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NCGA Amateur Match Play: Olsen is Medalist at 138

PEBBLE BEACH--One of California's best young amateurs continued his hot streak Tuesday at Spyglass Hill in the 102nd NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship.

Eddie Olson shot a 2-under-par 70 in the final round of stroke play qualifying for a 138 total to earn medalist honors by two strokes. The 18-year-old, who will be a freshman at UNLV this fall, rode consecutive birdies on Nos. 5, 6 and 7 to distance himself from the pack. The Aptos High graduate is coming off of a victory Sunday at the Santa Cruz Amateur. The finals of the Match Play Championship are Friday, the day Olson is scheduled to leave for the U.S. Amateur in Ardmore, Pa. If Olson advances to the finals, he’ll have to catch a red-eye flight in order to make it to Pennsylvania in time for the start of the U.S. Amateur.

Another player who is no stranger to recent success is Serrano's Bob Niger. The 44-year-old followed his first-round 67 with a 1-over-par 73 to earn the No.2 seed going into Wednesday's first round of match play. A victory in July at the NCGA Stroke Play Championship gave Niger his fourth NCGA title, almost twenty five years after he captured the Sacramento Valley Championship as a 22-year-old. The come-from-behind victory punctuated a torrid streak during which he won eight of 20 tournaments.

Olson and Niger are just two of the 32 players who now all have an equal shot at taking the title. Among those 32, is former NCGA Player of the Year Rick Reinsberg. The Moraga resident turned in the low round of the day with an impressive 3-under-par 69 for a 141 total to earn the No. 4 seed. Eric Lillibridge of Green Valley matched Reinsberg's 141 total to earn the No. 3 seed.

After the completion of the 36-hole qualifying, nine players battled for the last eight spots. Gary Vanier of the Olympic Club, Steve Wilson of Discovery Bay, John Dunn of Hidden Valley Lake, Arvo Voip of Cinnabar Hills, Andrew Moren of Stevinson Ranch, Adam Sollers of Sharon Heights, Elliott Wainwright of the Olympic Club, John Justus of Green Valley and Erick Justesen of NPS. After the seventh playoff hole, Dunn was the only player not to survive.

Two rounds of matches each will be played Wednesday and Thursday and the scheduled 36-hole final will be Friday. Live scoring of all matches will be available on the NCGA website, starting at 8 a.m.

For complete results, please click the tournament link at the top of this story (amateurgolf.com membership requested)

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