CARMEL, Calif. (Oct. 15, 2009)—With four players qualifying for the 2009 Stocker Cup Invitational Golf Tournament at open qualifier on September 29 at CordeValle Golf Club, the field is officially set for Stocker Cup, which will be played October 22-25 at The Preserve Golf Club in Carmel. Once again, the Stocker Cup boasts a strong, experienced field that includes multiple state champions and USGA participants from 14 states in the U.S. (plus Puerto Rico) as well as Japan and Canada. Several early favorites include:
- Canada’s Craig Doell, who won the event in 2004 and 2007, but was unable to defend his title in 2008. Doell, hailing from Victoria, B.C., is an internationally-seasoned golfer who has been named to the Canada National team in 2005 and 2006, in addition to representing Canada at the World Amateur Team Championship in 2004. He won the Peru Amateur as an individual in 2002 and earlier this year finished runner-up in the Canadian Mid-Amateur.
- Leading the list of players trying the prevent Doell from grabbing a record third Stocker Cup title will be defending champion Joe Sanders of Incline Village, Nevada. To say Sanders’ game is in tournament-ready form would be an understatement –this season he won the Kelly Cup in Burbank in a three way playoff, then qualified for both the US Am and Mid-Am Championships. Sandwiched between those accomplishments was a victory in the Nevada State Amateur, and second-straight Northern Nevada player-of-the-year title.
- And if you think the trend of players in their forties and fifties continuing to excel at the highest level is just reserved for pros like Tom Watson and Kenny Perry, take a look at Brady Exber of Las Vegas, Nevada. Exber played his first Stocker Cup in 2008 and finished a very respectable T8th. He won the 2009 Arizona Senior Open (so we know he’s at least 50) and represented Nevada in the USGA State Team Championship, where he finished 8th. The steady Exber also won the 2008 Nevada State Am and qualified for the 2008 US Senior Open as well as both the 2008 and 2009 British Senior Open. At No. 57, Exber is the highest ranked player in the field in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com Rankings.
Other players to watch include:
Nick Ushijima, Fukuoka-shi, Japan – Once again easily winning the “longest trip to compete” competition, Ushijima has several top five finishes in the tournament and is overdue to win. This year he finished final 16 in the Scratch Players Mid-Am. Nick was a contestant in the 2008 Japan Open and winner of the 2007 Japan Mid-Amateur. He has competed in 7 U.S. Amateurs and 8 U.S. Mid-Amateurs.
Casey Boyns, Pacific Grove, CA – In Northern California, Boyns’ name is among the most recognizable in amateur golf. He is the only four-time Northern California (NCGA) Player of the Year and a two-time California State Amateur champion who has competed in many USGA events as well. Boyns was recently inducted into the 2009 California Golf Hall of Fame, and made a serious run at winning the Northern California Amateur, finishing runner-up.
Harry Rudolph, La Jolla, CA – A former collegiate standout at Arizona who competed with Phil Mickelson in San Diego junior tournaments (winning many) and at the college level, where he played on Arizona’s 1992 NCAA Champion team. After a stint as a professional, followed by a long layoff from the game, Rudolph regained his amateur status in 2009 and won the San Diego City Championship, advanced through the local qualifier at the US Open (in his first tournament back) and qualified the USGA Mid-Amateur.
Bill Williamson, Cincinatti, OH – 2009 Ohio Mid-Amateur Champion; 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier; represented Ohio in 2009 U.S. State Team
Rick Helling, Excelsior, MN – Former major-league baseball pitcher and member of two World Series winning teams (Florida Marlins 1997 & 2003)
With so many talented amateurs in the field, that it is difficult to identify favorites. To view a list of all competitors including photos and playing resumes, visit www.stockercup.com/contestants.htm. www.amateurgolf.com will be on site throughout the tournament, providing daily coverage and a tournament video wrap-up which will be posted on the Oct. 20, be sure to check back in with us to keep up with the action.
ABOUT THE STOCKER CUP:
The Stocker Cup, played in memory of Peter Stocker, is held each October at The Preserve Golf Club in Carmel. The field is comprised of 52 world-class mid-amateur invitees, who meet stringent eligibility requirements, and pay a minimal fee for their participation.
The Stocker Cup is a Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Rankings points event. In addition to the A players who are invited based on their playing accomplishments, the Stocker Cup also holds a one-day qualifying tournament for players not receiving invitations. On September 29, over thirty competitors with a handicap index of 3.4 or lower vied for the final four A-list spots at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, CA. Tanner Makimoto of Roseville, CA posted a 1-under 71 to take home medalist honors and qualify for his second national tournament of the year (he played in the USGA Amateur at Southern Hills in August).
Those final A-list golfers are complimented by a matching number of qualified B-list competitors, with invitations extended to friends, relatives and associates of the late Peter Stocker, as well as to various sponsors and other supporters of the event. Every A-player is teamed with a B-player in a handicapped best-ball competition held simultaneously with the individual stroke-championship.