Temecula (October 21, 2005) -- Eric Meichtry of Murrieta flagged his approach to within four-feet of the pin on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff in near darkness to win the 2005 Pechanga California State Open Golf Championship over Shaun Haberstroh of Carlsbad and Brendan Steele of Idyllwild.
All three players finished the championship at eight-under-par as dusk fell on the Redhawk Golf Club in Temecula. With daylight fading fast, all three players agreed to start a playoff on the 445 yard, par 4, 10th hole. "We said, let's give it a shot," said Meichtry. "It was like we were kids. We used to do it all the time, usually there isn't a state open on the line."
As the last rays of sun waned, Meichtry was the only player to find the fairway off the tee and stuffed his approach shot. "I knew I hit it good," said Meichtry. "Then I heard my mom Carol scream 'way to go Eric."
Both Steele and Haberstroh dumped their approach shots in the front greenside bunker. As both their bunker shots sailed well beyond the flag, Meichtry's confidence grew. "Those were tough bunker shots in the dark," said Meichtry. "When I saw the first one go long, I said all right he's out. I actually leaned over to a guy when the second one went long and told him I thought I was in a pretty good position."
Meichtry was in a perfect position. Both Steele and Haberstroh struggled to get the ball close and all that was left was for Meichtry to lag his short-putt to the hole. His birdie putt lipped out, but the ensuing tap-in for par earned him the $11,000 winner's check.
Haberstroh and Steele collect $4,125 for the second place finish. Spencer Levin of Elk Grove and John Merrick of Marina Del Rey both finished one-shot-out of the playoff at seven-under-par and collected $2,925.
The California State Open Golf Championship is the most oldest professional golf tournament in the state. Past champions include Walter Hagen, Gene Littler, Kirk Triplett, Dennis Paulson and Jason Gore.
The championship is presented by the Pechanga Resort & Casino and supported by the City of Temecula, City of Murrieta, Wilson Creek Winery, Paradise Chevrolet, Extreme Signs and Graphics, LAG Golf, K-FROG Radio and JAS Pacific.
2005 Pechanga California State Open Golf Championship
at Redhawk Golf Club - Par 72
($11,000) Eric Meichtry (Murrieta) 68-70-70* ;
($4,125) Shaun Haberstroh (Carlsbad) 68-71-69,
Brendan Steele (Idyllwild) 68-69-71
($2,995) Spencer Levin 72-68-69; John Merrick (Marina Del Rey) 70-68-71
-210- ($2,775) Aron Price (Scottsdale, AZ) $2,775
$2,700 Jessie Lanham (La Qunita) 71-68-72
-212- $2,625 Jeff Hart (Solana Beach) 66-74-72;
($2,437.50) Jason Beach (Los Alamitos) 74-70-70, Clark Corbett (Long Beach) 70-72-72, Kwang Yoon (Irvine) 69-72-73, Andy Barnes (Scottsdale, AZ) 68-73-73;
-215- ($2,175) Mark Warman (San Clemente) 71-73-71, Eric Wang (Cypress) 75-69-71, John Lieber (La Mesa) 76-68-71
-216- ($1,987.50) Justin Ohye (Cypress), Steve Schneiter (Sandy, UT) 72-68-76
-217- ($1,800) Ben Hayes (Scottsdale) 73-71-73, Mark Wurtz (La Quinta) 75-70-72, Mike Fergin (Santa Ana) 74-73-70
-219- ($1,031) Greg Bruckner (Phoenix, AZ) 72-72-75
-220- ($485) Chris Starkjohann (Encinitas) 73-73-74
(a) Rickie Fowler (Murrieta) 72-74-76, ($300) Steve Pate 74-73-75
* Meichtry won with a par on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff