SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (Jan. 10, 2010) -- It was a day that started with frost so thick that one player used his iPhone to scrape his windshield, and the 18th green was frozen solid at 8:00am.
The resulting two hour frost delay, combined with short winter days, forced the Tournament Committee to shorten the Inaugural Alister MacKenzie Cup championship division was shortened to 27 holes. Most of them used the extra warm up time to get ready, and most bettered their front nine score the second time around. The 9th hole, where the tournament finished, also makes good theater, as the deck of the clubhouse looks right down on the green and the entire fairway.
And while many of the Championship groups (which included 12 members of the Cal golf team) had small galleries watching from the deck, the only person that saw Jeffrey Hamm's double-eagle go in was the guy who makes those tasty "Olympic Club" burgers.
As the 5-wood shot flew to the back of the green on the uphill par-5, he told me he knew it was good. He even stepped out from behind the grill to watch it land, trickle off the back fringe, then roll like a putt down the steep slope and into the cup.
Ken Woods, the Head Professional of Pasatiempo, said this feat was a possible first on No. 9.
Even better for Hamm, the rare shot moved him from 2-over on the tournament to 1-under. Several players in late groups, including first round leader Chad Vivolo of Carmel (69) and Nick Ushijima of Hillsborough (70) were in good shape to make a move.
Vivolo had the best chance -- he wound up 1-shot back in second after his 30-foot put to tie narrowly missed to the right. "I just hit it a little too hard," he said. Ushijima, a former University of the Pacific standout who recently moved back from Japan, (he won the 2008 Japan Mid-Am) took third at 1-over par.
Neil Duffy played steady golf to win the Senior title. "I just made a bunch of pars," calmly explained one of two players in the field who wore shorts both days, despite the chilly conditions.
Korsen Yu won the Net Division. It was a 1-stroke victory that gave another amateurgolf.com title (and trophy clock) to the steady 10 handicapper, who let the field back in the door with a Net 82 in the final round after opening with a Net 71.
"I love it," said Yu. "Everywhere I look in my house now I know what time it is."
* Thank you to PGA Professional Ken Woods and the entire staff of Pasatiempo Golf Club for hosting us this year. We hope to come up with a revised schedule and plan for next year so that the event will be even better next year. But as for the golf course -- don't expect IT to get any easier!
* Shots of the tournament, beyond the Jeff Hamm double-eagle described above (which, by the way, is likely the first-ever in an amateurgolf.com event):
- On Sunday, Michael Weaver nearly aced the 5th hole -- his 5-iron shot flew directly over the pin to less than 6" away for an easy deuce.
- On Monday, David Mannix, a first time amateurgolf.com Tournament Player, holed a 5-iron for eagle on the 2nd hole. "I didn't see it go in," he told us later. "But the group in front of us was watching from the 3rd tee and they went crazy"
* To view a photo gallery from the weekend, click here>
View results for amateurgolf.com 2011 Alister MacKenzie Cup