PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (July 14, 2012) -– Ben Corfee is the 36-hole leader of the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Poppy Hills GC as he followed his 4-under 68 yesterday with an even-par 72 today. Unlike yesterday when the 18-year-old bogeyed his opening hole, Corfee made an eagle-3 on his opening hole, the par-5 10th. Hitting his drive down the center of the fairway, the El Macero resident had a little over 200 yards left and stuck his 4-iron shot to 10 feet away to set himself up for an eagle. After converting his eagle Corfee had thoughts creep into his head about possibly posting a low number, but after hitting his tee shot on the par-3 11th in the front bunker where he made bogey, he quickly put those thoughts to the side.
“I quickly leveled my head after that hole,” he said, explaining he’d go on to make six straight pars before a birdie on the par-5 18th. There Corfee had another great chance for eagle as he hit his approach shot to about four feet away, but this time he ended up missing his eagle putt. “My approach wasn’t a good shot, I got a little lucky, I toed it a bit and it landed on the hill and it rolled down towards the hole [location on the right side of the green],” he said.
Going out in 34, Corfee struggled a bit more on the front side as he made bogeys on holes one, two and nine, with his lone birdie coming on the eighth. Now holding the 36-hole lead, the incoming freshman at UC-Davis has the same game plan as he did going into today’s round when he held the 18-hole lead.
“I just can’t get ahead of myself, I’m going to take it one shot at a time and worry about the first hole,” said Corfee.
Ben Geyer of Arbuckle, who started the round two strokes back and alone in third, finds himself alone in second and only one shot behind Corfee. Geyer’s 1-under par 71 was only one of two scores that found the red in the morning wave, however, Geyer’s demeanor after the round conveyed a player who had shot well over par.
“I played stupid today,” said Geyer. “I was always behind the eight-ball.”
In particular the 20-year-old was upset about two things, bogeying his opening hole the par-5 10th when he hit his approach shot in the water and missing a two-footer during the round that he admittedly rushed hitting instead of marking. “You’re not going to win tournaments when you do stupid stuff like that,” he said.
However, despite the bad, Geyer was able to make two birdies on holes 12 and 18, and close out his round with an eagle-3 on the par-5 ninth. Additionally, he accounted for no missed fairways in his round and hit 16 greens in regulation. Geyer knows he’s in great position to win the tournament and hopes to continue his recent run of success going into tomorrow.
“I just need to keep doing what I’m doing [tomorrow], but not do anything stupid like getting greedy on par 5s,” he said.
Bobby Bucey of Concord and Michael Williams of Roseville are tied for third, having each posted a 36-hole total of 144. Bucey, who teed off in the morning followed his first round 71 with a 73 Saturday. The 23-year-old Bucey started on the back nine and made bogeys on 12 and 16 and a birdie on 17 to make the turn at 37. On the front side Bucey bogeyed the third hole, but finished strong with a birdie on the ninth.
Williams, started the day seven shots off the lead after opening with a 3-over par 75, but today nobody was better than Williams as he posted a 3-under par 69. The 43-year-old explained the biggest difference between his two rounds was that putts started dropping in for him today.
“Yesterday I hit it so well, but didn’t make a single birdie putt,” he said. “Today, I hit it pretty decent—the driver wasn’t as good as yesterday—but I finally made putts, I got the speed of greens down.”
Teeing off in the afternoon wave, Williams started off with a bogey on the first hole, but got things going with birdies on holes four, six and nine to make the turn at 34. After making another birdie on the 10th, Williams looked to take advantage of the par-5 12th, but hit it out of bounds right and ended up taking a bogey-6. However, the Roseville resident recovered nicely with a birdie on 14 before countering his bogey on 17 with a birdie on 18.
“Tomorrow, I just need to keep it in play and hopefully make some putts,” said Williams of his final round strategy.
In a four-way tie for fifth at 2-over par 146 are perennial NCGA contenders Randy Haag, Scott Hardy, Terry Foreman and Danny Paniccia. Haag, a six-time NCGA Player of the Year, who started off with a 3-under 69 yesterday, fell down the leaderboard after posting a 5-over par 77 Saturday. Defending champion Scott Hardy followed his even-par 72 with a 74 on Saturday as did Clovis resident Paniccia. Terry Foreman is representing the seniors well as the 55-year-old followed his 74 from Friday with an even-par 72 today.
In total, Saturday’s course setup yielded six under par scores, two in the morning and four in the afternoon. Besides Geyer and Williams, the other four players to manage under-par rounds were Nick Moore, Jordan Everson, Cameron Rappleye and Andy Nevin. Monterey’s Moore the other under-par morning score—who happened to be paired with Geyer—posted a 1-under 71 giving him a 36-hole of 147. Everson and Rappleye also shot 1-under 71s, which in their case was vital. Both players posted an 81 on Friday and with their exceptional play on Saturday, the two players made the cut on the number at 152. Nevin, on the other hand, missed the cut by one stroke as his 1-under par 71 wasn’t good enough to overcome his 82 from Friday.
As mentioned above, the 36-hole cut came at 152, one-stroke higher than 2011 as 43 players posted 36-hole scores of 8-over par or better. Tomorrow play will begin at 7:30 a.m. with all players going off the first tee.