Bobby Bucey in action at the NCGA Mid-Amateur
PEBBLE BEACH, CA (June 11, 2017) - As he prepared for extra holes, Bobby Bucey’s mom and caddie Karen Bucey gave her son some advice.
“I reminded him that he’d done this before,” Karen said.
Bucey, who hails from Concord, has now done it twice.
A member at Oakhurst Country Club, Bucey erased a three-stroke deficit in regulation and went on to defeat Jason Anthony on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to capture the NCGA Mid-Amateur Championship on a sunny Sunday at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course. The win marks Bucey’s third career NCGA title. In 2014, he’d win the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play title in a playoff.
“This is pretty sweet,” said Bucey, who won on the first extra hole (No.10) with a par to Anthony’s bogey. “I wasn’t hitting the ball as well as I did Saturday. I just stayed patient.”
No where did that patience come in more handy than on the 18th hole of regulation. Standing on the tee, Bucey held a slim one stroke edge over Olympic Club member and current NCGA Player of the Year points leader Jason Anthony. Going for the green in two, Bucey would hit his approach shot into the front hazard. Following a drop, he again hit short of the green.
He’d escape disaster by calmly draining a 10-foot putt for bogey to tie Anthony, who made par.
“I had 200 yards to the green. I’m never going to lay up there,” Bucey said.
With first round leader Juan Gonzalez slipping to a 77 that left him in third place, the door opened for not only both Bucey and Anthony but others in the field. Early on though, Bucey wasn’t able to take advantage. The 28-year-old accountant went 2-over through his first 11 holes–including a bogey on the par-3 11th–before his fortunes changed.
Again, it was Karen who played a role.
“When we were walking off No.11, my mom said that I’d make some birdies too,” Bucey said.
Sure enough, Bucey birdied the next two holes–No.12 and No.13–to immediately get right back into contention.
“Those were huge. They got me going,” Bucey said.
Anthony also had his chances, but he’d go birdie-less all day.
“You can’t win an NCGA championship without making a birdie,” Anthony said. “You’ve got to get the ball in the hole. Losing with a bogey makes the drive home that much longer.”
When he won the 2014 NCGA Stroke Play title, Bucey had his dad, Robert, on the bag as caddie. Robert again was on Bucey’s bag, but had to leave after the first nine holes. Then it became Karen’s turn.
“They definitely help me relax,” Bucey said. “On the 18th, I was frustrated. She told me to just make the putt.”
Winner of the 2015 NCGA Four-Ball Championship with partner Brett Viboch, Bucey next time will take aim at his fourth NCGA crown.
“I’m starting to believe that it’s not a fluke,” Bucey said. “I’m feeling more comfortable out there.”
ABOUT THE NCGA Mid-Amateur
The NCGA Mid-Amateur Championship began in
as the Master Division Championship, a competitive
opportunity for players aged 40-54 who were not
eligible for senior tournaments. In 2016, the event
was re-named the Mid-Amateur Championship,
opening up to all players aged 25 and over, with no
upper age restriction. The champagne bucket trophy
was donated by two-time California State Amateur
champion Ernie Pieper.
36 hole stroke play championship with pre-qualifying
required for non-exempt players. Max handicap 5.4.
View Complete Tournament Information