California Senior Am: Knoll thru two

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Sept. 16, 2008) — Jim Knoll came back to the field today, which means that the 17th California Golf Association (CGA) Senior Amateur Championship has become a horse race heading into tomorrow’s final round.

The 55-year-old Knoll, who lives in Sunnyvale and is the reigning amateurgolf.com - Bridgestone Golf Senior Player of the Year, had torched Poppy Hills Golf Course with a 7-under-par 64 yesterday (the course is playing to a par 71 because of construction) but he came back to earth today with a 4-over-par 75. His 139 total for two rounds gives him a two-shot lead over Herb Jensen of Carmichael, who was one of four players to shoot 70 today. Another two shots back is Howie Knodt of Chula Vista, who also shot 70 today for a 143 total.

Reigning NCGA Senior Amateur champion Jeff Burda of Modesto and Douglas Johnson of Fresno are tied for fourth at 144, five shots behind the leader. Burda also shot 70 today. The top of the leaderboard has a distinctly Northern California look as 11 of the top 13 finishers are from the NCGA.

A total of 35 golfers shot 150 or better to make the cut for tomorrow’s final round. Tee times begin at 7:20 a.m.

Knoll, who just turned aged 55 and is playing in his first senior amateur tournament, began his round on the 10th hole and went double-bogey, bogey on the 12th and 13th holes for a back-nine total of 39. He also had two bogeys on the front nine and made his only birdie on the par-4 eighth hole.

Knoll, a member at Rooster Run GC, finally cooled off from his recent play. His last tournament round before this event was last Tuesday’s final round at the NCGA Valley Championship where he turned in a 7-under 65 at Winchester CC to overcome a six-shot deficit and win the event by one stroke over Burda.

Jensen, who teed off on No. 1 today, made two bogeys on the front nine but came home with three birdies against one bogey on the back side. Beginning on the back side, Knodt opened with consecutive birdies and finished with a 3-under-par 33 but could not make a birdie on the front side and settled for a 37.

Vanier, bidding to become just the second player ever to win more than one CGA Senior Amateur title, is tied for eighth at 147, eight shots behind the leader, after his 72 today.

--Courtesy SCGA

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ABOUT THE California Senior Amateur

First played in 1992, the CGA State Senior Championship is the state’s premier event for players aged 55 and over. Open to all senior amateurs with an handicap of 7.4 or less. An 18-hole qualifier is required for those who do not meet the exemption requirements. The championship format is 54 holes of stroke play with a cut to the low 30 players and ties after the second round.

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