CARMEL, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2010) — The Stocker Cup commenced with first-round action at the Preserve GC Thursday.
The world-class mid-amateur field gathered to pay tribute to the spirit of competition embodied by tournament namesake Peter Stocker. With a tight leader board featuring 7 player under par, that spirit lives on.
Co-leaders Jerry Ledzinski and Brad Wilder had similar experiences to start their tournament, both running into difficulty on the innocuous-off-the-tee par-4 10th. The treacherous green produced a four-putt double for Ledzinski and and a bogey for Wilder. Neither seemed bothered, going on to post stellar four0under 68s to lead by one. "I wish I could say I saw this coming," Ledzinski, a Tehama Club member, said referring to his low round. "But I really wanted to relax and have fun with my partner."
"That green is so hard," Wilder, 31, said referring to the 10th. "But I made a 10-footer for par on 11 and that really calmed me down." The former University of Cincinnati standout has captured that last two Greater Cincinnati Golf Association Four-Ball championships with partner Billy WIilliamson, who is also in the Stocker Cup field.
Defending champion Kevin Marsh and 2009 runner-up Randy Haag played together and might have thought that the intervening year never happened as both competitors picked up right where they left off last October in posting three-under 69s. Marsh, the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, had a lukewarm day with the putter that kept the Dragon Ridge GC member from going lower. "I just couldn't make anything" he said regarding a round that saw the 2010 State Amateur semifinalist miss only one green.
Haag, the NCGA Player of the Year for a record fifth time, has had perhaps the most consistent year in his storied career. "I think more than half my rounds this season have been in the 60s," the 51-year-old said. "That's what I aspire to and it really makes it fun for an amateur golfer."
The Stocker Cup is also a team competition pairing the "A" field with partners playing at 90% of their course handicap for the Elliott Trophy, which is presented after Saturday's third round. Brad Stroh, playing his home club, and Jeff Britton of Tehama, are out to a one-stroke lead in the "B" player field, carding 8-under net 64s. Stroh played partner Harry Rudolph of La Jolla while Britton played with Steve Hudson of Old Overton GC.
* Representatives from Straight Down and Hot Stix were on hand at the driving range providing custom club fitting and on-site embroidery for competitors.
* Former champions are well represented on the leader board with Haag ('92 and '97), Marsh ('09), as well as Craig Doell ('04 and "07, who is
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 championship field is comprised of 45 mid-amateur invitees, plus an additional 5 players who earn their entries via a qualifying round held prior to the event. 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. In each round an A-player is teamed with a B-player in a net best-ball competition held simultaneously with the individual stroke-championship. The Stocker Cup is a Golfweek/amateurgolf.com Men’s World Rankings event.
ABOUT PETER STOCKER: Peter C. Stocker was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and educated at Denison University and the University of Denver. Peter and his wife Cathy came to San Francisco in the early 1970s. He exhibited entrepreneurial skills early in his career as he developed the internationally recognized "ParCourse" exercise and jogging trails. In 1974, Peter and his partners Bill Harlan and John Montgomery founded the Pacific Union Company of San Francisco, a highly successful real estate development firm. Pacific Union developed Meadowood Resort and Merryvale Vineyards in the Napa Valley, Opera Plaza in San Francisco's Civic Center and began the development of what was then known as Rancho San Carlos (and is now called The Preserve) a 20,000-acre private ranch near Carmel Valley. In the mid-1980s, Peter received national acclaim for his attempt to build a new downtown baseball stadium for the Giants, which ultimately came to fruition in 1998. He was also the developer of the highly touted Chardonnay Golf Club in the Napa Valley. His visionary talent and inspirational leadership were truly unique. Peter died in a tragic helicopter accident at Rancho San Carlos in 1990. The Stocker Cup Invitational was established in his memory the following year.