Jason Anthony (NCGA photo)
It’s becoming a year to remember for Jason Anthony.
The 36-year-old Olympic Club member, who was NCGA Player of the Year in 2017, continued his torrid pace this season by picking up yet another victory Sunday at the annual NCGA Mid-Amateur Championship. Coming off a victory at the recent Billy Bell Cup, Anthony has now finished either first or second in the six events he’s played in. The lone exception is the recent U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
He gained entry into the Mid-Amateur Championship as an alternate after a registration faux pas.
“I really didn’t have my ‘A’ game so it shows me that I’m progressing,” said Anthony, who won by three shots after shooting his second straight 67 for a two-day total of 8-under 134. “It excites me for the future.”
A former MacKenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada member, Anthony was nearly flawless. He’d card 11 total birdies to go against just three bogeys. Helping him along was a hot putter. In Saturday’s first round, he’d go 18-for-18 on putts from within 20 feet.
Just a few years ago, Anthony was known as the best player without an NCGA title. He’s now got four career NCGA crowns, having also won the 2017 Valley Amateur and 2016 and 2018 MId-Amateur Four-Balls playing with NCGA Hall of Famer Randy Haag.
“I’m learning how to win. I’ve learned a lot from Randy,” said Anthony in a tip of the cap to his friend.
Defending champion Matt Cohn of San Francisco and defending California Amateur champ Bobby Bucey each tried to make a run, posting rounds of 67 to finish tied for second at 137. Bucey posted eight birdies but he’d also card back-to-back bogeys on hole Nos. 12 and 13.
First round co-leader Garrett Wagner, playing out of Discovery Bay CC, slipped back to a 74 and T-5 finish.
“This course is just challenging. I didn’t hit the ball horribly today. I just hit into the wrong spots,” Wagner said.
Next up for Anthony will be a tee time at this year’s California Amateur Championship at Monterey Peninsula CC later this June. But there’s also a bigger event looming. Just two days before the Cal Am, he’ll marry his fiancee’ and part-time caddie, Natashia.
“Life’s good all the time. Right now though, it’s really good,” Anthony said. “I’m lucky she’s letting me play.”
Garrett Wagner and Jason Anthony set the pace early on at this year’s annual NCGA Mid-Amateur Championship.
Playing in brilliant conditions at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course, the duo each opened with solid first round scores of 4-under 67. Wagner, a former standout at Chico State playing out of Discovery Bay CC, opened with a front-nine 32 before tacking on two birdies on the back to offset just one bogey. Anthony, who entered the event leading in the points standings for 2019 NCGA Player of the Year honors, also carded five birdies to go with just one bogey.
Alone in third place at 68 is eClub San Francisco member Ned Jensen. Jensen made his move on the back-nine, carding a bogey-free 33.
Five players–Daniel Griffiths, Nick Moore, Bobby Bucey, Steve Woods and defending champion Matt Cohn—are all T-4, just three shots back at 70. Bucey, who will defend his California Amateur Championship title later this month, won the event in 2017.
Sunday’s final round will also be held at Poppy Hills.
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.
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