Mark Nickeas wraps up victory at California Senior Amateur

VENTURA, Calif. (Nov. 16, 2011) -- Mark Nickeas of Lake Sherwood wrapped up a wire-to-wire California Golf Association’s State Senior Championship win at Ventura’s Saticoy CC.

Nickeas posted a final-round six-over 78 to hold onto the six-stroke lead he began the final round. His five-over 221 total was good for a four-stroke win. The only Saticoy member in the field, the champion was clearly comfortable on a course where the left-hander has seven club championships and currently holds the club’s match play, stroke play and senior club titles. Nickeas essentially earned the title with a stellar opening 69, a sublime score on a very difficult course.

Two former State Amateur champions finished second – Casey Boyns who just concluded his rookie year as a senior, and 2007 champion of this event Gary Vanier. Vanier carded a closing even-par 72, his finest of the championship, to climb into second while Boyns posted a 73 – the Pacific Grove native’s second-round 78 proved too much to overcome.

Modesto’s Jeff Burda, who was seeking his fourth straight State Senior crown, placed fourth. Burda’s final-round 77 was not enough to overtake the leader and landed him five back.

If anything characterized the 54-hole championship best, it was a lack of red. The tough William F. Bell-designed Saticoy CC yielded only three sub-par rounds for the championship (NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll’s two-under 70 was the only red number on the board in the final round), and the average score came in north of nine-over 81.

The team competition, featuring four pre-selected golfers from each association’s points list, was captured by the NCGA team of Burda, Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll, Casey Boyns and Mark Miller 455- 482 at the conclusion of the second round. The SCGA team consisted of Howie Knodt, Boyd Martin and Don Ludwig.

ABOUT THE California Senior Amateur

The California Senior Amateur Championship began in the fall of 1992, and is the state championship for players age 55 and over. The first two tournaments were played at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. In 1994, the event was moved to Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, and in 1995, a simultaneous NCGA vs. SCGA team portion of the championship was added. Starting in 2010 this 54-hole stroke play championship will rotate to selected courses throughout the state. Players must have an index of 7.4 or less and may attempt to qualify at any location in the state.

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