Ryan Grauman wins Alameda Commuters
Ryan Grauman won his first amateur major<BR>The Alameda Commuters
Ryan Grauman won his first amateur major
The Alameda Commuters

ALAMEDA, CA (April 21, 2018) - Just over a month from the conclusion of the Bay Area's major match play event -- The San Francisco City -- the 72-hole championship that some players call "their Masters" finished its 72-hole, two weekend stroke play competition Sunday.

The event is the Alameda Commuters. And they have been playing it at Corica Park since long before there was a Bay Bridge. When it started back in 1928, the golf course was just a year old. "Commuting" meant taking a ferry to San Francisco.

The tournament is played over two weekends, and with Championship flight players competing the first weekend and being cut to the low 50 and ties. (It's never been an easy cut to make, either.) The Senior Division plays the second weekend along with those championship players that made the cut. And this year, a Super-Senior division played Thursday and Friday with players still being eligible to compete in the weekend's 55-and-over Senior event.

Making history once again was Gary Vanier, a player who has won more San Francisco City titles and Olympic Club championships than can be counted on two hands. Vanier shot 5-under 137 and defeated Jim Knoll of Sunnyvale in a playoff for the Super-Senior title on Friday afternoon. Playing on no rest, he stepped up and posted rounds of 69 and 71 over the weekend to win the Senior title by two over Todd Barsotti, who picked up a nice runner-up at 142 over Randy Haag (also of The Olympic Club like Vanier) who posted 143.

Not to take anything away from the Commuters champion Ryan Grauman, but Vanier (at age 67) played four-straight rounds at 7-under from tees that were very similar and he matched his age in one of those rounds.

Now let's get to the big one, the Commuters title that places the winner's name on a trophy alongside many California golf legends.

Athenian High School (Danville) Senior Ryan Grauman started off with an amazing first round of 64, the lowest of any player. He held things together during a windy and rainy round two last Sunday — he called the conditions "brutal" — with a round of 72.

Grauman has won several junior tournaments, but he's still learning how to pace himself, and that showed on a perfect weather day Saturday, when he got to 3-under on the front nine but gave that back, and then some on the back to finish at 72.

"I made some poor choices on the back nine Saturday, said Grauman. "I was a bit too aggressive and also didn't play the par-3s well."

Grauman was paired Sunday in the second to last group behind two of Northern California's top Mid-Am players, Nick Moore and Brett Viboch, plus Matt Heitel (who fired 65 on Saturday.)

"I didn't want to watch the scoreboard, but I knew I was in good position after getting to 10-under on the tournament through 14," he said.

After a bogey on the tough par-3 15th, Grauman thought he needed one more birdie coming home. Pars on Nos. 16 and 17 meant the dogleg-right 18th was his last chance. After a steady drive and second shot to 15 feet, he hit a putt that looked like it was going to fall, only to hang over the lip for a tap-in par.

As it turned out, the birdie wasn't needed, and Ryan Grauman won the Commuters at 9-under over Matt Heitel (68, 8-under) with 2017 San Francisco City champ Brian Ma tying for third with Sebastian Iqbal at 7-under. Brett Viboch finished fifth and was the low Mid-Amateur. Sebastian Iqbal's sister Sabrina, playing the same tees, was impressive in making the cut at 145 and posted rounds of 77-79 to finish T50.

Results: Alameda Commuters
1CARyan GraumanAlamo, CA18064-72-72-67=275
2CAMatthew HeitelRedwood City, CA12070-73-65-68=276
T3CABrian MaMilpitas, CA6071-72-68-66=277
T3CASebastian IqbalSan Jose, CA6070-71-67-69=277
5CABrett VibochSacramento, CA6065-72-70-71=278

View full results for Alameda Commuters

ABOUT THE Alameda Commuters

What's in a name? In the case of the Alameda Commuters Championship, the logo of the almost 90 year old tournament would be a dead giveaway. It's a steam ferry, which was the only way to "commute" to San Francisco from the East Bay before the Bay Bridge was built. Started as an informal event -- the original first prize was a bag of nails -- the tournament has grown into one of the top independent events in California.

A dedicated tournament committee prides itself on running the two weekend, 72-hole competition as if it were a PGA Tour event. Two of the best public courses at the city-owned Chuck Corica Golf Complex are prepared with care. Slick greens, Sunday pins, and even that rarity in amateur golf – spectators are all part of the fun. The roped-off scoreboard is a particular area of pride for the "green jackets" who were wearing dark green blazers before they were made popular by another tournament you might be aware of in Augusta Georgia. The 250 player championship division is cut to 50 and ties for the second weekend, at which time the 36-hole senior division tees off to join them.

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