PEBBLE BEACH (July 13, 2008) - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you have a friend in NCGA Stroke Play Champion Matthew Hollinsead.
After the 22-year-old posted wildly divergent rounds of 67-77-69 that the Robert Louis Stevenson characters would be proud of, Hollinsead found himself opposite NCGA veteran Rick Reinsberg in a playoff.
“I’m an up-and-down player, the champion (right) said. “I’ve been streaky my whole life.”
The former Cal State Stanislaus golfer made short work on the one extra hole, hitting a perfect cut 3-wood to inside 20 feet on Poppy Hills’ 18th for an easy two-putt birdie. Taking a play out of Tiger Woods’ playbook at Torrey Pines, Hollinsead birdied the final hole to get in the playoff and then again a half hour later for the title.
The Wildhawk CC member posted the low round of the championship in his opening round, a stellar 5-under-par 67 on the tough, 6,746-yard Poppy Hills course, but experienced a disastrous stretch where he bogeyed five holes in a row in the middle of his second round. The resulting 77 seemed to put the title out of reach. “The first day I had my game, the second I just lost it,” the Roseville resident said. But a final-round, three-under 69, powered by five birdies on the incoming nine (against two bogeys), took Hollinsead to the winner’s circle.
Runner-up Rick Reinsberg clearly embodies the life of a mid-amateur. With a new career and two children under four years of age, the Moraga member doesn’t get to play much golf. But the 36-year old makes the most of his opportunities; the Stroke Play is only the third event (and perhaps last) of Reinsberg’s 2008 season. Two faulty drives on the 18th hole, one at the end of regulation and again in the playoff, proved the difference as the 2003 NCGA Sacramento Valley and 2005 NCGA Four-Ball champion was unable to capitalize on what is normally a birdie hole.
A five-way tie for third place told the story of a highly-competitive event where no less than nine players were in the running for the championship late in the final round. NCGA Amateur Match Play champion Ryan Hallisey of Granite Bay, NCGA Junior Champion Sam Smith or Turlock, Kory Storer of Peninsula GCC, Matt Marshall of La Rinconada and Cameron Rappleye of Valley Hi all finished two strokes back. Five more players were only three strokes back including the 2004 champion of this same event Scott Hardy, current NCGA Senior champion Jeff Burda and 2007 runner-up Steve Woods.
Defending champion and current NCGA Player of the Year Casey Boyns finished five strokes back and was not a factor on the final day.
Though Hollinsead has contended in other events, notably runner-up finishes in the California State Fair in 2007 and Sacramento City last month, the Stroke Play represents his greatest victory to date.