by Elizabeth Kricfalusi, for amateurgolf.com
There were no major upsets in the first round of match play at the San Francisco City Golf Championship, which saw many familiar names moving on to tomorrow’s round of 32 at Harding Park. They include five of the top ten players on the NCGA’s current points list: Trent Tessler, Bob Niger, Randy Haag, Darryl Donovan, and Matt Foley.
Amateurgolf.com’s recommended “match to follow” proved indeed to be one of the highlights of the day. Trent Tessler of Redwood City and Garret Wagner of Brentwood, who met for the first time at today’s match, arrived at the 440-yard 18th all even. They both hit the green in two, and Tessler putted first—a 15-footer that he holed for birdie. Wagner stepped up to try to force the match to the 19th hole, but missed by a few inches to the right, giving the match to Tessler.
“Garret and I had a great match,” said the 29-year-old Tessler, who currently ranks 9th in NCGA points and 3rd in amateurgolf.com points. “We were, I think, 5- and 6-under, or 5- and 5-under respectively, on our own balls, so we played really well. He’s a really good player.” He continued by saying that playing someone of Wagner’s caliber helped his own game as well. “You know, you’ve got to win them all, and I think he definitely got my focus keyed in today.”
Tessler plays out of Crystal Springs and has a current index of 1.0. On Sunday, he will be paired with Joseph Bramlett, who finished 2-up at the 18th against Ray Suhandnata. “He’s another really good, young player,” said Tessler, “so we’ll have a good match. Joseph and I have played quite a bit together, so I’m familiar with his game and I’m going to have to bring it again tomorrow.”
Steve Wilson of Discovery Bay also had a good day, finishing 5-and-4 against Darian Shingu. Although Wilson had come into match play ranked 59 out of 63 (Shingu was ranked 6), he said that the number didn’t necessarily represent the way he had played as a whole last weekend. “I just had two triple-bogeys, one each day, which kind of knocked the rounds around. But for the most part I played pretty solid.”
“I played fair at best today,” he continued, “but he did not have a very good day… The one thing I did do well today, though, was that I holed a 4-iron from about 190 yards on number 6, so that was a good feeling.”
The 46-year-old Wilson last played at the SF City more than twenty years ago, shortly before turning pro for about five years. He had his amateur status reinstated in 1997, but then suffered a broken back that kept him out of tournament play again until recently, making his performance even more remarkable. Tomorrow he will play Stephen Simpkin, who went 5-and-4 as well against Mike Maurice. Wilson’s goal for tomorrow: “I’d like to be a little bit better with the putter.”
More Saturday highlights:
- Bob Niger, last year’s runner-up, went to 24 holes before winning against Scott Anderson.
- Ryan Trask, who went into match play after winning Medalist honors in the Qualifying round, won by default when his scheduled opponent Bobby Pereira did not show.
- Kevin Kobalter of San Rafael won his match against Jason Stone on the 19th hole to move on to play defending City champion Stephen Sparolini tomorrow. Sparolini had a bye today.
Tomorrow’s round will tee off at 7:30 a.m. and will be followed at 9:00 a.m. by the Men’s Senior Championship's first round of match play.
For complete results for the Women's Qualifier, Men's Match Play, Senior and Open Match Play, visit the official tournament website at click here