Haag extends Stocker Cup lead

by Scott Seward, for amateurgolf.com

CARMEL, Calif. (October 28, 2011) - Randy Haag has a three-stroke lead at the mid- point of the 20th annual Stocker Cup at The Preserve GC.The Olympic Club member posted a three-under 69 to pair with an opening 68, yet still left the course unfulfilled after watching five putts rim out and making three bogeys. "That's too many on a day like this," the 52-year-old said after the round. But the leader still managed to avoid three- putting, a notable accomplishment on the Tom Fazio design's devilish greens.

"I've really worked on my shot game the last year," Haag said. "I think it's important that your expectations match your talent level. I know I'm going to miss shots, but it's how I recover from those misses that matters."

Mike McCoy of West Des Moines, Iowa fired the low score of the event thus far in the second round, a sterling five-under 67 that has him three back of Haag. McCoy finished third in this same event in 2010 and has captured five Crump Cup championships at prestigious Pine Valley.

"This sure is a relaxing week," he said. "It's such a spectacular place."

Defending champion Kevin Marsh of Henderson, Nevada posted a 69 in the second round and is four back of the leader in third place. Last year's runner-up Brad Wilder vaulted into contention with a three- under 69, leaving the 2011 Greater Cincinnati Amateur champion two under for the championship and five off the lead. Wilder changed putters after Thursday's opening round, from an Odyssey Two-Ball model to a heaver mallet.

"I putted poorly yesterday," he said. "You have to be comfortable with the putter on these greens so I was afraid to change, but it made a difference today."

Wilder led the 2010 Stocker Cup for the first three rounds before getting overtaken by champion Marsh in the final round. Friday's picture-perfect weather, low wind and slightly easier hole locations had a huge impact on scoring. After Thursday's first round saw only four players break par, 17 were below par Friday, with eight in the 60s.

"If you didn't shoot a good score today, you got passed," Wilder said.

Russell Humphrey of Woodbridge GCC saw his second-round score swing 10 shots better than his opening effort.

"The greens are tricky," he said. "I was able to get a lot of reads today from the other players in my group."

Humphrey and partner Fred Vinton of The Preserve carded the low better ball team score of the event thus far, a 60. Vinton, Justin Roach and Jack Myers, both of Claremont Country Club lead the Elliott Cup, a 54-hole best-ball team competition that pits one of the scratch A-Players with a B- Player competing at 90% of his assigned handicap. The three players stand at net 18- under 126. The Elliot Trophy is presented after Saturday's third round. Brady Exber and Doug Poole, both members of TPC Summerlin, share the lead in the race for the Tatum Cup, for "A" golfers aged 55 and older. Exber and Poole stand at one-over 145. The top 16 "A" players and ties along with the top 4 senior players will advance to the final round on Sunday.


Players universally praised the outstanding condition of the course. Superintendent Cory Isom, CGCS, has prepared an outstanding championship venue characterized by smooth and fast greens and fairways that rival the the putting surfaces at other courses.

Four know players in the field have competed in past U.S. Opens including Darryl Donovan ('92 at Pebble Beach as a professional), Jeff Wilson ('82, '90, '00 - where he was low amateur at Pebble Beach and '08), Dave Nelson and Dr. James Rheim, a "B" player who competed at Southern Hills in 1977.

ABOUT THE Stocker Cup

This event is dedicated to the memory of Peter C. Stocker, a prominent west coast real estate developer and avid amateur golfer who died in a tragic helicopter accident in 1990. The premier mid-amateur tournament on the West Coast, this is a 72 hole stroke play Invitational with an open qualifier for players aged 25 and over with a 3.5 index or lower (number of qualifiers based on player count). A 54 hole team competition, including friends of Peter Stocker, runs concurrently.

-- Players with National golf resumes may request an invitation at: www.stockercup.com.
-- To register for the 5-spot qualifier, visit www.amateurgolf.com/tour.

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