PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (July 11, 2010) – Kevin Lucas blew away the field in the final round of the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Poppy Hills, his 7-under 65 propelling him to a new tournament record and a four-shot win.
Lucas, a Folsom native and member of the Collegiate Players’ Club, began the day one back of St. Mary’s Golf Coach Scott Hardy and University of Washington-bound Cory McElyea. But while the leaders had posted a two-round total of 5-under 139, it was the 21-year-old Lucas who had the momentum, carding a four-under 32 on his incoming nine in the second round. The rising junior at the University of Nevada-Reno would then seize the championship via a six under performance through the first 12 holes Sunday. That’s 10-under over 21 holes, a pace that left his competitors gasping for air. “When I birdied 10, I felt pretty good, but you never know,” the champion said. “I knew the eagle on 12 had me four up and that felt pretty good.” He would add a birdie on the final hole after a series of solid pars on Poppy’s back nine to reach seven under for the day, 11-under for the event, breaking Rick Reinsberg’s tournament record set in 2009 by four shots.
“I hit the ball great all week but shot 40 on the front yesterday,” Lucas said. “So my caddie said ‘Lets get something going.’ It was just a matter of making something happen.” Lucas began his collegiate career at Monterey Peninsula College before transferring home to Sierra College in Rocklin where he captured the Northern California Community College individual title in 2009. He also added the Redding City championship and a trip to the U.S. Amateur to his resume last year. A transfer to the division one Nevada-Reno for two years will hopefully precede a professional career for the champion. “I’m looking forward to some college D1 experience,” he said. After displaying a full range of shots, an explosive scoring talent and the ability to play defensively, success at the division one level seems a forgone conclusion.
McElyea, a 2010 graduate of Harbor H.S., was runner-up in the San Francisco City earlier this year and grabbed the same position in the Stroke Play, posting a score that would have won any other year’s Stroke Play, 7-under 209. Hardy was unable to capitalize on his opening 66, posting an even-par final round, fading to third place. The 34-year-old was seeking his second NCGA major title of the year (and sixth overall) after claiming the Public Links back in April. He previously won the Amateur Stroke Play in 2004, the first year of its playing after a hiatus of 38 years. Chad Vivolo’s final-round 69, the second low score of the day, earned the Monterey Peninsula CC member fourth place.
The shot of the tournament came from Mathew Miller, who aced the 220-yard 15th in the second round.
Current and four-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag added another top 10 finish to his list of accomplishments finishing runner-up in a playoff earlier in the week at the NCGA Master Division Championship at Poppy Hills. Haag has taken over the lead in the race for NCGA Player of the Year, and is in position earn an unprecedented fifth award.