Jeffrey Hamm wins Christmas Classic

MONTEREY, Calif. (December 4, 2011) -- For the second-straight year, a Cal Bear golfer has won the Christmas Classic. But it took a three- way playoff to determine the outcome.

Jeffrey Hamm of Danville posted rounds of 3- under 67 (Pacific Grove) and 2-under 70 (Del Monte) to catch first-round leader Nick Sako (65-72) who was playing with him in the final pairing Sunday.

Sako fired straight for the pin at No. 18, and, despite losing out on the chance for a regulation victory, gutted out a bogey by getting up-and-down from behind the green after his first pitch shot came up short of the "extreme" pin placement.

The scoreboard showed one other 5-under total, the result of Grant Rappleye's Sunday-low round of 5-under 67 at Del Monte on top of an even par round at Pacific Grove.

The playoff started on the par-5 17th, where Rappleye looked to be in control after playing his second shot to the front fringe. After running his eagle try by the cup, he missed a slick down-hill putt and the come-backer for par, opening the door for Sako and Hamm, who both had putts in the 15-foot range.

Jim Knoll
Senior Div. Champ

Vincent Steele
Net Division Champ
Both players left three-foot putts for par -- Hamm converted his while Sako's slid by.

In the Senior Division, first-round leader Jim Knoll (65 at Pacific Grove) came in with a 73 to post 4-under for a two-stroke victory over tournament founder Casey Boyns and Mark Miller. Knoll, the 2011 NCGA Senior Player-of- the-Year, was just one stroke from posting the same score as the winner of the Championship flight and played the same tees.

Knoll praised the Del Monte greens as being "the best at any public facility in Northern California" and many players agree. If you haven't played this historic gem, it's time to call 831-373-2700 and make a tee time.

Vincent Steele of Concord "hung on with both hands" to claim the Net Division title by one stroke to edge Todd Knapp of Salinas. Steele had what he called an, "interesting round," on Sunday. His only par of the day came on the last hole, the 218-yard par-3 14th. It was the par he needed, to post Net rounds of 65-76, 1- under-par.

The final event of the 2011 season is the amateurgolf.com Tour Championship at Stevinson Ranch. If you haven't registered yet, please think about joining us at "the home course of amateurgolf.com." We'll award trophies to winners of the Tour Championship, and award special trophies to the players of the year in Championship, Senior, and Net Divisions.

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