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Visa SF City Championship: Trainer tops Haag

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (March 9, 2008)-- In one of the biggest upsets in the recent history of the Visa San Francisco City Championship, 16-year-old Martin Trainer topped Bay Area stalwart and former champion (1999) Randy Haag 2-up to become the youngest title winner in history.

The first day of daylight saving time greeted Harding Park with sunshine and 70 degree weather for the finals, which saw Haag and Trainer trading birdies throughout, with only three holes halved, and ended at the 18th hole all square.

Haag got off to a fast start after the lunch break going birdie, par, birdie to put Trainer 3-down, but Trainer responded by winning the next four holes.

Haag got back to even the match on the 25th hole, but missed the green left on the par three 26th hole. Unable to get up and down, Trainer went 1-up with a two putt par-3. Both players reached the par five 27th hole, Haag just off the back edge and Trainer in the right fringe pin high. Haag's three-putt allowed Trainer to win with a birdie and take a 2-up lead into the final nine.

Haag was by no means finished, winning the next three holes as Trainer failed to par the 28th and 29th and lost the par-five 30th to Haag's birdie-4. The next two holes were halved with pars. Trainer broke the streak and birdied the 33rd from twelve feet to even the match once again. On the short, strategic 310 yard 34th hole, Haag's wedge settled three feet from the hole leaving a straight uphill putt for birdie. Trainer answered with his own wedge to 6 inches for his second straight birdie and the match was still all square.

"I was a little nervous, especially at the end, but I tried to keep it under control," said Trainer. "I knew I was nervous, but I'm not sure if anyone else did, sometimes I play better under pressure."

On the 35th Trainer went one up as Haag again missed the green right and failed to get up and down. On the long par four 36th hole that skirts along Lake Merced both players hit perfect drives to the center of the fairway. Haag, playing first, found the bunker at the front right of the green. Trainer's five iron landed softly on the front edge of the green and settled just on the collar pin high. Haag's bunker shot came up ten feet short and his putt missed mark leaving Trainer two putts from five feet for the victory.

Haag graciously conceded the putt and Trainer was the victor 2-up.

"I have never played with Randy" said Trainer. "But I knew he was a great player. But you just can't know how good he really is until you've played him. I learned a lot. He does more that just make great shots, he manufactures shots when he needs them, he's a great putter, and he finds more ways to get the ball in the hole than anyone I've ever played with."

As for Haag, who has been playing in the event for the past 30 years?

"I'll be back" he said. "I consider the City to be one of the most import and tournaments I play. Martin was a great kid to play with, great demeanor and a tremendous talent. I look forward to watching him develop over the coming years."

At age 16 becomes the youngest Men's Champion, replacing Ken Venturi who won at age 17.


In the women's championship, University of Colorado at Boulder-bound Emily Childs fought tooth and nail with Dorothy Schwartz. At the end of the morning round they were all square with neither player having built up more than a one-hole lead. The afternoon continued with much of the same, the lead exchanged several times. The breakthrough finally came on the 35th hold when Childs drained a 20 foot putt for birdie to go one up. The 36th hole was halved giving Childs the victory

In the senior division, Jim Knoll topped Frank Pieper 2-up.

Bryan Ungaretti won the open division's John Susko bracket while Chris Ingram won the Ken Venturi bracket, and Jon Levine took the Harvie Ward bracket. Ron Goordon won the Sandy Tatum bracket.

Sean Denny was the winner of the Tom Culligan Senior Open bracket..

In the women's open divisions, Linda Brown won the Juli Inkster bracket while Alexandra Wong took the Jan Ferraris bracket.

Thanks to tournament chairman Mike Miller for the story, as well as Kemper Sports and the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department.

ABOUT THE San Francisco City CHAMPIONSHIP

NOTE: 2017 REGISTRATIONS CLOSED ON JAN. 15.

MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION
$300 ENTRY FEE INCLUDES ALL GREEN FEES.

156 contestants will be allowed to qualify for the Men’s Championship flight. Qualifying will consist of 36 holes played at TPC Harding Park and Lincoln Park Golf Courses. The first 120 entries, based on the earliest date received, with an index of 6.4 or lower as of 12/01/2016 shall go directly into the qualifying beginning on March 4, 2017. If more than 120 entries are received, the remaining entrants will pre- qualify for the final 36 spots on Friday, March 3, 2017 at Lincoln Park Golf. Pre-qualifiers who do not qualify will be refunded $150. Entrants who do not show for pre- qualifying will not be entitled to a refund. Once all qualifying has been completed, the Men’s Championship Flight will consist of 63 contestants from the Men’s Championship qualifier, as well as the Past Champion, who will hold the number two seed. Competition will begin on March 11, 2017. All play for the Championship Flight will be held at TPC Harding Park Golf Course. Those contestants who post the 64th and 65th low scores will be deemed alternate #1 and #2, respectively.

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
The oldest municipal tournament in the USA. Match play event with scratch senior, women's and net divisions. Past champions include Ken Venturi, George Archer, and Dorothy Delasin. Some of the 'non winners' include Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. Click the 'history' tab for more about this wonderful event.

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