Marsh's Late Charge Wins the Stocker Cup
by Scott Seward, for amateurgolf.com
CARMEL, CA (October 25, 2009)--Sometimes
championship golf comes down to how a golfer
deals with adversity.
For Stocker Cup champion Kevin Marsh, his
handling of his poor tee shot on the par-5 13th
hole in the final round ignited the Henderson,
NV resident on a four-birdies-in-six-holes
binge. It paved the way to a 67 that proved a
two-shot difference overall at the 7,067-yard
Preserve GC in Carmel.
After 12 holes on the last day, the leaderboard
was all but inert, with third-round leader Greg
Kennedy of Duluth, GA commanding a four-
stroke lead and appearing to be on cruise
control toward the title. But after Marsh,
playing in the third-to-last group, drove into a
hazard on the 13th, punched out, placed his
approach on the green and then drained a 40-
foot birdie putt with 15 feet of break, the
game was on.
Kennedy would go two-over the rest of the
way, while Marsh, the 2005 U.S. Mid-Am
champion, suddenly caught fire. The 36-year-
old would birdie the treacherous uphill 15th,
and then punctuate the win with birdies on the
two concluding holes. “Putting is usually my
strength,” Marsh said. “But the key today was
that I hit my irons well. I had not been doing
that earlier in the week.”
The sudden reversal in fortune left tournament
officials with a sense of déjà vu, harkening
back to 2008 when Chris Marin of Monterey
seemed to have the tournament well in hand
only to watch Joe Sanders charge past him
after Marin made a triple bogey on the 15th.
Kennedy posted a one-over 73 on the day, but
was philosophical about the finish: “You can
only be aggressive in certain spots on this
course; I just missed some putts coming in.”
He had started the day with a two-shot lead.
Playing with Kennedy in the final group,
Burlingame’s Randy Haag had his chances. The
Olympic Club member had perhaps the best
ball-striking tournament of the entire field, but
was unable to jump-start his putter. Five lip-
outs in the final round, including two in the
final four holes, kept the 2009 Northern
California Golf Association Player of the Year
out of a playoff. “My putting the last two days
definitely held me back,” the 50-year old said.
Haag finished tied for second with Kennedy.
Japan’s Nick Ushijima finished in fourth place,
five strokes behind the champion, while two-
time champion Craig Doell of Victoria, BC took
fifth. After as many as eight players were at
par or better for the event, only five would
remain in red numbers at the conclusion.
The championship was Marsh’s first in the
event in only his second time participating.
The Pepperdine alum has previously captured
the Southern California Amateur and Carlton
Woods Invitational as well as competed in the
2006 Masters as a result of his U.S. Mid-
Amateur victory. The 36-year-old played in the
final group in 2006 with champion Bob Niger,
but finished in a tie for 6th. “I’m really pleased
to win and look forward to defending next
year,” he said.
•This is the 10th anniversary for the Preserve
GC to host the event. The spectacular Tom
Fazio/Sandy Tatum design followed original
hosts Pebble Beach, Spanish Bay and Poppy
Hills on the nearby Monterey Peninsula.
•The title remains in Nevada for the second
consecutive year after Joe Sanders of Incline
Village won in 2008.
•Twenty players made the three-round cut,
which came at nine-over-par 225.
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-