SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (March 2, 2008)-- Former San Francisco City Champion Randy Haag defeated medalist Colby Smith, who had been red-hot throughout the tournament 2 & 1 Sunday at the Harding Park Golf Course to reach the semifinals for the third time in the last four years, while making a bid to win his second title, the first coming in 1999.
"I knew it was going to be a tough match, Colby being the medalist and I got a preview of his game yesterday, so I knew he was a very, very long hitter, very good touch around the greens, good putter, just an all-around great game," said Haag, who has carded only five bogeys thus far in match play. "He birdied the first hole and got me in a bit of a hole, but I was able to make a birdie on four to even the match, and then when I went up in the match I felt it put a little extra pressure on him."
He will be faced by San Jose's Kent Yamane, who will be looking for a bit of revenge after being dispatched by Haag in a previous SF City Championship.
"I played Randy two years ago actually and I was hoping I'd be able to play him again, I've been looking forward to it," said Yamane after topping Eric Meeker 3 & 2. "He's solid, he doesn't make mistakes and he's a great putter. It's really how many birdies can you make against Randy, he's not going to give you anything."
Martin Trainer used his short game to cover for an occasionally spotty performance off the tee en route to a 2 & 1 victory over Nick Sako.
"Today my long game was not what I expected, but my short game really saved me," said Trainer, a junior at Gunn High School in Palo Alto. "I think that's what really put me back in the match, the fact that my short game was there and my putting was pretty awesome."
It was Tim Honeycutt's work off the tee in the later holes that put him ahead of Taylor Travis, who a day earlier had eliminated six-time champ Gary Vanier.
"It was pretty close the whole day, the tee shot on 16 I striped it, best tee shot of the day," said Honeycutt after his 3 & 1 victory. "It allowed me to hit a wedge into the green, two putt for par to tie that hole, then the tee shot on 17 is what sealed it. Hit it to within eight feet and won that hole and the match."
Semifinal play for the men's championship will resume Saturday, March 8th, for the full bracket, click here.
The women's flight had a pair of exciting finishes, as both teams in the second group needed extra holes to decide their match.
For the second day in a row Kelly Wilson needed extra holes to earn her spot in the next round, this time it was against Samantha Esguerra in what was the most exciting match of the day.
Wilson had Esguerra dormie heading into the 17th hole, but the Alameda golfer responded with back-to-back birdies to extend the match. The emotional comeback may have given Esguerra a bit too much adrenaline heading into the first playoff hole, as she hooked her tee shot OB, giving Wilson a chance to win with par.
"Going into 17 and 18 I have to give all the credit to Samantha, she birdied both holes, hit great tee shots and made a great putt on 18 probably from 12 feet to make birdie and extend the match," said Wilson. "She's a great player and really started to come on on the back side. I knew I just had to stay focused and make her work for it."
The second match of that foursome didn't lack for excitement either, as Emily Childs finally closed the deal on the 21st hole when she knocked her tee shot on the par-3 third to within a few feet, then drained the birdie to defeat Kortnie Maxoutopoulis.
Dorothy Schwartz topped Grace Na 1-up in her match and will meet Jordan Ontiveros in the semi's. A day after unseating two-time defending champion Diane Kwon, Ontiveros overcame Jane Dong 2-up.
For the full women's championship bracket, click here.
Then senior men were off for the weekend, they will resume semifinal play next weekend. Next weekend, medalist Jay Guerin, who hasn't played past the 15th hole in match play thus far, will take on Jim Knoll, while Bob Fleming will meet Frank Pieper. For a look at that bracket, click here.
For a look at the brackets of the open flights' John Susko bracket, click here, for the Ken Venture bracket, click here, and for the Harvie Ward bracket, click here.
amateurgolf.com would like to thank Kemper Sports and the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department, as well as Tournament Chairmain Mike Miller and Harding Park first assistant pro Almar Valenzuela for all their help over the weekend. Be sure to check back in next week for coverage of the semifinals and championship rounds.