Matt Cohn (L) is congratulated by Bobby Bucey after his playoff win (NCGA photo)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA (June 10, 2018) - After watching good friend Shintaro Ban advance through last week’s U.S. Open Sectional qualifier at Lake Merced Golf Club and the Olympic Club, San Francisco resident Matt Cohn said he felt inspired.
This time, it was his turn to come through in the clutch.
Cohn fired a day-low final round 4-under 67 and later made par on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course to defeat veteran Jeff Wilson and defending champion Bobby Bucey and win the 27th annual NCGA Mid-Amateur Championship. The victory is Cohn’s second NCGA title. In 2016, he captured the NCGA Public Links crown.
“I had a feeling about this one,” a smiling Cohn said afterwards.
During a practice round on Friday, Cohn, 37, was indeed playing well. But that game didn’t show up early on when championship play began. He’d play his first 11 holes at 4-over par.
He’d eventually get the train back on track, going 6-under through his final 25 holes to come in at 2-under 140 to tie Wilson and Bucey at the end of regulation.
“I don’t know what happened those last 25 holes,” Cohn said. “I just played the way I’ve been playing.”
The first player in the clubhouse at 140, Cohn was soon matched by Wilson, who came in with a solid 68. Bucey, playing in the last group, had a chance to win the title outright on the 18th by his putt missed. Looking to become the first repeat winner since Jeff Burda (1996-1997), Bucey, not knowing how things stood on the scoreboard, had layed up on his second shot.
“In hindsight, I thought that par was going to be good enough,” Bucey said.
On the first hole of the playoff (par-4 10th), Wilson knocked his drive right into the trees, leading to a bogey. Both Cohn and Bucey, meanwhile, reached the green in two and made routine pars.
On the ensuing par-3 11th, Cohn hit the green in regulation, while Bucey’s tee shot ended almost directly behind a tree near the 13th teeing area. Bucey would have to punch out left-handed, leading to an evenutal bogey. Cohn, who had begun the day five strokes behind leader Ryan Sloane, made par. Sloane finished a shot out of the playoff after slipping to a final round 141.
“You just don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Cohn of his comeback. “You just come out and try to play your best.”
For Cohn, the timing of his first win of the 2018 season couldn’t be much better. He’ll next tee it up in the California Amateur at La Costa Resort beginning June 18.
“Things are definitely trending in the right direction,” Cohn said. “I think this win will help me not put so much pressure on myself down 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