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SF City Championship: Saturday 3/05 Results

by Elizabeth Kricfalusi, for amateurgolf.com

With a field full of “youngsters” playing at this year’s San Francisco City Golf Championship, experience clearly still counts as Redwood City’s Jim Evans, 45, moved on in today’s round-of-16 match play at Harding Park.

Evans, who is also a former back-to-back City champion (1995-96), won his match against Rick Reinsberg on the 19th hole, after coming up two inches short for his birdie putt on the 18th. He said he was pleased to have made it so far in this year’s championship, after he struggled during the qualification rounds, finishing the weekend just one stroke under the cut.

“I played awful on Saturday of the qualifying,” he said. “I had the yips really bad, and so I went and bought myself a long putter and I’m able to at least make a few putts now…Anyway, once I got into match play, anything’s possible.”

Evans, who figures he finished today’s round about 3 under par, had never used a long putter before the tournament. He added, “It takes getting used to, and you could see that on the last hole there. I had about a six-footer for birdie to win the hole and the match, and I left it short. Now you don’t often leave six-footers short, but with the weight of that putter, if you don’t swing it fast enough, it’s not going to go anywhere.”

Evans went on to praise the quality of the Harding Park course. “It’s absolutely one of my favorites. The rain has not helped much, but it’s still holding its own. The greens are very good... It’s just fantastic. What they did, Sandy Tatum and the whole group of folks that sort of saved the course, they should just totally be praised and applauded.”

On Sunday, Evans will be matched up against Michael Wilson, who finished 3 and 2 against Darryl Donovan.

Two newcomers to this tournament, Michael Miller and Scott Hess, made it to the 18th hole all square, after Hess had been down by four for the front nine. However, Hess hit his second shot into a hazard costing him a penalty stroke and, ultimately, the hole.

“All three of my matches came down to the last hole,” said Hess, who was playing this tournament as his first-ever amateur event. “This one just had to go the opposite way.”

“I enjoyed playing with him,” said Miller, who hadn’t played Harding Park prior to the tournament. “It’s a good track. I’ve enjoyed it, it’s in good shape, and the people have been keeping it up real well around here.”

Miller, a high school senior, will play against 44-year-old Bob Niger in Sunday’s quarterfinals. Niger, last year’s runner-up, beat Kevin Kobalter 2 and 1. Miller and Niger last met in January at Coyote Creek for amateurgolf.com’s Silicon Valley Amateur tournament. Niger finished third; Miller sixth.

Other Saturday highlights:

- The bottom half of the field all finished their rounds early, with none of the pairings making it beyond the 14th hole.

- In the Men’s Open Division, being played at Lincoln Park, Brendan Costello defeated John Christensen 1-up in the Susko flight. Tournament Director Judith Powell said that the pair reported about eight birdies and eight double or triples between the two of them during the round. The Lincoln course remains very soft from the recent rains, resulting in a large number of lost-ball penalties.

- Sally Krueger, who has won the Women’s Division nine times since 1982, defeated Jennifer Gallagher 5 and 4. She attributed her continuing success to the fact that “I’ve just played in it more times than anyone else.”

“I just think it’s one of the greatest tournaments there is,” she said. “The golf course is fabulous. The people who run it all volunteer their time. It’s a lovely field… and they did a wonderful job with the renovation.”

For complete tournament results, visit the San Francisco City Golf Championship Web site.
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