just made a 20 foot putt on 18 so it was a nice way to end the tournament.”

In the Senior Division, Craig Johnson of Woodside came out to his first amateurgolf.com with the modest expectation of enjoying a Saturday pairing with his 16-year-old son Barrett and figuring out the course. A 2-under 70 put him in the middle of a final round pairing that included fellow San Francisco Golf Club member Jim Williams and one of that venerable club’s employees, the steady 68-year old Ron Wiley.

Leading the tournament (and rounding out the final foursome) was Herb Jensen of Carmichael. Jensen was enjoying his weekend in the Bay Area even more thanks to a bogey free round of 67 that saw him hit all 18 greens in regulation.

On Sunday, it looked to be more of the same for Jensen, who made an early bogey on No. 2 on but got the stroke back with a birdie at the fourth, a 446-yard par 4.

A comedy of errors (unless you were Jensen or Jim Williams) ensued at No. 6, where Williams tee shot found one of the rare trees on the course, and his provisional ball was hit mistakenly by Jensen, resulting in a two stroke penalty for a double bogey. Williams, coming off two straight birdies, suffered a triple bogey eight.

Johnson, who was already 1-under on the day thanks to a birdie at No. 3, made birdie and the resulting 3-stroke swing gave him the lead. Jensen quickly got square with a birdie on the par-3 seventh, and grabbed the lead at No. 8 when Johnson made bogey.

Johnson birdied No. 10 to get into another tie, and after the players split the next three holes with pars, Johnson took a two stroke lead with birdie at No.14, where Jensen bogeyed. His playing partner and friend Jim Williams summed it up this way:

“On 14, he [Johnson] hits the sweetest, purest 4 iron you've ever seen to a tough green over water to a back shelf pin. Then he canned the putt.”

The one stroke lead carried through to No. 17, where Johnson effectively put away the tournament by reaching the par 5 green in two with a 5 wood.

Credit Jensen, however, with never giving up. Needing a 2-stroke swing on No. 18, Jensen’s birdie putt down a steep slope nearly found the cup. Johnson almost holed out from 10 feet to shoot 68, then missed the inconsequential come-backer that will allow Williams to needle him for months to come. And Jensen, by the way, gets the 50 NCGA Senior points that go along with being the lowest score of the over 55-year-old players.

Net Division – Going LOW from the Whites

The Net players in amateurgolf.com events all know how to get around the golf course, but even par net still wins money at most of the tough venues we compete on.

Not this time.

Vince Steele proclaimed on Saturday that more than half the Net field would be under par playing from around 6000 yards at Metro, and he was right. He also won the tournament.

Steele, a 12.5 index player from Concord, broke 80 both rounds of the tournament, the first time he has ever accomplished the feat on consecutive days.

“I really wanted that last putt,” said Steele. “I didn’t know I needed it to win the tournament.”

Indeed, Steele edged Jim Grensted by a single shot thanks to his finish, with Grensted posting a gross 69, the lowest amateurgolf.com Net Division history. Grensted’s 68-60=128 net was just one shy of Steele’s 62-65=127 winning total. Korsen Yu finished alone in third at 132.

TOURNAMENT NOTES:

- A note of thanks to the entire staff of Metropolitan Golf Links, especially Professional Lynn Jones and Superintendent Gary Ingram for helping us prepare for and administer a quality event

- Evan Derian’s final round 8-under 64 equaled the tournament record at Metropolitan, posted last year in this tournament by Martin Trainer. (Pro golfer Dong Yi holds the regular record at 63.) While neither player won the event, they both enjoyed the excitement that ensues when players and those gathered around the scoreboard see such a number posted.

- Thanks to amateurgolf.com newcomer Mike Noble (and Al Richardson, who referred him to us) who many of you met for the first time at this tournament. Noble, who played Linebacker for Stanford before a brief pro career with the Raiders, will be working (is it work?) at many of our events in 2008.

- A final note of thanks to Leonard “Googie” Kirtley for his assistance with rules.



* * *

Final results from the amateurgolf.com Metropolitan Amateur, played at the 6959 yard, Par 72 Metropolitan Golf Links follow: (note: a story and video will be posted by Monday morning)

CHAMPIONSHIP
Pos First Last Hometown St Rd1 Rd2 Tot
Matthew Garcia Burlingame CA 69 67 136
Evan Derian Manhattan Beach CA 77 64 141
Mike Jensen Los Altos CA 70 72 142
Brian Swenson Dublin CA 70 72 142
Eric Mina Fremont CA 72 71 143
Erick Thorson Westlake Village CA 74 70 144
Adam Barkow Albany CA 70 75 145
Stephen Hale Bakersfield CA 73 72 145
Andrew Bowdish San Jose CA 71 75 146
Dominic Coccia Sonoma CA 72 74 146
Mike Granelli Clayton CA 72 74 146
Chris Jensen Los Altos CA 72 75 147
Travis Bregman Newhall CA 73 74 147
Sean Dyer Aptos CA 74 73 147
Dennis Carson Burlingame CA 73 75 148
Matt Cohn San Francisco CA 73 76 149
Jef Mallari Dublin CA 73 76 149
Stan Morrison San Francisco CA 74 75 149
Sal Felice II Hollister CA 77 72 149
Rhett Colbrese San Diego CA 72 78 150
Matt Williams CA 79 71 150
Neil Summers Livermore CA 77 74 151
Jeffrey Hamm Danville CA 74 78 152
Josh Boro SAN JOSE CA 74 79 153
Keith Schwartz San Mateo CA 74 79 153
Brandon McNally Burlingame CA 77 76 153
Chip Doyle Castro Valley CA 80 73 153
John Hasse Berkeley CA 76 78 154
Johnny Ferreira San Diego CA 73 83 156
Kitt Flood San Francisco CA 78 78 156
Esan Geroux Mill Valley CA 78 78 156
Tyler Lotridge Napa CA 76 81 157
Miles Thorson Thousand Oaks CA 79 79 158
Takashi Shimabukuro Berkeley CA 80 78 158
Dylan Smith San Francisco CA 80 78 158
Daniel Coccia Sonoma CA 80 79 159
Logan Woodruff oakland CA 81 79 160
Chris Monk Foster City CA 83 79 162
Ron Siskey Grover Beach CA 83 85 168
Randall Schwartz Burlingame CA 86 84 170
Bruce Rosen Solana Beach CA 88 83 171
Martin Renaud Hayward CA 82 wd wd
Jeff Lenamon San Ramon CA wd wd wd
Patrick Pernice Oakland CA wd/inj wd/inj wd/inj
SENIOR DIVISION
Pos First Last Hometown St Rd1 Rd2 Tot
1 Craig Johnson * San Francisco CA 70 70 140
2 Herb Jensen Carmichael CA 67 74 141
3 Jim Williams * Orinda CA 70 74 144
4 Ron Wiley San Francisco CA 71 76 147
5 Tom Lyons Pleasanton CA 73 75 148
6 Walt Edgerley Pleasanton CA 75 74 149
7 Michael Donnelly Clayton CA 76 75 151
8 Kevin Gaughan Danville CA 78 75 153
9 Thomas Hitchcock San Mateo CA 80 80 160
T10 Kevin Tierney Sunnyvale CA 82 79 161
T10 Robert A. Hulme Provo UT 84 77 161
12 David Love San Francisco CA 82 82 164
13 Dan Redmond San Francisco CA 85 80 165
NET DIVISION
First Last Hometown St Rd1 Rd2 Tot
1 Vincent Steele Concord CA 62 65 127
2 James Grensted Belmont CA 68 60 128
3 Korsen Yu Sunnyvale CA 67 65 132
4 Barry Bhangoo Oakland CA 67 68 135
5 SungHo Jin Fremont CA 70 69 139
Zachary Carr San Francisco CA 70 72 142
Steve Clarke San Francisco CA 67 76 143
Al Richardson Santa Clara CA 69 74 143
David Mack Redwood City CA 71 72 143
Nigel Harold Alameda CA 76 69 145
Lyle Covino san francisco CA 78 70 148
Michael Walsh-Ellis San Francisco CA 75 76 151
Bruce Stinson Emeryville CA 80 86 166


Note: Senior players under 55, marked by asterisk, do not earn NCGA Senior Points. Those points go to the low 5 players and ties who are at least 55.

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