NCGA Amateur Match Play: Field down to 8

PEBBLE BEACH, CA (August 17, 2005) -- Tournament favorites Eddie Olson and Bob Niger are two of the survivors moving on to compete in Thursday's quarterfinals. As stroke play qualifying medalist and No. 1 seed, Olson was stretched and won both his first and second round matches on the final hole. The Aptos High graduate relied on a 20-foot putt to dispatch Adam Sollers in his morning match and a closing par in the afternoon to beat Kevin Nabbefeld of Bethel Church. Coming off of a victory Sunday at the Santa Cruz Amateur coupled with a summer filled with travel, the 18-year-old admitted to being "mentally exhausted."

"I hung in there and gutted it out today," Olson said. "I feel very comfortable at Spyglass. This is one of my favorite courses around."

Olson's opponent in the quarters will be Erick Justesen of NPS. The 20-year-old began his day with a smooth 5-and-3 victory over Jesse Steinhart of Sharon Heights and ended it with a tight 1-up decision over Craig King of Amateurgolf.com.

While Olson and Justesen represent the younger contingent, veteran Niger may be the player to beat. Still feeling confident from his 5-under-par 67 during stroke play qualifying, the El Dorado Hills resident is playing some of the best golf of his life. In the first round, Niger won 1 up over 20-year-old John Justus of Green Valley, then carried his momentum to a 6-and-5 thrashing over 21-year-old Mick Baker of the Bridges.

"I really didn't make any mistakes this afternoon," said Niger. "I have been playing my own game and not getting ahead of myself."

Niger would love to add this championship to his already impressive golf resume. The 45-year-old has had close calls in the past, losing in the semis and finals of this very event.

The long day was made even longer when the last match to finish, Jason Anthony's win over Steve Wilson of Discovery Bay, went two extra holes before a winner was decided. Anthony, from Green Valley, ended the evening with an eagle-3 on the match's 20th hole. NCGA standouts Casey Boyns and Rick Reinsberg battled until the final hole, with Boyns winning 1 up.

Thursday's play will be more of the same as the four quarterfinal matches will start at 7 a.m., the winners of which will face off in the semis, starting at noon. Live scoring starts at 8 a.m.


The oldest of the NCGA’s major events, the Amateur Match Play Championship, dates back to 1903 when it was first played at San Rafael GC. Varying formats have been used over the 106 years of competition but today the tournament is 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, followed by a 32-person seeded match play bracket. Pre-qualifying required for non-exempt players. Players must have a handicap index of 5.4 or less.

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