TURLOCK (Sept 22, 2009) – There is something about the NCGA Valley Amateur Championship that suits Steven Chung.
The Morgan Creek GCC member claimed the championship for the second year in a row at Turlock GCC, and in the process, became the first player in the event’s six-year history to win back-to-back titles. The 23-year-old held the overnight lead with a first-round three-under-par 67. Then followed up with a four-under-par 66 in the final round to win the title by a six stroke margin at seven-under-par 133.
“The course just fits my game really well,” said the Sacramento resident. “I kept the ball in play and only made one bogey.”
Chung, a full-time amateur golfer, won the tournament last year at Winchester CC after finishing runner-up in 2007.
Ricky Stockton of Salinas Fairways finished runner-up at one-under-par 139, after carding a final-round 67. Meanwhile, California Golf Hall-of-Famer Casey Boyns took third at even-par 140.
Senior Valley Amateur Champion Herb Jensen
In the senior championship, Del Paso’s Herb Jensen captured his first ever individual NCGA title, edging out senior stalwarts Gary Vanier and Jeff Burda.
Jensen’s three-over-par 147 total was consistent enough for a one stroke victory over the field that also included 2008 Senior Valley Amateur Champion Jim Knoll and current second-ranked senior player Mark Miller. The champion notched birdies on the par-4 third hole and par-5 13th to fire a final-round one-over-par 73.
Jensen, a dentist from Sacramento, had only been in the winner’s circle once before when he nabbed the NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship trophy in 2006 with partner Mark Miller. “This wraps up a great few weeks of golf,” said Jensen. The win adds to an already successful season for the 60-year-old who recently placed 11th at the Canadian Senior Amateur in British Columbia and qualified for the U.S. Senior Amateur after he sank a 120-yard shot for eagle in a playoff at Green Hills CC.
Current Senior Points leader Gary Vanier of The Olympic Club held the overnight lead, but finished up tied in second place with Del Rio’s Jeff Burda at four-over-par 148. Vanier nabbed the runner-up spot in a playoff, while Burda took third.
Vanier, the 2006 Senior Player-of-the-Year, looks set to take the Association’s top senior honor once again this year, although there are still a couple of events left in the season.